Way back in 2008, the giant of comic books, Marvel, released the movie Iron Man, and not only was it a commercial and critical success, it also formed the platform that would become the MCU. This shared cinematic universe would allow Marvel to bring all their heroes to life on the big and small screen. The intricate and detailed universe has been a huge success and has changed everything about movies.
Because of this, we knew it wouldn’t be long before Marvel’s biggest rival, DC, did the same thing. Although DC were a few years behind, they finally put their universe on the big screen with The Man of Steel and then Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. This was the set up to a Justice League movie, and fans became very excited by the prospect. However, with a few movies into their universe, the wheels have started to come off the rails for DC. Having several bombs and misfires, Suicide Squad being the most notable, the DCEU is really starting to struggle and fans are already being turned off long before The Justice League movie has even been released. With this list, we look at fifteen reasons why the DCEU should stop immediately, before they completely ruin everything they’ve built throughout the decades.
15. Lack Of Continuity
The first entry on our list focuses on the structure, or complete lack of structure, within the DCEU. When the DCEU came out with The Man of Steel, this was quickly followed up with Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and the foundations of a DC cinematic universe were set. However, since then DC and Warner Bros. have been all over the place.
They are planning a solo outing for The Dark Knight, but no one is sure if that will be in the DCEU or even if Ben Affleck will be involved. Then there is the recent news of a Joker origin story, without Jared Leto, but then Leto will be back for the next Suicide Squad, and maybe even a Joker and Harley Quinn solo movie. The reason that the MCU has been so successful is because they planned every detail in advance, whereas DC seem to be doing everything on a whim. This can be great for stand alone movies, but for a shared universe, you need planning and continuity, otherwise no one will understand what is going on and the characters and storylines will lose all meaning.
14. The Tone
The MCU has been criticized by fans and critics recently because of the lightness of its tone and the fact that no one really dies. While this may be true, and the MCU have opted for a more family-friendly approach to their heroes and stories, the DCEU has completely gone the other way.
With all their releases, in particularly The Man of Steel and Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, the tone and the visual look of the movies have been so dark that it’s sometimes difficult to make out what is actually going on. We know that the likes of Batman are shrouded in darkness, but having movies in complete darkness is a bit too much. Even Superman’s suit has gone a darker shade of blue. The Man of Steel is supposed to be the shining beacon within the DC universe and now he might as well just wear all black; all the Justice League members might as well go this way, and then we can just watch a movie in complete darkness and not know what is going on at all. If Warner Bros. and DC had their way, this is probably what they would do. But remember, DC, darker doesn’t always mean better.
13. It’s Too Forced
One of the DCEU’s biggest problems is that they started the shared universe way too late. Marvel and the MCU had already been established before DC gave us the Man of Steel. Because of this, DC have had to put so much into their movies in order to set up future movies and storylines, that they have almost become difficult to watch, let alone understand.
Not only that, but they are rushing through their phases at an alarming rate. Marvel took their time with their heroes and each hero had plenty of screen time before The Avengers came to the screen. Everything seemed much more natural and purposeful. DC, on the other hand, are just throwing so much into their movies in order to force this purpose, that it just isn’t working. Soon we will get the first Justice League movie and, with the exception of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, none of the other heroes have had any real prior screen time, and therefore they will have to spend a lot of The Justice League movie explaining their characters. Every movie that the DCEU releases almost seems to be showing us that DC doesn’t know what they are doing at all, and they’re only doing things because Marvel did them, and for no other reason. This is not the best way to base a franchise on and their lack of purpose and planning shows up with each movie.
12. They’re Much Better At Stand-Alone Movies….
If we look at DC’s relationship with the movies over the years, then we can see that they have actually been much more successful than Marvel have. If we discount both the MCU and the DCEU, then DC win hands down. Over the years, DC have made some of the best superhero and comic book movies of all time. Many people still believe that the original 1978 Superman movie is the best superhero movie out there, and then of course there’s Tim Burton’s Batman and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. Each of these movies are also held in the highest esteem by fans and critics alike, not just as comic book movies, but as great movies in general.
Marvel may well be ruling the world at the moment with their shared cinematic universe, but DC are the kings at making stand-alone movies and even trilogies. With the wealth of characters they have, DC would be much better suited to making individual movies about their characters rather than trying to put everything into a shared universe and failing miserably.
11. …Because They Suck At Multiple Movies
We’ve just mentioned that DC and Warner Bros. are very good at making stand-alone and solo movies for their most famous heroes, and that was just one reason why the DCEU should stop immediately. With this entry we go one further and prove that with it comes to multiple moves and franchises, DC and Warner Bros. just suck.
Making movies that focus on just one character has always been DC’s strong suit; we’ve just mentioned Superman, Batman and The Dark Knight Trilogy, but that’s all they can do. If they take any series of movies past the trilogy, then they completely mess it up. Look at Superman and Batman. The original Superman had three great movies and then the fourth one is possibly one of the worst movies ever made. Batman had the same thing: Batman, Batman Returns and Batman Forever. Then they gave us Batman and Robin, which definitely is the worst movie ever made. It just goes to show that DC can’t handle making too many movies in the same franchise. They are so much better when they have freedom to change movies, tones, and styles rather than limiting themselves to one thing.
10. The Man Of Steel
When DC wanted to kickstart their DCEU on the big screen, they decided to start with one of their most famous heroes, Superman. Well, that’s if we don’t count the failed Green Lantern attempt at a DC universe, which we don’t! So the first official movie of the DCEU was The Man of Steel. Already DC are coming into problems; not only have they tried to rewrite the history of Superman, but they’ve also massively changed the tone and the appeal of The Man of Steel himself.
We know that in recent movie history, the best movies seem to be darker and grittier, but this shouldn’t have happened with Superman. Superman has always been the brightly-colored and positive hero of DC. He has never really been that edgy or dark, which is why he always worked so well in the Justice League. Putting the lightness of Superman with the darkness of Batman was always a winning formula within the comic books. However, the DCEU has tried to make Superman more complex, but they really shouldn’t. Superman shouldn’t struggle with himself about being a hero; he is always a hero regardless of what is going on around him. There is also one other thing: Superman should never kill! The DCEU has changed Superman to the point in which we really don’t like him as a character any more.
With our next entry we asked the DCEU one simple question: What the hell has happened to Batman? We’ve just mentioned how badly the DCEU has handled one of the biggest heroes with The Man of Steel. Now we focus on their handling of the biggest comic book character of all time, and just what have they done to The Dark Knight.
Batman’s origin story is possibly one of the most well known in all of entertainment history, so DC’s decision to not have a Batman origin movie was a smart one. However, when he turned up in Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, we asked ourselves, “Who is he?” In that timeline, Batman is a lot older and a lot has happened to him; he’s lost his lust for crime fighting, Robin seems to be dead, and he’s prone to picking up guns and killing people. If he’s not killing people, then he is ‘branding’ them with his special mark. This isn’t Batman, and if it was, then the viewers haven’t been on this journey with him, so they can’t understand how he even got to this point. So much of this Batman’s timeline has been unexplored that the character lacks any real history with the audience. As a result, it’s difficult for us to enjoy or even care.
8. Where’s The Fun?
We’ve already mentioned on this list about the dark tones, settings and look of the DCEU, but now we will focus on the content itself. While the MCU has been criticized for being too fun and silly at times, it’s fair to say that their brand of humor has worked. The chemistry and onscreen performances from its actors, particularly from the main Avengers, is one of the reasons that those movies work so well. Even if the movie isn’t that great, Avengers: Age of Ultron is a good example of this. The movie might not have been the best, but the cast, the characters, and the script turned it from a mediocre movie into a great one.
The DCEU however seems to have forgotten about the fun. Yes, DC have always been a bit more dark and gritty, particularly in the comic books, mainly thanks to Batman, but they still have fun in there. After all, these are comic book characters and superheroes; it’s not Dickensian England, so they are silly from the start, really. The fact that they are far too serious could really sink the DCEU.
7. Already There Are Off-Screen Problems
We must note that the DCEU’s rival, the MCU, has had its fair share of off-screen issues. After all, they had to recast one of its biggest characters after only one movie when the recast The Hulk, but that’s nothing compared to the issue that the DCEU is having.
Everyday it seems like there are reports about major problems with their movies. The Suicide Squad was hounded by problems with reshoots, editing issues, and behind-the-scenes antics, that by the time the movie was released, the audience was already expecting bad things (which they got!). Then, we have the up-and-coming Batman solo movie and everything seems to be going wrong with it: writers leaving, directors changing, questions about whether or not it will be part of the DCEU, or if Ben Affleck will be involved. The list goes on and on. The DCEU needs to streamline all their future movies and have everyone on board with the same vision and understanding of what they want to achieve if they ever hope to truly rival Marvel and their MCU.
6. DC Have Forgotten That They Started It All
There does seem to be one major issue that DC and their DCEU are having, and that is that they’ve forgotten that DC started it all. More than that, DC has always been regarded as the biggest of the comic book companies, even more so than Marvel. After all, they gave us Superman and Batman long before Marvel and Stan Lee were even thinking about creating heroes.
This isn’t just in the comic books either. For years and years, DC have produced and made the most popular superhero movies and TV shows, and yet somehow they seem to have forgotten this. They are desperately trying to catch up to Marvel and the MCU, and they’re doing this by basically copying them. DC started everything, and they should be out there setting the trends, not following them. They need to step out from the shadow of the MCU and start doing things their way, just like they always have in the past.
5. We May Have Had Enough Of The “Universe” Thing
When the MCU first set out with Iron Man, the idea of an all-inclusive movie universe was new, fresh and exciting. Marvel took that idea and ran with it and really became the father of this new way of enjoying movies. However, today it seems like every movie producer, franchise, comic book series, and even novel series is jumping on the universe bandwagon.
It isn’t just the MCU; Transformers, Star Wars, the DCEU, and many others are doing it too. Universal is trying to get their ‘movie monster’ universe up, and running with the likes of The Mummy, Wolfman, and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Hellboy is currently trying to do the same with their characters as well. We feel it’s time for one of these companies to buck the trend and break the shared universe notion. After all, Marvel is so far ahead of everyone else, that no one can really catch them now, so DC should stop and try something new and different before we all get truly bored with the cinematic universes.
4. They Can’t Sustain Another Failure
It’s fair to say that the DCEU as a whole hasn’t been a success lately, except for Wonder Woman, which took everyone by surprise as it wasn’t just a great movie, it actually became one of the biggest movies for DC. Wonder Woman aside, the DCEU cannot get a hit movie on their hands.
Although The Man of Steel and Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, were successes in terms of box office sales, the fans and the critics had nothing good to say about them. If they can’t get Batman and Superman right, then what hope do they have for the future? Then there was the complete bomb that was The Suicide Squad. The idea was brilliant, and the fact DC wanted to do something slightly different was very welcome, but the result was a terrible mess. The simple fact is that the DCEU cannot afford another failure. As everything is building up to The Justice League movie, one more bomb will be goodnight for the DCEU.
3. They’ve Already Ruined The Joker
We’ve already mentioned on this list how the DCEU has changed their most famous characters, Batman and Superman. But now we come to the first real casualty of the DCEU. For this entry, we are not focusing entirely of Jared Leto’s performance of The Joker in the Suicide Squad, although that’s enough to make anyone turned off, in our opinion! But the character of The Joker has been truly destroyed in general in the DCEU.
In the future of DCEU, they are planning several movies involving The Clown Prince of Crime: a stand-alone origin movie, which won’t feature Leto, Suicide Squad 2, which will feature Leto, and then a possible Joker and Harley spin-off, which may or may not feature Leto. Not only has the portrayal of The Joker been, well, a joke within the DCEU, but they also can’t even stick to one vision of the character or one actor. They are only a few movies into the DCEU, and it’s already R.I.P The Joker, and it looks like it could be Lex Luthor next.
2. They Should Have Started With Wonder Woman
The number two entry on our list of reasons why the DCEU should stop immediately is that we feel they focused on the wrong characters. While Batman and Superman are by far the biggest and most popular characters in the world, everyone knows their stories as we have seen them time and time again on both the big screen and the small.
What DC should have actually done is taken one of their lesser known character and focused their universe around them. Given the recent, and huge, success of Wonder Woman, it would have been a smart move to use The Amazonian Princess as their main focus and then bring in Batman and Superman around her. We think that this is something DC really missed here and this idea could have given them a big edge over their rivals. But, instead, they went for the safe and boring route and choose to focus on stories and characters that we all know too well.
1. Too Little Too Late
The number one entry on reasons why the DCEU should give up their cinematic universe, is the simple fact that it’s too late. Marvel and the MCU are so far into their universe that they can now do anything. They can kill off characters if they want to, they can try different storylines and movies, and they can, in fact, reset everything whenever they want. The MCU has become such a big part of modern culture that fans will stick with them no matter what, simply because they’ve been going for so long now.
While it’s true that, in comic book terms, DC is probably still the biggest and they have the most material, stories, and characters to draw on, there is no way that the DCEU is ever going to truly rival the MCU. If the DCEU had started when the MCU did, then it might be a different story, but now DC has to realize that it’s just too little too late for them to have a great and successful cinematic universe. The quicker they realize this and go back to making great, stand alone movies, the better it will be for all of us.
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