It’s very easy making comparisons to Marvel and DC as of late. Marvel has created a shared movie (and television) universe for their growing cast of superheroes. DC is attempting the same, but introducing characters right away. They’re in the beginning stages, so any thoughts at this point is speculation or assumptions.
I can’t help but feel pessimistic.
Director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was essentially the start of developing a shared universe. It was met with mixed reviews, although, I enjoyed it. It felt like a good start to Clark Kent becoming Superman. He made mistakes and he’s clearly learning from them. And it left things at the perfect place to introduce a Lex Luthor who has a valid hatred for Superman.
Rather than further Superman into the superhero we all know, DC and WB are jump-starting their shared movie universe. The Man of Steel sequel became Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Wonder Woman and Cyborg were cast in cameo roles. The film is basically Justice League-lite. Well, that’s the assumption at least.
After a while I warmed up to the idea. It’s an almost reversal of Marvel’s approach. The studio wants to introduce their cast of heroes now instead of unveiling them one by one in their own movie. There’s good reason. They don’t take as much risks. Superman and Batman have always been their mains. They took a chance with Green Lantern and it didn’t fare as well as they hoped. They turned back to Superman. Throwing multiple superheroes on the screen at once is the most risk they’ll take. And maybe if it does well, they’ll be more open to giving other characters a chance.
But I still feel cynical.
Screenwriter David S. Goyer is pretty much in charge of writing the film adaptations. His mindset on the comics and its fans are off-putting, especially after recent words he had during a recent interview.
“How many people in the audience have heard of Martian Manhunter? How many people that raised their hands have ever been laid? […] Well, he hasn’t been rebooted but he’s a mainstay in the Justice League. He can’t be $%#ing called the Martian Manhunter because that’s goofy. He can be called Manhunter … The whole deal with Martian Manhunter is he’s an alien living amongst us … So he comes down to Earth and decides, unlike Superman who already exists in the world now, that he’s just going to be a homicide detective … So instead of using super-powers and mind-reading and like, oh, I could figure out if the President’s lying or whatever, he just decides to disguise himself as a human homicide detective. Dare to dream!”
-David S. Goyer
Jokes aside, the statement is insulting. There’s a lack of concern for the comic book fans, who make up quite a bit of the fan base for the movies. Goyer sounds like he almost has a disdain for lesser known superheroes. Why bother? Only die-hard fans know who they are. Where’s the money in that?
DC’s movies seem to be ran or worked on by people who are essentially not really fans of the comics or wanting to embrace them. It’s a distinct difference than Marvel, whose people have admiration and love for the characters they’re bringing to the big screen. And clearly, not just big names: Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man being the most recent examples.
My love for Marvel is showing again, isn’t it?
Snyder is a good start though. At this point he seems to be the only one who actually embraces the comics and draws inspiration from them. And there’s no denying that he stays close to the aesthetics of the comics and makes it work well. Just look at the recent photo of Ben Affleck as Batman. Look at it! It’s great.
I’m writing a lot for trying to say so little: Goyer needs to change his mindset or the studio needs to put faith in a different writer. A lot of Marvel’s success stems from the love for the source material and the risks they’re taking. There’s no insults slung at fans of Rocket Raccoon. There’s simply the mindset of, “Watch this and have fun!”
Oh well. Here’s to another decade of Batman and Superman!
At least DC has their TV properties and cartoons?