With Avengers: Infinity War set to release in the coming months there’s a lot of Marvel hype going around. For better or for worse, this has created a very anti-DCEU atmosphere on the internet. However, if anything this is the best atmosphere for the DCEU, as it’s like a young student watching a great master right before their twilight. For fans of sports, it’s like Jared Goff watching Tom Brady go to another super bowl at the age of 40, after already winning 5 super bowls. The reason why I say this is because once Avengers 3 & 4 ends the MCU would have reached its goal. It’s be somewhat vulnerable by an audience switching to a stronger cinematic narrative which a young universe like the DCEU can provide. The potential is there, they’re just missing a few pieces, which all starts with Warner Brothers. They need to give the right people the proper tools, instead of listening to suits tell them how to make a profit. With superhero movies, you’ll likely always make a profit due to the genre’s nature. However, like Sony learned & WB hopefully learned with Justice League, cinematic universes are earned not given.
You can summarize the steps I outlined into 3 key points:
- Maximizing Strengths
Let’s start with vision, probably the most important point I have outlined. Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, “If you don’t have a goal or a vision, then you have nothing” Some may dismiss these words as Arnold is tied to one of WB’s biggest DC blunders but when you look at Arnold’s story you can see the power of vision. He went from Austrian farm boy to greatest body builder of all time. Using a more relevant example we can look at Kevin Feige. He said from the inception of the MCU that he wanted to build them up from solo movies to culminate an Avengers film. This vision guided the MCU until that point & then afterwards the goal was to tell their version of the Infinity Gauntlet with Thanos as the villain. After 2012’s Avengers, everything built up to that point which we’re now seeing in Avengers: Infinity War. What’s the DCEU building towards? The answer is nothing concrete which is the problem. The first step to not only fixing a cinematic universe but establishing a proper cinematic universe is having a defined goal & vision, otherwise the future movies will fail.
The second key point is patience, which seems to be a virtue for not only everyday people but studios making multi-million dollar movies too. Patience comes with time, and unfortunately the DCEU doesn’t have much time on its side. Out of the Justice League actors, the youngest is 25 which is Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen aka The Flash. It’s an unfortunate situation to be in because actors such as Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Henry Cavill, & Jason Momoa are fantastic choices for their roles…but it’s not likely they would be able to keep up with their roles 10 years into the future. Hugh Jackman is a great example of this lesson, as playing Wolverine became taxing for him physically & Wolverine doesn’t need to be nearly as physically intense as Superman, Batman, or Aquaman. Amy Adams would be the only person I mentioned that could possibly get away from this issue.
The upcoming Flashpoint movie is a blessing, WB can recast with actors also in their 20s or at least earlier 30s like Ray Fisher aka Cyborg allowing them to take the years necessary for a well-developed cinematic universe. This could help keep costs low as younger actors typically are cheaper while also if relatively unknown a bit more welcoming to signing a multi-picture deal. Patience also fits with how many movies are made per year, the DCEU can’t rush into releasing 3 movies a year because a competitor is. Viewers and fans must show they want more of your product before you start announcing almost 20 movies in development, like I said before your cinematic universe is earned not given. If Warner Brothers wants needs a competitor example look at Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man franchise that crashed after multiple future installments announced.
The third point is maximizing strengths. I touched upon it earlier but from a certain perspective Marvel will be at their weakest. They’re going to have to establish a new vision for their films, rely on new franchises such as Captain Marvel to maintain audience excitement, & retire favorite characters such as Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Hawkeye, Vision, & more based on contracts. This is where you strike, as everybody loves the characters that make up the Justice League, largely thanks to the animated series, while hungering for a new strong narrative to follow for a cinematic universe. In maximizing strengths, an advantage WB has cultivated is more mature films thanks to Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy along with Snyder’s Man of Steel. Each Justice League member also has their own distinct city, abilities, & secret identities which is something the MCU lacks as most characters don’t have secret identities. Their range of abilities have been rather dull in the past, with the recent handful of MCU films really adding non-generic abilities with Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, & Spider-Man.
With regards to each distinct city that should translate to genres too. The MCU began splitting each hero into a different genre for their solo movies which has helped each character develop their own feeling & bounce off other characters not in their film. Batman should have the darker movies, but also the more intimate movies as he’s the most street level of the Justice League. Aquaman & Green Lantern should feel like its own world, like how Guardians of the Galaxy was in the MCU yet felt like a whole new world. Superman & The Flash should be mixtures of the intimate with big scale, like Spider-Man: Homecoming set out to do, as you should navigate the story with their superhero & civilian identities. There’s more I could go into but I think at this point I’m just rambling.
Do you think Warner Brothers should follow these steps? What do you hope to see in the DCEU’s future & what is your favorite movie announced? Let us know in the comments & we’ll see you all in our next editorial.