So over the last couple of days, a number of articles have popped up, starting from The Hollywood Reporter’s feature, about the state of DC’s cinematic universe. More specifically, how their universe looks to be in trouble as it doesn’t have its own Kevin Feige. Marvel Studios and WB/DC clearly have very different approaches to their films, but is one way necessarily better than the other?
So The Hollywood Reporter came out with an article the other day discussing the state of DC’s shared universe. The article states that WB/DC are taking more of a filmmaker-driver approach, unlike Marvel. Whereas Marvel has Kevin Feige leading the way, WB are apparently giving more freedom to their directors. And the question is, is this a cause for concern?
According to people providing ‘insights’ in the article, this is a cause for concern. I do understand that sentiment, after all Marvel Studios have had such success, so why wouldn’t you follow their procedures? Having Kevin Feige lead everything has meant the MCU is a well-developed, cohesive and well-received set of films. Everything makes sense alongside each other, and the films feel like they are all part of the same shared universe.
However with that approach, does come its limitations. Creative teams working on Marvel movies have expressed their concerns in the past, and directors such as Edgar Wright and Patty Jenkins have left their projects, as their work didn’t mesh with Feige and co ideas. And criticisms have been made that because of the Feige’s significant influence on all Marvel films, their films do sometimes seem overly formulaic, and overly similar to other Marvel films.
But you can’t argue that Feige’s way, isn’t a successful way. And the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a universe where a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy can be made alongside a movie like Winter Soldier. So it’s not like the MCU are that constrained when it comes to creative expressions and diversity.
So now looking at WB’s approach to their DC cinematic universe, yes it does seem concerning that there isn’t a Kevin Feige. There should be a small group of people who remain constant in the universe, to keep everything flowing nicely. And WB do have that with Snyder and producers such as Roven, but they don’t have the big boss like Feige.
Although the idea of a filmmaker-driven approach sounds pretty appealing to me. DC Comics are doing a similar thing in their comics. Dan Didio has come out to say that after the ‘New 52’ ends, DC will be pushing for a more creator-driven approach. Creators will have more freedom, and story will have much more significance over continuity. So perhaps the film side of DC are doing something similar.
Of course this is a shared universe, so things have to fit together, but giving directors and writers more freedom will help server greater justice to all the characters. For example Batman v Superman will hardly seem like a similar movie to the Miller and Lord driven Flash movie. And that’s okay. Snyder has his vision, Miller and Lord have theirs. David Ayer clearly has his own vision, as we saw from the Joker reveal as well.
The Hollywood Reporter goes on to talk about WB’s lack of direction. They have hired several writers for Wonder Woman, and have let a writer go from Aquaman as their vision was different from WB’s. Then of course you have the departure of Michelle MacLaren from Wonder Woman over creative differences as well.
It’s clear that WB are still very much figuring out how to go about their shared universe, and aren’t as well planned as Marvel Studios right now. But they are in a way earlier phase than Marvel, so yeah WB still have their training wheels on. Although what is obvious, is that Batman v Superman will be laying down the seeds for the other heroes of the universe, and Suicide Squad will be laying down the seeds for the other villains of the universe.
Really we can’t start commenting on the success or failure of their filmmaker driven approach until 2016, but just because WB are giving more freedom to their filmmakers, doesn’t make them a mess. Do they need that leading and informed force like Feige? Probably, but let’s not be so quick to dismiss them just yet, not until we see what Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad lay out for the rest of the universe.
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Categories: comic book movies