It’s no big secret that DC Comics and Warner Bros. had their fair share of trouble in imitating the success of Marvel Studios in building a cinematic shared universe. From the sheer competition of Marvel’s presence to creative issues, there are a ton of roadblocks standing in the way of the DCEU being a colossal success.
Despite having characters that are iconic and reach out to many people, DC just couldn’t construct a fine universe. The problem goes beyond their unfaithfulness to their comic book origins.
Things just got worse after director Zack Snyder tried to launch a DC shared universe on the back of his Superman reboot Man of Steel – nor did his sophomore effort in establishing an official DC Extended Universe, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice work the way it intended to. Even the Suicide Squad bombed and it was helmed by a completely different director.
The problem with DC’s Cinematic Universe is the lack of development and growth for its characters.
It’s easy for us comic book fans to appreciate what DC is constructing but the usual audience doesn’t have that kind of connection with characters. Remember the Flash cameo in Suicide Squad, well for me as a fan it was lit but the theater was surprisingly calm. Compare that to the Chris Evans cameo in Thor: The Dark World and you will understand what I am trying to say.
Marvel made a connection with their audience, a connection that was made slowly over time starting from the standalone Iron Man & Captain America movies leading to Avengers. Something that DC is really overlooking but thanks to the creditability of the comic book counterparts they are just staying afloat.
You might say, after countless reboots, it was the right time they stop making origin story based arcs and while I might agree with that it is a necessary to build a solid connection with the viewers.
Snyder’s vision of a grimmer, shadowy DC cinematic universe has become his signature, even though it’s at odds with the feel of characters like Superman and Wonder Woman, whose messages are hope, joy, and optimism.
Given that Snyder is a producer on Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Aquaman, as well as directing Justice League, I have my suspicions.
The problems with the DCEU are bigger than just three crappy movies. What failed in Man of Steel was repeated in Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad and will likely continue to fail in Wonder Woman and beyond. Warner Bros. knows they need to retool their format, but whether they can, and what shape it will take if they do, depends entirely on how much course-correcting new DC division co-runners Geoff Johns and Jon Berg can do between now and Diana’s solo film. They have an uphill battle, that’s for sure.