I would like to thank my friend Erik for the stimulating conversation that led me to write this post.
Well, it is finally happening. DC is mimicking Marvel’s Cinematic Universe by creating their own shared universe. This cinematic universe began in 2013 with ‘Man of Steel’, but a movie hasn’t been released for two years until ‘Batman V Superman’ breaks the trend next year and starts a steady flow of movies. Now, while I am more of a Marvel fan than of DC, I still would like to see this franchise succeed. Characters like Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and Flash are cool and will be even more awesome in a shared universe and every main DC hero hasn’t been adapted to the big screen except for Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern. Plus, the Justice League is coming to the big screen! I loved the Justice League cartoon as a kid so this is really exciting for me. However, unlike Marvel, DC is not set-up for success. Marvel has created a winning formula for their movies while DC never has. In this post, I will list the 11 reasons I have come up with to explain why the DC Cinematic Universe is most likely doomed.
1. ‘Man of Steel’ was no ‘Iron Man’
Unlike ‘Iron Man’, ‘Man of Steel’ was not a solid enough movie to be a good franchise builder. Marvel started off on the right foot with ‘Iron Man’ which got great reviews from critics and viewers alike, whereas ‘Man of Steel’ got mixed reviews, even though ‘Man of Steel’ grossed more than ‘Iron Man’ did ($668 million ‘Man of Steel’, $585.2 million ‘Iron Man’). ‘Iron Man’ also set a good tone for the series and set up for future films. It stuck to Iron Man’s origin story almost perfectly, something comic book movies imperatively need to do to perfectly please fans, and had the right amount of humor so that the movie wasn’t too serious. This formula for success has helped build the MCU and make all the films in it great. ‘Man of Steel’ was way too serious with practically only two “haha” moments that weren’t even really that funny, and tweaked Superman’s personality and origin a little bit and not for the better. Also whereas ‘Iron Man’ set up for future films, by introducing Nick Fury and the ‘Avengers Initiative’, ‘Man of Steel’ made little to no effort to set up for the upcoming movies in the franchise. All these reasons made ‘Man of Steel’ a poor franchise-starter for the upcoming DC Cinematic Universe, by not starting the franchise on the right foot, but instead a shaky one.
2. DC Cinematic Universe Movies Are Going To Be Much Darker Than Movies Set In The Marvel Cinematic Universe
DC, in the comic books and in past movies, have always been darker than Marvel comic books and movies. Where Marvel has had action and comedy, DC has had action and doom and gloom. And, this will continue into the DC Cinematic Universe, just like Marvel’s MO has carried into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That is what might turn people away. A superhero movie being serious is not necessarily a bad thing but DC goes to the point where there are no funny parts and the movies become too dark and brooding. Look at ‘Man of Steel’; hundreds of buildings were destroyed in Metropolis and hundreds of thousands killed. All that and no comic relief! Also, aren’t superheroes supposed to prevent this kind of destruction, and have saving lives as their first priority? In comparison, Marvel, while still having enough great action fights and seriousness, supplies its movies with plenty of funny scenes, to keep the mood lighter. They also portray superheroes correctly. For example, in ‘Avengers’ and ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, the Avengers first priority was evacuating and saving innocent lives. People will be less likely to like the DC Cinematic Universe because they are less enjoyable than MCU films because they are too dark with no comic relief to lighten the mood, and the superheroes in these films are wrongly portrayed because the films try to be too dark, where as MCU films are funnier and lighter in mood, which helps portray the heroes in the films correctly. This is a factor that could turn die-hard fans away.
3. Too Many Superhero Movies
As much as I am a fan of comic books and the movies made of those characters, even I have to admit there are almost too many superhero-genre films being released. Fox is releasing between 7 films from now to 2020, Warner Bros. are releasing 11 films, and Marvel is releasing 11 also. That’s 27 in total and that isn’t counting the two to be released by Sony or the ones we don’t know about yet. Although the amount of superhero movies is at an all-time high and dominating the box office, it is only inevitable that eventually people will get tired of superhero movies, and production of these films will slowly drop. This factor will potentially greatly hurt Warner Bros. aka maker of the DC Cinematic Universe because they are the last ones to the table, with the X-Men franchise 16 years and 7 films in, and the MCU has been running for 7 years and 12 films. In the mean time the DCCU has just squeezed out one movie, ‘Man of Steel’. Also, as people start to lose interest in the superhero genre, they will most likely stop going to see every superhero that comes out and only see the one or two that they really want to see or that look really cool. This is another thing that could really hurt the DC Cinematic Universe because….
4. People Love The Marvel Cinematic Universe!
Casual movie-goers and avid comic book fans alike all love the MCU. They love it because the movies and tv shows set in the MCU have a light mood with usually many funny scenes and lines, do a fantastic job portraying their respective comic book characters, both personality, looks, and origin, and have created a cinematic universe so complex and fun, that it is irresistibly cool! People love the MCU so much and the MCU does such a great job with their shows and movies that even less popular and known characters like Daredevil and Ant-Man have become super popular! Hence, with the MCU being so popular, people usually go and see whatever movie they make because it has the Marvel brand on it. In comparison, with the exception of the ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’, DC has never been able to compete with Marvel on the big screen, and never can make as good a movie as Marvel can Since DC has a rep for a darker tone in movies, and usually messing up and with the characters their movies portray, people are less liable to go see a DC movie than a Marvel movie. So, people being so in love with the Marvel Cinematic Universe could hurt the upcoming DC Cinematic Universe because it will probably be treated by people as inferior to the MCU, and when there is a choice between seeing a Marvel or DC movie in theaters, people will be more inclined most likely to see the latest Marvel movie.
5. The DC Cinematic Universe Is Moving Way Too Quickly (Well Sorta…)
Being ambitious is one thing, being over ambitious is another, and the latter describes the DC Cinematic Universe. There has been a three year gap between the DCCU’s first two movies (‘Man of Steel’ 2013, ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’ 2016), but even despite this slow moving start and despite the fact ‘Man of Steel’ got mixed reviews, the DCCU has now switched from slow to top gear, having announced movies through 2020, with at least two coming out each year till then. Personally, I think moving too quickly could hurt them because they don’t even know how these films and cinematic universe as a whole will do but yet they have announced their next 11 films. Also, unlike Marvel, DC is not taking their time setting up for their cinematic universe. Marvel released solo films for each Avenger and then had them team-up in the epic ‘Avengers’ film. This helped the audience to know the characters decently by the time the ‘Avengers’ rolled around instead of meeting them for the first time in that movie, because this format helped to really develop each character, and helped expand the cinematic universe by being able to introduce several new characters each film. DC, however, is rushing to build their cinematic universe so as to quickly as possible be able to compete with the MCU, and in the movie biz, rushing to make a movie usually decreases the quality of the movie (hence why sequels and reboots are usually not as good as the original). So, this very well could become what happens to the films in the DCCU. Instead of releasing solo films for each character before a team-up movie like Marvel did which worked so well, they are quickly introducing each character and skipping right to the ‘Justice League’ movie. This could be dangerous because instead of the movie-goers already getting to really know and love each character by the time they all team-up on the big screen, they will have to spend half of the ‘Justice League’ movie getting to really know the characters. That is why….
6. Everything Depends On How Good ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’
Face it, a lot of pressure has been put on ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’ to not only do well at the box office and critically, be popular and people to love it, but also just about everything else. It is tasked with doing so many things but number one on its list is to set up and build the DC Cinematic Universe. ‘Man of Steel’ really didn’t do anything to set up for future films or build the upcoming cinematic universe, so its followup has to. ‘Justice League’ comes out the following year so ‘Batman V Superman’ really has to introduce most of the Justice League members and supporting characters/villains. I mean, ‘Batman V Superman’ is introducing Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, Robin (and possibly Nightwing), Lex Luthor, Alfred Pennyworth, Doomsday, and the Joker! And that isn’t counting all the returning characters from ‘Man of Steel’ it has to develop further! That is almost too much for one movie and has a distinct possibility of making it too cluttered. Also, if this movie is disliked, then the audience very likely will view the characters introduced in it negatively if they disliked the movie. Honestly, DC is not smart to put the fate of basically all their characters of the upcoming Cinematic Universe in the hands of one single movie. Its a gamble that could blow up in their face.
‘Batman V Superman’ also has to absolutely be loved by audiences and critics. DC and Warner Bros. has spent since last year hyping this film and if it doesn’t turn out to be good then people will be thoroughly disappointed because a ton of people (myself included) are greatly anticipating this film. If it fails, then people will not only be disappointed, but it will most likely affect the future of the DCCU, because if DC can’t get audiences to love a movie with all DC’s best superheros in it and a movie people are so excited about, then how on earth will they be able to get them to go see or even like one of their future films like ‘Aquaman’ or ‘Cyborg’? Honestly, how popular ‘Batman V Superman’ is, will in theory decide how popular the DCCU will be.
A third thing ‘Batman V Superman’ has to do right is Batman, of course (he is in the title!)! Batman will be an integral part of the DCCU and Batman is probably everyone’s favorite DC superhero. Especially after the well-beloved ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy, that breathed life back into Batman’s popularity on the big screen (which ‘Batman and Robin’ thoroughly extinguished previous to those films), audiences want a good Batman that is at least comparable to Christian Bale’s Batman. His supporting characters, like Alfred Pennyworth and the Joker, also need to be done well so people have a comparable ‘Batman’ franchise to the ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy. Since the DCCU is going to be going for a while, Batman will be around for a long time so it is so important for DC to make a Batman audiences will love. Things already look promising with new images of Batman’s costume and Batmobile and the casting picks for Alfred Pennyworth and the Joker, but if this is all going to work, Ben Affleck has to pull off (somehow) the role of Batman, or the DCCU will be significantly less cool.
7. DC Is Giving Less Popular Characters Their Own Solo Films
With comic book characters, some are good alone while others are good on a team and with other characters but not good on solo adventures. However, DC seems to fail in realizing this for in the upcoming DCCU, all members of the DCCU’s Justice League will get their own solo films. Now, like all comic book teams, some Justice League members are good alone while others are not. That is precisely why Marvel doesn’t give Hawkeye and Black Widow solo films because they are great on a team with other superheroes but wouldn’t be as good by themselves like the Hulk or Thor, for example. For example, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and Flash all are great alone because they all have huge rogue galleries of villains to choose from for each character and they all have good supporting characters and all this adds up as them being suitable for a stand-alone movie. On the other hand, Justice League-rs like Cyborg, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman are superheroes that are better as team-players instead of loners. They don’t have as big of rogue galleries of cool and dangerous villains like the characters listed above do, nor villains that anybody really knows, or even supporting characters that anybody really knows. While making a movie of these lesser-knowns could be a good way to get people to know them better, it is also another very risky move. Making a movie of a character that is much more obscure and much less cool in the eyes of people along with their villains and supporting characters, in comparison to more signature characters like Batman and the Flash, will decrease the amount of people that will want to go to see it or that do go and see it, along with the amount of people that like it. These type of risky movies could be hurtful to the DCCU for the possibility of a low gross and more negative reviews.
8. A Risky Bunch Of Actors
Face it, about half of the actors cast in the titular roles in the DC Cinematic Universe are not exactly good picks, at least as we stand right now, with out having seen how they are on the big screen. With out a doubt, Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman, Gal Gabot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, and Ray Fisher as Victor Stone/Cyborg, are all really good picks for their role, at least as far as appearances since we have only seen Henry Cavill on the big screen in the DCCU thus far. However, the rest are risky with out a doubt. Jason Momoa may be a very good pick for Arthur Curry/Aquaman because it all depends on how you look at the character. He is a good pick if the DCCU is using the modern version of the character but a horrible one if they are portraying the original version. Same thing with Ben Affleck being Bruce Wayne/Batman. Gut feeling says (along with basically everyone else) that he will be a horrible Batman, for he is certainly not Batman material. However, since the DCCU’s Batman is an older, battle-hardened Dark Knight, Ben Affleck might not be bad for the role. Again, we will have to wait and see. But without a doubt, Ezra Miller will be TERRIBLE Flash, for quite a number of reasons. First he has long black hair! All I have to say is, really?! Barry Allen certainly doesn’t have long hair, and certainly not black hair because he has blonde. Secondly, he isn’t that great of an actor with very little experience, having only appeared in a handful of movies that are not now and never were very popular or well-known. Thirdly, he is no Grant Gustin and will never be able to play this titular character to the same capacity. Grant Gustin looks like and acts like Barry Allen and the Flash. Clearly, the DC Cinematic Universe could run into trouble in the actor category, because they have picked some risky actors.
9. The DC TV Shared Universe Will Be Kept Separate From The DC Cinematic Universe
Even though Marvel has done well on the small screen, with ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ becoming popular, and ‘Daredevil’ become insanely popular with critics and viewers alike, DC clearly owns the small screen. Their shared TV universe with ‘Constantine’, ‘Arrow’, and ‘The Flash’ is becoming more and more popular and will soon include ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ and possibly ‘Supergirl’. Plus, there is the Batman prequel ‘Gotham’. So clearly DC has set up a good TV universe. So, what is the DCCU doing to tap into this already well set-up piece of relative prosperity sitting at its fingertips? NOTHING!!!! They have foolishly chosen to keep their movie and tv universes separate. This is even more foolish because for a studio and franchise trying to literally copy Marvel’s cinematic universe design and success, they aren’t making the smart choices Marvel continues to make. Marvel has made the historic move of tying tv shows into movies, as their shows such as ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ constantly tie into current movies and set-up for future ones. This adds so much to watching a tv show, making it a lot more exciting when your favorite show ties in with such a blockbuster like ‘Age of Ultron’ and you hear Director Coulson say “It’s time to call in the Avengers”. It also helps expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe by bringing in less powerful and popular characters by giving them shows instead of movies, case in point being Daredevil. All in all, it is brilliant and so cool to keep tv shows and movies of a franchise all in one shared universe. DC is missing out on all this by keeping their tv universe separate because no matter how good their movies are, the DCCU will never have the same level of complexity, depth, or level of excitement as the MCU does. It limits them to really only being able to introduce more popular and renowned characters into their cinematic universe because they can’t give less popular characters shows to introduce them and they wouldn’t want to give a more obscure character like the Atom his own movie because it most likely wouldn’t do well (and Marvel beat them to it with ‘Ant-Man’). Finally this also makes things confusing because it makes it possible for there to be two versions of a character at once like there will be two versions of the Flash. This also doubles down on the fact (and makes it even more obvious) that….
10. DC’s Characters Have Been Beaten To Death
Face it, DC has beaten its characters to death on so many levels and that has the potential to hurt its upcoming cinematic universe. Batman has been rebooted twice and been portrayed by five different actors, superman had been rebooted twice and played by two different actors, the flash has a tv series and will have a movie set in the DCCU, green lantern is being rebooted after the previous attempt utterly failed; I mean even Wonder Woman had a tv show back in the 70’s and is now getting a movie. Plus, DC has made several tv shows concerning the origins and younger years of several major superheroes. Life lesson: Too many reboots is a bad thing (DC will never understand this (sigh))!!!! This fact could hurt DC because people could become tired of seeing the same character over and over no matter how cool a shared universe containing them all is. This factor of amount of reboots done on a character actually on the other hand actually helped the MCU because with the exception of the hulk (and now spiderman, daredevil, and the punisher) all the characters in the MCU had never been adapted to any live action tv show or film before. Bringing the likes of Iron Man and Thor to the big screen for the first time helped to excite fans for each movie and the MCU as a whole with a sense of newness. While this factor helped the MCU, it has the potential to hurt the DCCU because they are on the other end if the spectrum, having rebooted and used their characters way too much, which may turn some people off because they don’t want to see Batman redone for the umpteenth time.
11. The DC Cinematic Universe’s Formation Was Way Too Vague
Honestly, who even knew the DCCU was even happening originally? When ‘Man of Steel’ came out I don’t think anyone beside maybe a few hardcore fans knew that it was the first installment in the DCCU. People just thought it was a reboot of the original series Superman and the start of a new superman franchise, myself included. On the contrary, when ‘Iron Man’ came out there was no doubt that it was the first film of a shared cinematic universe of Marvel characters because it was announced. It wasn’t announced about the DCCU until much later after ‘Man of Steel’ was released. A second reason many people didn’t know the DCCU was even beginning was because ‘Man of Steel’ did nothing to set up or even hint at a shared universe. It didn’t even really set up for a sequel! However, the MCU’s first film ‘Iron Man’ set up for a shared universe by, as mentioned earlier, introducing Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D., and the “Avengers Initiative”, thereby not only doing a great job setting up for the cinematic universe but solidifying and confirming for people that a shared and cinematic universe was actually happening (If that wasn’t proof enough, Tony Stark cameoed in ‘the Incredible Hulk’, the second MCU movie, that came out just a month later). Lastly, up until recently, even with all the buzz around ‘Batman V Superman’ DC still hadn’t come up with a name for their universe (Marvel dubbed their universe the MCU right away)! They have just recently named it the DC Extended Universe; all that time and they didn’t even come up with a good name (That is why me and most other people are still referring to it as the DCCU because it sounds cooler and more official and no where in the name the DCEU does it suggest it is referring to a movie universe)! Ironically, DC didn’t name it the DCCU so they wouldn’t copy Marvel’s name, the MCU, even though they are copying the MCU in every other way! Honestly, the DCCU’s lack of seeming organization, demonstrated by taking two years just to come up with a name for itself, helps to make it clear it will always be treated as inferior to and less cool and complex as the MCU.
The 11 reasons I listed above are why I believe the DC Cinematic Universe is set up to fail and/or not be as good as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The MCU has literally done a near impossible feat by bringing almost all the Marvel characters, heroes and villains alike, to the big screen and small screen all in one huge shared cinematic universe. They have made the historic move of making tv shows that are set in the same universe and that can cross-over with the movies of the franchise, helping to introduce less known characters by giving them a tv show instead of a movie to see how people like them instead of making a movie of them that could flop. Also, the actors cast in all the titular roles of the franchise fit the looks and persona of their respective characters so well, almost all of them seem like they are drawn out of the comics which really enhances how the audiences love the characters. These reasons and many more are what makes the MCU great. The DCCU has none of these things going for them. They are keeping their tv shared universe separate and their actors in the titular roles, at least half of them, are risky and shaky picks, along with all the other reasons I listed above and more. Honestly, I would love for the DCCU to be great and for people to love it, but with DC’s movie-making track record and with plenty of valid reasons it is safe to that the DC Cinematic Universe is set-up very well not to succeed but to fail.
What do you think?
1. The DCCU is going to fail without a doubt.
2. The DCCU could be good but it definitely won’t be as good as the MCU.
3. The DCCU will be awesome!!!! The MCU won’t even be able to compare!!!
Let me know what you think in the comment section at the top of the page!