Following the release of Aquaman which garnered very tame reviews, it is becoming more and more evident that DC movies are unable to rival the much broader Marvel Cinematic Universe, who always seem to one-up the DCEU in terms of critical as well as public acclaim. Despite having a large fan base, amazing actors and generous funding from Warner Bros. the films in the DCEU, for the most part, have failed to deliver.
For those of you who are unaware, the DCEU (DC Extended Universe), now known as the Worlds of DC as of now consists of 6 movies. Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League and Aquaman. Now, this is hard for me to admit, being a DC fan and all but, (with the exception of Wonder Woman) I did not enjoy a single one of these movies. And I know for a fact that I’m not alone in this. When I looked up the films online, I was shocked when I saw their scores on Rotten Tomatoes (not that Rotten Tomatoes’ score mean too much, I just found this really interesting) Man of Steel has a meager 56%, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad share a horrendous 27%, and Justice League has an abysmal 40%. Only Wonder Woman seemed to hold its head high among the others, with a 93% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
These ratings are bad for any franchise, let alone for DC. Honestly, with such great characters, it seems impossible to make a bad DC movie, yet here we are 5 years into the inception of the DCEU and nobody is happy. So what exactly are they doing wrong?
The best way to find faults in the DCEU is to compare them with their superhero counterparts, Marvel. One thing that Marvel does very well is getting the right man, or woman, behind the camera. Marvel has been known to make good choices in directors for their past films. One example is when they got Taika Waititi to direct Thor:Ragnarök, when he was previously known to work on much smaller budget films. However, it was a risk that paid off. Similarly, getting the relatively inexperienced Ryan Coogler to direct Black Panther. DC, on the other hand, have been adamant in having Zack Snyder take charge of most of their films. No offense to Snyder, but maybe it’s time to give someone else a go. The one time DC was willing to shift creative control was when they green-lit Patty Jenkins to direct Wonder Woman, which was by far their biggest success yet.
Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker - DC’s first Elseworlds film
One more problem DC face is the pressure they put on their directors and script writers to churn out more and more films in less amount of time to make more money. This has had sort of a negative effect on them, as their films are grossly underperforming at the box offices as well. Forcing reshoots and last minute changes on the directors just to make the film more “DC-ish” shows that the people who are currently in charge right now have a poor understanding of their own audience.
There is however, a silver lining in all this. Personally, I have incredibly high hopes for Joker, which is set for a 2019 release. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as the villainous psychopath himself. It tells the tale of Joker’s fall into madness and also stars Robert de Niro and Zazie Beetz( She played Domino in Deadpool 2) and is directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover). Getting a director who is primarily known for comedy to direct a film about Joker was probably the most interesting move DC has made yet, and I can’t wait.
Ben Affleck Batman
The bottom line is, DC needs to recruit fresher talent and give them the space and the time they need. Instead of always thinking head as to what the next film will be and when it should come out, DC should focus on putting all their effort on making their movies more enjoyable. That is, they should choose quality over quantity, and soon everything will fall into place. After all, people just want to be entertained.