Time for the first Woeful Wednesday post of the blog which I have decided to make a little rant.
I have heard a lot from critics about the salvation of the new shared universe of movies based on the critical and now commercial success of Wonder Woman. The first ever female-led superhero has joined the same world as 2013’s Man of Steel as well as 2016’s Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. Like the Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies that we are all aware of with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and so on, each movie contributes a small part to the overall continuity. BUT, unlike the Marvel films, until Wonder Woman, none of the movies was universally liked, by critics or fans with a mixed response at best. Check out the box office and Rotten Tomatoes scores if you don’t believe me. Wonder Woman, according to some critics, has changed all that. Wrong I say! And here are a few reasons why.
Firstly, they have not made a successful team-up movie yet. Whilst the standalone films with Superman (Man of Steel) and Wonder Woman have received the most positive reception, the group movies with BvS and Suicide Squad have earned the most negative reception. This to me is a very important point.
Back before the first Avengers film, my opinion is that most people did not think that it would work. How can you bring together 5 or 6 MAIN CHARACTERS and fairly treat them all whilst creating a coherent plot? And while you may debate the magnitude of their success, there is no doubt that it was success and it became the third highest grossing film of all time up to 2012 (5 years, crazy!) and received 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. Now, fans flock to these movies in a way that is almost guaranteed, possibly because they think Marvel has earned a bit of a free pass. And Marvel risk making crazy movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man and Dr Strange that 10 years ago, would never have seen the light of day. Ant-Man is the perfect example as Edgar Wright, of this month’s Baby Driver, tried to have it made for at least a decade. And now we have Ant-Man firmly in the MCU. You may talk about how many fans are perhaps a little tired of how many superhero films we are getting. Every year we get another handful of them, particularly from Marvel. And whilst this accusation is largely true, in the case of Marvel, you do not hear many people saying that the movies are rubbish. Just that there may be a saturation of them. However, DC have not achieved this level of success.
Another problem that DC faces is bad press, and not from the response to their movies. You may not have heard about how many troubles DC has had behind closed doors but there have been many and many have become public. The Flash movie due for release has been through three directors. A Shazam movie (who? Yeah, a slight awareness problem with this one!) with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been in development since Man of Steel and is now suddenly in production. Ben Affleck was supposed to write, direct and star in the solo Batman film and now he might not do any of those with his script being kicked out by new director Matt Reeves (of Planet of the Apes fame) and rumors of his departure coming from The Hollywood Reporter. Then we had the tragic news of Zach Snyder stepping down due to his daughter’s passing. We now have Joss Whedon at the helm, director of the previously mentioned Avengers, so it is likely that the movie will change quite a bit. Perhaps it will change for the better but it may disrupt the theme that Warner Bros want from their movies. Justice League being the same as Avengers doesn’t feel right to me.
Therefore my claim is that DC’s real success will lie in the success of this year’s Justice League movie. Wonder Woman was a great turning point, but they need to get fans onside fully with Justice League. Considering how large a movie this is and how, before the Avengers movies, the Justice League was probably the most well-known teams of superheroes, nobody is yet talking about this movie. I believe this is as a result of very little marketing and a bad taste in the mouth from the last DC superhero team-up, Batman v Superman. The two trailers of Justice League haven’t exactly rocked my world either.
For the DCEU to take off, Justice League will have to hit like Wonder Woman critically and like the Avengers commercially. Whilst all the DC films have made money, and lots of it, they haven’t made the money they were expecting to make, with the exception of Suicide Squad and now the brilliant success of Wonder Woman. Justice League needs that same success for the entire DCEU to match Marvel.
Disagree? Think I am mad? Think I am sane but an idiot? Comment with your thoughts!