You know you have a problem when a respected critic calls Batman v Superman one of the best movies of 2016, and he instantly gets attacked with snarky comments. If WB really want to launch a shared universe, then they need to do something to stop the DCEU from being everyone’s go-to punching bag.
Whether online or offline, there’s a lot of skepticism towards the DCEU. A couple of anecdotes for you: I’m at work and overhear a conversation from a person watching a Captain America: Civil War review. He talks about how much money Civil War has already made, how good the reviews are. Then he talks about Batman v Superman, “That movie bombed’, “Looked dumb anyways”. First of all, no it didn’t perform as well as it should have, but a bomb? That’s ridiculous. But the perception of failure is plaguing the DCEU.
You have to remember that Batman v Superman has been in the public conscious for 3 years now. It was never going to be a movie that would just pop up and disappear without anyone going in with a certain level of expectation with how it should have performed. So it’s easy for people to quickly write-off the movie as a failure.
Furthermore, a few days ago I had a friend telling me that her opinion about Batman v Superman had changed because of what people were saying to her. She loved the movie when she first watched it, but has had so many people basically talk shit, and point out the flaws about it enough to make her reconsider her standpoint. Yes, I know it’s silly to allow other people influence your opinion, but it happens to people a lot.
It’s essentially become the cool thing to mock Batman v Superman. To roll your eyes at the idea of WB being capable of making a successful shared universe, to make fun of Zack Snyder etc. You can’t say you’re a fan of the DCEU and where they’re going without a million different people telling you why you’re wrong.
Everything that comes out about the DCEU is looked at with heavy skepticism. A director leaves, and all is doomed! Then the media floods the headlines with factless reports that another director is leaving. It doesn’t help that we’re also hearing about Snyder and WB butting heads over Justice League when the movie is currently in production and is supposed to come out next year.
So DCEU, what are you going to do when no one believes in you?
WB need to make the DCEU look more confident for one. They have tried by issuing statements that they viewed Batman v Superman as a box office success. But that statement was quickly shut down by a bunch of venues reporting that they thought otherwise.
Comic-Con will be interesting this year. With Fox and Marvel probably being out, it gives WB the chance to really put the spotlight on the DCEU. They really need to show that they are feeling confident with Justice League. I don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes and whether there is tension there between Snyder and WB, but if they want to keep that release date, then they really need to well, get their shit together, especially before Comic-Con so they have something to showcase.
But it’s not like they can do nothing until July, they need to be taking actions to improve their brand image now. Announcing an experienced director for The Flash soon would be good. When Michelle MacLaren left Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins was announced as her replacement just a few weeks later. Hopefully WB already have a replacement ready and can release a statement soon.
Setting a definitive date for the Batman title would also be a good idea. Most people found the Batman aspects to be the strongest parts of Batman v Superman, and Affleck is still a fan-favourite director. So having that info out there could help people feel a little more confident in the DCEU.
We can’t also forget that we still have another DCEU movie coming out this year, Suicide Squad. Suicide Squad could essentially be the saving grace for the DCEU, or the final straw in the eyes of the skeptical public.
From the beginning Suicide Squad has been the better received film out of it and Batman v Superman. So if Suicide Squad comes out and has a high critic and fan rating, then it will go a long way in improving the brand perception of the DCEU.
A lot of people still don’t think the DCEU are capable of being fun and enjoyable, that it takes itself too seriously. How many times have I heard people’s concerns over The Flash movie being worse than The Flash TV show because it will probably be dark and gritty.
Right now there is an established tone in the DCEU that most people don’t enjoy, so if Suicide Squad comes out and shows that the DCEU is diverse in tone, then it could help instil confidence in future properties.
But this could also shift the blame for DCEU’s problems onto Snyder. The next two movies coming from the DCEU are not Snyder-directed, so if they are well-received you know there will be hundreds of articles condemning Snyder to be the main problem of the DCEU. And that won’t be helpful for when the Snyder-directed Justice League movies come out.
And of course if Suicide Squad isn’t well received, well then we have a big problem. It will be hard to come back from two misses (obviously Batman v Superman isn’t considered a “miss” by everyone, me included, but you can’t deny that many people would consider it a miss).
However, Batman v Superman may have its saving grace with the Ultimate Edition. If editing is changed and scenes are added and extended, then it could change the mind of a few who didn’t enjoy the theatrical run. Although most people in the public probably won’t see the Ultimate Edition, changing the mind of even a few hundred people could go a long way in helping the brand image in the long-term.
Essentially the worst thing WB could do right now is stay silent and act as if there isn’t a problem with the DCEU’s brand image. They need to be proactive and communicate a sense of confidence
And of course as I wrote this days ago we got some news which addresses what I’ve been talking about. Ben Affleck has been announced as an Executive Producer on Justice League. This is a very smart move. First of all, publicly they are remaining supportive of Snyder despite the media chit-chat. The release discussed how Affleck worked really well with Snyder on Batman v Superman and the role Affleck will play.
He will work with Terrio to fine tune the Justice League script, and be a lot more involved in the post-production process which is what we like to hear. I think it’s fairly obvious that post-production was a struggle during Batman v Superman, with 4-hours of footage that had to be cut down to 2 and a half hours. So having someone else there like Affleck to help smooth things out sounds good to me!
Categories: comic book movies