DC shouldn’t try to make Marvel Films. They should make their own, and find their own voice. DC is trying to do this of course. They’re trying to find their own flavor. It’s just, if you were to ask around, you’d find that folks think DC is failing at this.
And those folks would be right.
I mean, it feels like they are trying too hard to be different, while at the same time trying real hard to play catch up with Marvel. They want to be all edgy and dark and humorless to be really the opposite of Marvel, but they are also trying to quickly build a DC Movie Universe, and connect everything. What DC needs to do is slow down, and lighten up. I’ve been told they’re going to at least do the second bit.
Over a decade ago, Marvel brought out Iron Man. It also began concept that was unheard of before this, and that was a full integration of ALL the Marvel films. It seems like common sense now, but it was mind blowing to even think of a company running its movies like it ran its books. It was brilliant because it meant that when Marvel finally DID get to the Avengers, we didn’t need to waste half the movie introducing the characters. They could just get on with it.
All the Marvel films since have been a mix of action and drama and a solid bit of humor. More in some films than others (I’m looking at you, Ant Man), but still it’s there. AND? I’m not so much a Marvel fan that I’d say each film is flawless, because heck darn are they not, but they are enjoyable on most levels, and feel like they’re written to please the nerds among us, while still being enjoyable by all.
But, we’re here to discuss DC.
Now, I could list all my individual grievances with the DC films, but there’s plenty, and you’ve heard them all before, and really they’d serve no point other than me bitching. No, I’m going to talk general here.
First and foremost, DC shouldn’t feel they need to catch up with Marvel. They don’t need to make the same films, and in fact you should feel that when you’ve gone to see a DC film, it’s not just a Marvel Movie with a different cast. DC in the comics has always been a different beast. Marvel is often an ‘Great Power, Great Responsibility’ sort of thing, where DC was always ‘Gods amongst men’.
The recent DC movies instead seemed to be an attempt to have super-humans in a super real human world, which doesn’t fit the DC ‘verse at all. It could have been great seeing Superman wrestle with his wants to be human vs his unbelievable powers, but that really failed to come through. It might have been interesting to see the wreckage that a real hero/villain fight would make, and the casualties that follow, but that’s not really a Superman story at all.
No, I’m not about to bring up the Zod thing. I promise.
DC also really tried at the grim-dark angle for its films, which is simply not fun. A comic book movie doesn’t have to be laughs a minute, but there should be some fun involved. I mean, it’s about a bunch of folks in spandex punching some other folks in spandex. It’s wrestling with super powers. And DC is just starting to recognize this again in its comics, but in short, the brooding grim violence of the nineties STAYED in the nineties for a reason.
And in all of this, it doesn’t feel like the DC films were made by anyone that WANTED to be making a super hero film. They feel more like they’re written by a production company using the summer blockbuster playbook. Worse though, it felt like an obligation project, like WB was embarrassed to be making hero movies, but felt they had to.
So, yeah. DC needs its own direction. It shouldn’t be the same direction as Marvel, but it shouldn’t be the direction DC has been going either. Reports on the upcoming Justice League film suggest at least that someone on production gets this. Letting Affleck write a Batman film is nice too, since he seems to really love the character, and might put some of that forward. I don’t think its too late, because fans these days are willing to forgive if the current film is good. I just hope that they continue to recognize that they don’t have to be completely devoid of fun just to be different than Marvel.