Archive for December 24th, 2017

We are now half way through the DC Extended Universe release schedule as announced a couple of years ago (with a few changes along the way).  This gives us two questions.  Will we see all five of the remaining films and will this be the end of the franchise as we know it?  A lot will depend on box-office.  Early reports are that this years Justice League is underperformed, although it is sure to still make a reasonable profit.   Both artistically and financially it is impossible not to compare with the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).  Historically the MCU has had the upper hand, that is no different this year with three excellent and profitable movie (Spider-Man Homecoming $879million, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 863million, Thor: Ragnarok $843million) the DCEU’s 50% hit rate; Wonder Woman was a really enjoyable film and returned a healthy $817million.  Justice League was mess and came in with a disappointing $637million.  So far we have had:

Man of Steel (2013), it actually wasn’t a bad movie.  Given the Technicolor vibrancy of the character, the film was a little dull and dour.  It lacks all the fun of Richard Donner / Christopher Reeve movie form 1978 and its first sequel form 1980.man of steel

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), know to many as yawn of justice.  The casting of Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot, as well as the return of Henry Cavill were all good, Jesse Eisenberg as the main villain Lex Luthor was beyond terrible.  The big problem, as well as Jesse Eisenberg, is the plot, the seminal graphic novel  The Dark Knight Returns (1986) has been criticised for a thin plot and describing the fight between Batman and Superman as “forced”.  It is positively Shakespearean in magnitude in comparison to the one in this movie, not to mention the way it ends.Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice

Suicide Squad (2016) Was much anticipated, partly for the interesting concept, and certainly helped by a really good trailer.  Will Smith and Margot Robbie provided some fun and charisma to the party but the story was a mess.  The film describe the formation of The Suicide Squad as way to counter alien threats such as Superman.  However they actually end up fighting one of their own members who just happens to be possessed by a witch with a desire to eradicate humankind.  All the time, Jared Leto’s Joker is on the periphery of the story and is a distraction at best, in a film full of distractions.Suicide Squad

Wonder Woman (2017) was surprisingly excellent.  The final act was week, but then even the mighty Marvel struggles with final acts, we can’t condemn DC for doing the same.  I hope the mess the rest of the cinematic universe is in doesn’t prevent future Wonder Woman films.Wonder Woman

Justice League (2017) Off the back of Wonder Woman, Justice League had every chance to be great but dropped the ball at every opportunity.  The plot is terrible and the villain even worse.  It has no discernible second act. It goes from the set-up recruiting new members to the concluding battle.  The interludes where the team stand around and chat appear shoehorned in, but you wouldn’t want to loses them as they provide the movies only levity.  Zack Snyder is credited as the director but had to step away towards the end of production for personal reasons.  Joss Whedon took over and finished the film.  This could account for the mess.  Would it have been better if one director had taken creative control from start to finish?  There may be a Snyder directors cut in future.Justice League

So where to they go from here? They need to make colossal sums of money with each release.  This could prove problematic given the what has gone before and the planned movies:

Aquaman (2018) features a character that simply didn’t work in Justice League.  The character should have been the DCEU’s equivalent to Thor from the MCU.  He sadly lacks the humour and charisma of the Marvel hero.  However, it is directed by James Wan who has proved his ability to craft a story with The Conjuring franchise and that he can make a successful film, Fast & Furious 7 took over $1.5billion worldwide.  The film also features Willem Dafoe and Nicole Kidman in supporting roles.Aquaman

Next up is Shazam (2019), to the best of my knowledge is the first time the character has made it to the big screen.  The main character is a child who  by speaking the magic word “SHAZAM” transforms into an (adult) superhero.  This could be a really tough character to shoehorn into the sombre Justice League, but done right could inject a little fun.  It sounds a little to much like Bananaman for me!Shazam

Wonder Woman 2 (2019) Given the success of Patty Jenkins excellent film this year, should be the banker.  There have already been complications thanks to the well publicised problems producer Brett Ratner has experienced.  It did look at one time that it may threaten the involvement of star Gal Gadot.  Fortunately star power appears to have won and we should get a second installment from Jenkins and Gadot.Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins

Cyborg (2020) was teased in Dawn of Justice and appeared in Justice League.  He appears to be an interesting character, but they didn’t know what to do with him in justice league.Cyborg

Beyond this, it gets murky at best, to quote Yoda, “unclear, the future is!”  We have already seen a Green Lantern movie back in 2011.  A Green Lantern clearly appeared in flashback scenes in Justice league.  The new movie Green Lantern Corps (2020) would be a reboot less than a decade after the original.  There have been no announcements about casting or directors.  There has been much conjecture about a Suicide Squad 2 and/or various Harley Quinn movies, Joker movies or Harley Quinn & Joker projects.  I for one am interested to see more of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, and less keen to see more of Jared Leto’s Joker.  There have also been suggestions of a Birds of Prey and or a Gotham City Sirens film.  Flashpoint, the proposed Flash movie appears to still be on the slate for 2020 but little is known about it.  The name suggests an origin story, so it could well be a prequel to what we have already seen.  Then we have the elephant in the room, The Batman.  DC’s most bankable character. (Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy took $2.5billion at the world box-office, with about another $1billion in DVD/Blu-ray and other digital sales).  Are we going to get a standalone Batman movie, will it feature Ben Affleck or a new Batman?  We certainly don’t need another Batman origin movie, but a prequel  before the arrival of Superman could should be more interesting than what we have seen so far.  Then we have Man of Steel 2, or is it 3? It has been reported that Matthew Vaughn has been in talks with Warner Bros to make this.  A strange choice having made films independent  of studio interference to date.  The problem as always, Superman does not play well with all others, the character is too powerful and distracts from the story.

It is clear DC have suffered from a poorly planned release schedule as much as poor movies.  They have two choices scrap it and start again, or continue on and try to make it work.  This is decision that we be made on profit and loss not artistic merit.

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