It’s been quite the dramatic week in the DCEU world. It’s like the universe is crashing around us when looking at the narrative a lot of the media have been painting lately. Let’s be real here, Batman v Superman wasn’t the launching pad WB wanted, but to think that the DCEU is now doomed is very ridiculous.
(Spoilers for BvS below)
Batman v Superman wasn’t critic-proof, the second weekend proved that. With no competition the movie still dropped 70% in its second weekend (typically 50% is where you want to be in your second weekend). Fans are split when it comes to the movie, but overall the general audience liked it. A lot of the comments I’m seeing from the general audience is, “Oh Batman v Superman wasn’t actually that bad, in fact I liked it”.
From that it’s clear that all the critical backlash has spread around enough for people to think that this is a terrible movie. I mean if I saw a movie at 29% on Rotten Tomatoes I would also get the impression that the movie is probably really terrible. So that negativity deterred a lot of people, and we saw that in the second weekend.
Batman v Superman has been dealing with negativity since its announcement, so really it shouldn’t be surprising. Financially speaking, the movie will still at least break-even, which wasn’t the result WB wanted. But really, more importantly it got the DC Films brand out there.
I guess you could view Batman v Superman as the Iron Man 2 of the universe. Maybe a lot of people don’t enjoy the film as a whole, but the world-building aspects have made people excited for the future movies. It’s clear that generally, Batman and Wonder Woman were very well received in the movie. So come next year when Wonder Woman and Justice League come out, it’s going to be a lot easier to sell those movies.
So where is the DCEU going after Batman v Superman? The next movie to come out is Suicide Squad. Expensive reshoots have begun for Suicide Squad, which were apparently implemented to add more humour into the movie, to have the tone match the tone of the beloved second trailer.
The idea that WB are going to try to change the tone of Suicide Squad this late in the game doesn’t seem like it would be real. I mean you have a movie with Harley Quinn and a Joker who drives around in a hot pink car and has goons that wear giant eyeballs and pandas when they go start trouble, I can’t see this movie ever being as serious as the previous DCEU films.
But yeah, we don’t know whether that’s true or not, if it is then WB know that the darker tone isn’t something the general audience are as interested in anymore. Chris Terrio has been saying even before the release of Batman v Superman, that Justice League will be much lighter compared to Batman v Superman. Batman v Superman was the necessary darkness, the bridge to bring the universe into the light.
Wonder Woman has nearly finished shooting, so that movie will remain as is before Batman v Superman. At the end of Batman v Superman, we heard Diana talk about how she left man’s world. So Wonder Woman won’t have the happiest ending, but the overall tone will be lighter. Gal Gadot infuses a sense of cheekiness and compassion when it comes to her Diana, so I’m sure the tone will be different.
Justice League is the biggest question mark right now. From interviews, producers have made it clear that the movie will be lighter. With characters like Flash and Cyborg, there will be more of a balance in tone. Considering they are starting shooting in a week, there’s only so much that can be changed right now. But I don’t think we have anything to be worried about right now.
The main problems with Batman v Superman was that there was simply too much going on. Chris Terrio came on board after the script had been written, this time Terrio is starting from scratch by himself. So a lot of the world building legwork has already been done, and instead of using Goyer’s story, Terrio can structure his own.
I think this is a big point of difference, and hopefully we’ll see a more cohesive and balanced story in Justice League. As for the story itself, it looks like they’re saving their big gun Darkseid for later. The word is that they will be going down more of a Throne of Atlantis route (which backs up comments Terrio mentioned earlier when discussing the script).
For those who haven’t read the story, Throne of Atlantis was the second major story arc in the New 52 Justice League comic. In it Aquaman’s brother basically declares war with the surface world, and the team unite to stop the invading Atlanteans.
This story would make sense to do, as the very first Aquaman image we saw said “Unite the Seven”. So if the threat is from his world, then he would need to unite a team to defeat them. But we also know that Bruce and Diana are road tripping to find other meta-humans, so I guess they’ll all be uniting the seven! The other big question is how they will bring Superman back into the story…
Moving into 2018 we’re going to be getting Aquaman, Flash and probably a Batman movie. If the Justice League movie is indeed Throne of Atlantis then we will probably see the repercussions of that in Aquaman. DCEU won’t really be doing origin stories, so the timeline the movies come out will probably follow the overall timeline of the DCEU. Deborah Snyder mentioned that the films all share a plot, but are all their own individually styled movies (which is why I doubt the Batman movie will be a prequel).
As for Flash, we saw some of his powers in Batman v Superman. The whole Knightmare sequence actually took a decent chunk out of Batman v Superman, so it’ll be interesting to see if they revisit that in The Flash movie. And we might even see Cyborg appear in The Flash movie.
Especially because of The Flash’s TV show, he is a much more well-known character. Cyborg isn’t. So to further expand Cyborg in The Flash movie makes sense. Because Hal Jordan is nowhere to be seen in the DCEU right now, it looks like the classic Barry/Hal friendship will instead be found in Barry/Vic. Because they are both the younger, lighter characters, they’ll be doing some bonding in Justice League.
2019 and beyond is probably the most fluid of the movies right now. Shazam is a huge question mark, and isn’t even under WB. Dwayne Johnson announced his Black Adam role a long time ago, so for them to not do Shazam would be a little odd. Shazam is also a movie that won’t work under the heavy dark tones of the previous DCEU films. Many said that Batman v Superman wasn’t very family friendly, so if the DCEU want to give a movie with wider appeal, this is the one for them. A kid who can transform into a superhero? Sounds like an adventure!
Justice League Part 2 will also come out in 2019, presumably focusing on Darkseid.
2020 is Green Lantern Corps and Cyborg. For Green Lantern Corps, that movie will need build-up before it comes out. Comments were made that we won’t see any Green Lanterns in the first Justice League movie, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see them in the next. If Darkseid is indeed the big baddie then it would make sense to bring in the Green Lanterns then, seeing as they are the space cops that are supposed to be looking over this kind of thing.
As for Cyborg, the fate of that movie will heavily depend upon the reaction to his character leading up to it. If people aren’t showing enough interest in the character, then perhaps it will become more of a Teen Titans movie, which was hinted at earlier.
A trend I’ve noticed is that before live-action movies, WB like to test the story waters out a bit by creating an animated movie first. The latest movie was Justice League vs Teen Titans. In it we saw the JL member, Cyborg, team-up with the Titans for a little while. So perhaps this might be something we see in the Cyborg movie (especially since the developing Titans show on TNT is no more).
As for Zack Snyder I don’t think he’ll be going anywhere. He has mapped out the entire DCEU and has already done a lot of the pre-production work on the Justice League films, WB aren’t just going to kick him out now. Now they don’t have to worry about introducing a whole world in one movie, that’s already been done. Terrio has said that he viewed Batman v Superman to be the Empire Strikes Back of the trilogy, that Justice League won’t be like Batman v Superman. So now you take out the problems with too many world-building aspects, and an overbearing dark tone, Snyder has a better playing field.
The DCEU need to stick to their guns, continue their mythological story-telling. But they also need to be aware of the market they are selling to. People want to have fun with these movies, people want to see their heroes be their heroes. And so Batman v Superman was the necessary ladder we needed to climb to get there.
The DCEU still needs to earn the trust of the general audience. Since the beginning Suicide Squad has been the better received movie compared to Batman v Superman. So if the film comes out, and is generally liked by critics and fans, has a good story that shows it’s connected to the DCEU yet is quirky and different, it will go a long way in helping to build a strong brand identity for DC Films. If that doesn’t happen, then the future of the DCEU will be a big question mark, but until then, they’re going to be fine.
Categories: comic book movies