How DC Movies Can Suceed
How DC Movies Can Succeed
Aside from the hugely successful and popular Batman movies from Christopher Nolan, DC movies have largely been playing catchup to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe in recent years. This has been largely due to a lack of strategy and a few less than groundbreaking films which failed to capture the imagination of audiences such as Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern and Superman Returns. Nevertheless, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is due out in March 2016 and DC’s cinematic future seems to have a direction under Zack Snyder who is directing 2016’s blockbuster, and likely overseeing future projects in a role similar to Kevin Feige’s at Marvel Studios. Whether this strategy can be as successful as Marvel’s remains to be seen but here are a few ways I think DC movies can become successful.
A Fresh Take on Batman
There have been various takes on this iconic character over the years and DC movies have the unenviable task of reintroducing Batman to audiences so soon after Christian Bale’s popular incarnation has retired from the big screen. I think DC movies need to show audiences a different side to the character, one not seen before in cinemas and explore new territory. Rumors that Ben Affleck will be playing an older world-weary Batman sounds like a good place to begin but Snyder and his writers need to go further than that. One way would to be show more of Bruce Wayne’s detective skills, which were largely a sideshow in Nolan’s universe, possibly by doing some investigation into the work of Lex Luthor. When the inevitable clash with Superman comes in 2016’s film, it should not overshadow that this Batman is distinctly different from anything we’ve seen before. While there are lessons that Nolan’s Batman will have taught the writers, it’s time for a new, fresh direction for the caped crusader.
Lay Groundwork, Don’t Overshadow
A real and somewhat understandable concern for fans and critics alike is the number of new faces popping up in Batman vs Superman. Alongside Henry Cavill’s Superman and Ben Affleck’s Batman will be Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and likely as yet unconfirmed Justice League members such as Aquaman. While it’s a certainty there will be some plot threads left open for a Justice League movie, these new faces should be cameos or have a few scenes at the most. It’s important a general audience isn’t overwhelmed by a host of new characters especially since many are making their debuts on the big screen. Reintroducing characters such as Alfred and Lex Luthor is equally important but the stars of this film should be Affleck and Cavill, after all, they are in the title. Whereas Marvel have had several films to build up to The Avengers, Warner Bros has a much shorter time to do the same with the Justice League, something that will have to be handled with great care to be done well.
Differentiate From Marvel
There are many similarities between Marvel and DC in terms of cinematic characters but there is ample opportunity to show something new. Aquaman is an opportunity to show a whole different world. By exploring an underwater civilization, DC will have beaten Marvel to that aspect of an important character. While Green Arrow may seem very similar to Marvel’s Hawkeye, DC has the means to make him play a more important role in proceedings rather than someone who’s there to shoot at stuff as he sometimes felt like in The Avengers. DC need only look at Stephen Amell’s work as Green Arrow on TV to see how its done. The recent announcement of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson being cast as Black Adam in a Shazam movie is a good start and should provide a decent foray into new territory for Warner Bros. Finally, there is Green Lantern. While he may be left to the wayside for a while to distance himself from the last project, this is a unique and interesting character who can be successfully rebooted. While the casting was decent enough last time around, the script and story didn’t work and the special effects were a bit cheesy. Nevertheless, this differentiation should not be to the detriment of the story and the characters which should always come first. Speaking of which…
Less Explosions, More Character Development
There is a tendency in Hollywood nowadays to assume that bigger is better. You need only look to a recent example at the box office: Transformers 4. Critically disliked but commercially speaking an enormous win because it made lots of money. Why did so many go see it? For the spectacle, people know they will get big stunts and lots of explosions and they paid to go see just that. Batman vs Superman will certainly be a spectacle but it should also contain more heartfelt moments too. The best parts of Man of Steel were Johnathan Kent’s sacrifice and the moments where Superman’s humanity shone through. The best films, particularly superhero films, have these moments because it is these that audiences connect to most and make the film memorable rather than prolonged action sequences showcasing these larger-than-life characters. This is a criticism that has been leveled at Zack Snyder in the past, the phrase ‘style over substance’ comes to mind, but if he can add these moments into Batman vs Superman the DC cinematic universe should be in good shape moving forward.
Overall, DC’s cinematic future is a lot brighter than some would have you believe. Yes, they have some catching up to do to earn the goodwill that Marvel Studios has at the moment but DC have the characters and capacity to achieve this goal if handled correctly. We will have our answer on March 2016 if DC can relaunch a new era of DC comic-book movies.
But what’s your opinion on the upcoming DC projects? What do you think they need to be successful?
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