It isn’t a secret that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been, and likely will continue to be, an extreme success. Each film has been a massive financial success, with ‘Avengers: Endgame’ beating them all as the second highest grossing film of all time. It is an incredible vision that was executed fantastically.
Naturally, everyone else has wanted a slice of the connected universe pie. Legendary is hoping to continue with their series of Godzilla and Kong movies. Universal tried and horribly failed to make their Dark Universe of classic monsters come to life. But most depressing of all is the would-be Marvel rival universe’s shortcomings. I am referring, of course, to the DC Cinematic Universe.
Beginning with 2013’s ‘Man of Steel‘, the DCCU (or is it DCEU?) has never managed to find sure footing with itself. ‘Batman V Superman‘ was considered one of the biggest disappointments in the history of cinema. ‘Suicide Squad‘ is considered one of the worst movies of all time. ‘Justice League‘ is a hodgepodge of two separate visions that go together as well as oil and water. ‘Wonder-Woman‘ was decent for the first two acts, then it fell apart. ‘Aquaman‘ is so disastrous that it’s hilarious. Out of all of them, the only one that is genuinely great from start to end is ‘Shazam’.
Worse yet, the landscape for the future is a total mess. We know that we’re getting a new film for Wonder-Woman, and Batman has been recast. We’re getting a stand-alone Joker movie that has nothing to do with what we’ve gotten before. And apparently James Gunn has been put in charge of ‘Suicide Squad 2‘. The lack of a clear vision has never been more evident.
The question is: is there hope? Or is Warner Bros. just beating a dead horse? Should they just hit the reset button and give up? Or should they just hand them all over to Marvel?
Well, I don’t want to rush it. But at this point, the writing is in the sand. And the writing spells ‘DOOM’ pretty clearly. It is a completely disorganized mess. One that would take a lot of effort to clean up. They need a clear vision.
From the beginning, Marvel had Kevin Feige taking care of it. He had a clear vision of which film would lead into what, all building up towards the Endgame. Sure, there were a few altercations and missteps. But in the end, his having a vision made the MCU work. Unfortunately, such a vision doesn’t exist with the DC films.
Tell yourself whatever you want. But there was no thought of where each film would go next. They made it up as they went, and it shows. They had no clear vision for the tone, story, or even character arcs. They were about as well thought out as a comic book written by an elementary school student.
Take, for example, the Flash warning scene in ‘Batman V Superman‘. During a dream sequence, Bruce sees a mysterious figure in red appear to him and tell him that Louis is the key. Then he wakes up and moves on with the plot.
If this was thought out, it would be very clever. The Flash is well known to have time travel powers, after all! It would be a perfect little story telling trick! The Flash coming back to warn Bruce about something from a future movie would have been brilliant! It could have been a perfect setup for a Flashpoint movie!
But then Bruce wakes up, revealing it all to be a dream. And it all falls apart. In that moment, it becomes as clear as the blue sky above that they had no clue what they were doing. They made it up as they went.
At this point, Warner Bros. needs to put the car into a full stop. They need to realize that letting Jesus take the wheel is a bad idea. Then they need to assign someone who knows how to drive and let them guide their path. Without that guiding hand, they’re doomed to drive off of a cliff.
If they haven’t already.
As it stands, DC is undeniably screwed. How does a Wonder-Woman movie set in the 80’s build off of what we got in ‘Shazam‘ or lead into a Suicide Squad sequel or a Batman reboot? How would pooling resources into a completely disconnected Joker movie fix any of their current problems? The simple answer is that they don’t.
They’ve made their bed. It’s poorly done, messy and uncomfortable. But they can still sleep in it. They just have to make it again. Or they could toss it out and get a new bed from the same brand. Either option is better than just sleeping in that slob pile.
No, I don’t think DC’s film franchise is doomed. But it requires a lot of fixing. If they take the effort and clean up, they could make something just as great as the MCU. Though I doubt it could ever be better than the competition.
Not even the worst of Marvel’s catalogue can meet with the worst of the DCCU. Or DCEU.
You know what, I’ll just call it the ‘Trash Cinematic Universe‘ featuring ‘Shazam‘ and be done with it.