Marvel was able to get a 5-year start over Warner Bros. on a cinematic universe for their superheroes. Having first launched out of the gate with Iron Man, Marvel Studios was off to an incredibly promising start. Of course, 8 years later, it's safe to say that Marvel Studios is pretty much running the superhero-movie game at this point. Even 20th Century Fox's X-Men franchise is doing financially well.
But Warner Bros. just cannot seem to catch a break when it comes to their DC Universe. Having started with Man of Steel in 2013, the Extended Universe was off to a pretty shaky start. It seems as if the films have only gotten worse since then. With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice getting pummelled by the critics, as well as Suicide Squad. But it's not just the critics, plenty of fans are upset with the films as well. There's no getting around it - the DC Universe is in serious trouble.
Instead of doing what Marvel did and take their time introducing characters before merging them together in one film, they're doing the reverse. It's obvious they're trying to play catch-up to Marvel and they don't have a clear and solid plan for their films' future. It's unfortunate that they don't have a Kevin Feige at the helm who knows what they're doing. But there still might be a sliver of hope. There are some ways that this superhero universe could be rescued and salvaged. And there are also ways in which it could get a whole heck of a lot worse. Spoiler warner for some DCEU films ahead.
15 (How To Save It) Stop Being So Reactionary
Warner Bros. really needs to stop being so reactionary every time they release a film. They want to catch up with Marvel Studios and it is painfully obvious at this point. They are even trying to emulate certain aspects of Marvel movies. The advertising campaign for Suicide Squad was very much like Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. SS even tried to have a massive soundtrack like GotG. Once bad reviews for Batman v Superman came in, marketing for SS changed by making the movie brighter and more colorful. Even Wonder Woman footage looked a bit brighter after BvS.
Even if Warner Bros. is making mistakes, they might just have to live with it and keep moving forward. It's not healthy to stay glued to message boards and social media and take in all of the criticism and then acting accordingly with zero confidence in your properties. The studio could most definitely use a confidence boost.
14 (It's Doomed) The Flash Does Not Have A Director
This is still pretty alarming. Pre-production for The Flash has not really been great as of late. They've already had a couple of directors step away from the project. Was this because the studio was intervening a bit too much? No one knows right now. But the movie is supposed to be coming out in 2018, and they still don't have a director. This is not good. Even if the movie is still going to be released in 2018, it's probably going to be a rushed production, which is never a good idea.
In all likelihood, they will have to move that release date. The film will probably have to come out in 2019. There is just not enough time to make a Flash film and still have it be good without it feeling rushed. Ezra Miller said last year that filming would begin at the beginning of 2017. That definitely hasn't come close to happening yet.
13 (How To Save It) Get Your Own Kevin Feige
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has been in the industry producing movies for years. He's gotten the chance to sit back and watch several Marvel properties be translated to the big screen. He's seen plenty of successes and plenty of failures along the way. He's been studying the ins-and-outs of the industry, so he knows what he's doing. Having him in charge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the best thing for the Marvel movies right now. This is what Warner Bros. so desperately needs.
Whether it's going to be someone like Geoff Johns or Ben Affleck, or whoever. They need an incredibly talented filmmaker/producer overseeing all of the production and movies. They need that one person who has a clear vision of the future for their cinematic universe. Someone has to drive the ship, and it doesn't look as if the studio has that right now. They're kind of all over the place and not sure which direction to turn to next.
12 (It's Doomed) The Flash Is Already On Television
We've already seen the character on television. He's got his own TV show on The CW and it's great. By the time the movie comes out, if it does at all, we will probably be on season 5 of The Flash. That's basically 5 years of the Scarlet Speedster prior to the movie coming out. That might sound like good news and a great idea, but it actually isn't. Because what else do they have left to explore that the show hasn't already touched on in some capacity? The show introduced time travel in the first season. They've already done Flashpoint. What is the movie going to do?
It won't be enough to simply do a "bigger and better" version of what they've done on TV. People can watch the Flash for free, why should they pay to see it in a movie unless it's doing something they have yet to see? This just doesn't sound good for the studio at this point. And the longer it takes for this movie to begin production, the worse it's going to get.
11 (How To Save It) Let Superman Be Superman
Man of Steel receiving criticism for the film's darker, more somber take on the character of Superman. Some would argue that the character is being too influenced by a character like Batman. Bruce Wayne/Batman is a character that lives in the darkness and that brooding tone and nature fits perfectly for him. But not Superman. Let's be frank here, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was really a Batman-centric movie that just happened to feature Superman. And even then, the character doesn't have very many lines and barely even smiles at all during the film.
It's clear that Zack Snyder doesn't really like Superman, and this is not someone who should be making a Superman movie. He literally killed off the character at the end of Batman v Superman. If there's going to be any hope for this cinematic universe, the greatest symbol of hope has to rise and shine once again.
10 (It's Doomed) Zack Snyder Directed Justice League
Coming fresh off of the critically panned Batman v Superman. Zack Snyder has one more DC movie coming out and it's Justice League. Many have already voiced their concern over Snyder directing the film and its sequel. Even trying to get a petition to remove him from the franchise completely. Is this movie going to have a 3-hour cut? Who knows at this point. What we do know is that Snyder is directing, and his track record right now isn't too great.
What are the odds that this ends up being the movie that everyone unabashedly loves and admires? If we're looking at the three previous DCEU films, it's not very likely to happen. They've finished filming and are in post-production at this point. How much was the original script butchered? Is this new script going to feel like a mess? We will all just have to wait and see. But no one should be shocked if this turns out to be more of the same.
9 (How To Save It) Take A Cue From DC Television
We can say what we will about the movie universe, but DC/The CW is truly dominating the television world with their superhero properties. Even Gotham is still going strong. But shows like The Flash are still some of the best television shows being produced right now. Even with the dark version of Oliver Queen in Arrow, this TV universe can still be bright and fun. The crossovers are such clear indicators of this. Maybe this is what the DC film universe needs. A bit more color and a bit more fun.
No, it doesn't have to literally take on the same incredibly lighthearted tone of a show like Supergirl. But just take a little bit of it and sprinkle it into your movies. Some could argue that the Superman that appeared in the first two episodes of the second season of Supergirl is better than the one we're getting in the movies. Simply because the tone is right and it is fun to watch.
8 (It's Doomed) David Ayer Is Directing Gotham Sirens
Warner Bros. decided to let the guy who helmed Suicide Squad direct their Harley Quinn spin-off film Gotham Sirens. A project that features DC female characters. Suicide Squad did not get great reviews and it's tough to say whether it's the filmmaker's fault or the studio's. Probably a combination of both, to be perfectly honest. So that's not very good for director David Ayer. Now he's going to be directing an all-female cast. There are a couple of problems with this choice.
One, the studio is simply going with who they already know. Since Ayer's wrote dialogue for Harley Quinn and worked with Margot Robbie, they thought it best to just bring Ayers along for that ride as well. But again, SS was not well-received critically, regardless of how much money it made. Second, it's a bit of a step backward in terms of diversity by allowing a male director to take on an all-female cast.
7 (How To Save It) Leave Ben Affleck Alone, Please
Getting one of the biggest stars in Hollywood and one of the best directors to be Batman was one of the smartest movies, if not the smartest, WB could have made. That being said, you don't hire a man like Ben Affleck and then start telling him what to do and how to do it. This a man you hire because he has a vision and knows what he's doing, so you leave him to it. Affleck recently scared a lot of fans when he insinuated that he isn't too happy with the Batman script/process at this point. He seemed to have cleared that up on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, but still, it's alarming.
It's definitely possible that the studio could be getting in Ben's way. Which should absolutely never happen, do you know how many fans are dying to see a Ben Affleck-directed Batman film? This is not something to screw up. Leave the man be, and let him make the movie he wants to make. It could be and probably will be the best DCEU film.
6 (It's Doomed) The Flash's Ugly Suit Is Not Promising
Everybody has seen the Flash's suit on the television show. It's not an exact replica of Barry Allen's costume from the comics, but it is pretty darn close and perfect enough for the show. The only thing missing are the yellow boots and once he has those, the costume will truly be complete. Meanwhile, in the movie universe, Snyder thought it best to give his Barry Allen a completely different suit. One that is influenced by a suit the character wore in a video game.
The suit just looks ridiculous. Out of all of the Justice League members, the Flash stands out simply because of his suit. Everyone else looks like their comic book counterpart, except Flash. This version of the suit also does not have the yellow boots. And since they are doing away with the story arc that inspired Snyder to pick this design with it just feels pointless.
5 (How To Save It) Don't Make A Solo Deadshot Film
Honestly, who is or was asking for this? Nobody. No one wants or wanted to see Will Smith star in a solo Deadshot film within the DC Universe. This is part of WB's problem. They don't know what they're doing and they don't know what they want. So they are taking any positive feedback and just running with it. Apparently, a lot of people liked Will Smith in Suicide Squad, therefore, he should be given his own film? The logic here might make a little bit of sense, but no one wants to see this movie.
The character is supposed to be a bad guy, one of Batman's villains. They already tried to make him sympathetic in SS. They'd have to do the same thing in a solo movie if they're actually going to move forward with this. Something like this may have worked in the comics, but is it going to translate well to the big screen?
4 (It's Doomed) Overall Behind The Scenes Drama
Overall, it just seems like Warner Bros. does not really know what they're doing. We're not sure if Geoff Johns and Ben Affleck are getting along. We don't know Affleck was unhappy with the script that he is co-writing with Johns. We don't know why directors keep walking away from The Flash project. We don't know there have been people spilling rumors suggesting Wonder Woman isn't great. We do know that WB is being very reactionary when it comes to audience response.
We do know that they do not have a Kevin Feige steering the wheel. It seems almost as if they are just making things up as they go along. And that causes conflict and problems.
3 (How To Save It) Get Zack Snyder Away From The Cinematic Universe
This all started with Zack Snyder, folks. Coming fresh off of his critical and financial bomb that was Sucker Punch. He's the one who made the brooding Superman. Snyder is the one who set the standard for this universe. Just imagine, how different the DCEU could have been if the studio and Christopher Nolan had chosen a different filmmaker to make Man of Steel. Of course, we cannot play the "what if" game, so we are just stuck with what we have.
Snyder seems to be the common denominator here. Perhaps it's time for him to take his leave from the DCEU and move on to other projects. We already know his original plans for a Justice League film, they were hinted at in Batman v Superman. But it seems that version was scrapped and the script was rewritten. This could mean that the film will be a mess. Either way, a lot of the problems with this universe seem to go back to Snyder in some way, shape or form.
2 (It's Doomed) Not Enough Patience
It's no secret, it has been stated more than once. WB has been watching Marvel Studios make their cinematic universe for the last several years. They certainly want a piece of that action, as they should. They have a stable of comic book characters that would certainly bring in the big bucks. Marvel decided to take their time and build the universe one character at a time. WB decided to do the opposite and introduce the Justice League members in one film, Batman v Superman.
Everyone will have their solo films after the Justice League film. This formula hasn't really been paying off thus far. We'll have to wait and see how the rest of these solo films do on their own. But a great deal of patience would certainly benefit the studio and the films.
1 (How To Save It) Come Up With A Plan And Stick To It
In this instance, it would help to be a bit more like Marvel Studios. Get a plan for your cinematic universe and please stick to it. Don't go creating numerous spin-off movies because you're not sure of what to do. You've got Geoff Johns. Sit down with him and talk about the future of this cinematic universe and what stories from the comics you can pull from. It's actually a pretty simple solution. And who knows hopefully they're already on their way to doing that right now.
But as of right now, we've got a Harley Quinn/Gotham Sirens spin-off film as well as talk for a Deadshot solo film. Where exactly do these stories fit in the overall larger picture? Or do they at all? We're being left in the dark here and we may not know the answers to these questions for a while.
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