DCEU: How to Fix the DC Extended Universe

September 1st, 2016 | by Dusty Haynes

The DCEU continues to expand and draw furious debate from fans who have no end of advice for Zach Snyder and those steering the Warner Bros. ship. Here, our own Dusty Haynes lays out his case for how the DCEU can be strengthened going forward.

In 2013 Warner Bros. and DC gave us a new Superman with Man of Steel and the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) was born. With the release of Suicide Squad this month, we’re now three movies into this mega-franchise and audience and critical reception has been, to put it nicely, extremely mixed. This has left many to fear for the future of DC films. But worry not, DC fans! Fixing the DCEU will be as easy as using your super powers to rescue your dad from a tornado.

Oh. Right.

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Well.. Anyway… Here’s my advice.

Move On From Zack Snyder

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 26:  Director Zack Snyder attends the Warner Bros. Pictures panel and presentation during Comic-Con International 2014 at San Diego Convention Center on July 26, 2014 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 26: Director Zack Snyder attends the Warner Bros. Pictures panel and presentation during Comic-Con International 2014 at San Diego Convention Center on July 26, 2014 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Before you Snyder-ites start raging, hear me out. I actually love Zack Snyder as a visual filmmaker. Watchmen is, I think, a perfect pairing of source material and director. No one else could have made a Watchmen movie half as good as Snyder did. Furthermore, I thoroughly enjoyed Man of Steel as a new perspective on the first and most iconic superhero known to man.

However, Zack Snyder struggles when it comes to story. Watchmen worked well because the story was completely laid out for him. All he had to do was nail the style and visuals – which he is excellent with. Sucker Punch, however, showed that when Snyder hammers out the story himself, we end up with a muddled mess with massive editing and pacing issues.

Sound familiar?

The “S” Means Hope…Right?

Man of Steel

Credit: Warner Bros.

Since his debut in Action Comics in 1938, Superman has been a champion of the oppressed and a symbol of hope. However, the Kal-El we meet in Man of Steel is still trying to figure things out for himself. Nothing wrong with that! By the end of the movie, he’s learned who he is and what his place in the world will be. Perfect. However when we see him next in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, he is still unsure and in doubt about everything!

If you’ve ever picked up a Superman comic book (pre-New 52), you know that the Man of Steel is decisive, mature and actually enjoys being Superman. More than that, he knows what Superman is and where his responsibilities stop. The DCEU desperately needs this version of Superman, especially as the Justice League comes together. They’ll need such a figure to look up to. To aspire to. “In time, you will help them accomplish wonders”.

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Fix The Joker

Jared Leto Joker Suicide Squad

Credit: Suicide Squad

 

I liked Suicide Squad. Harley Quinn is pitch perfect, Amanda Waller is scary as hell, and El Diablo was a genuinely interesting new character. The biggest problem I had with the film is the Joker. Jared Leto, although a brilliant actor, portrayed a version of the Joker that fell flat for me and many other fans. Sure, he was never going to live up to Heath Ledger, but the gangster clothes and metal grill were a bit too far in the wrong direction.

Fortunately, this is a problem easily solved. Do away with those tattoos somehow. Hell, just pretend they were drawn on. That’s something the Joker would do! Then, maybe have him use his power and influence to fix those teeth. Also, take away his power and influence.

There you go! Joker is fixed!

Stick To The Comics

Joker DCEU

Credit: DC Comics

I don’t like comparing Marvel and DC movies. However, this is one aspect where I think it’s important. On the Marvel side, the MCU has been building toward a major standoff with Thanos over the Infinity Stones. In the process, audiences got a taste of Civil War on screen and rumor has it we’ll be getting some Planet Hulk hat tips in the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok. Those are some big comics storylines! The DC Extended Universe would do well to take a glossy page out of the same book. There are so many great storylines in the 70 plus years of DC history. Why not adapt some of them?

Don’t #@&% Up Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman DCEU

Credit: Warner Bros.

This one is simple. Wonder Woman has been waiting 75 years for a movie.

Don’t screw it up!

So there it is! All DC/WB has to do to fix the DCEU is listen to these simple steps.

I’ll expect my check to come in the next few months.

 

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What do you think of Dusty’s suggestions to repair the DCEU?

Do you have any to make yourself?

Leave your thoughts for us in the comments section below.

 

Dusty Haynes is a Contributor to ComiConvrese. Follow him on Twitter: @DustyHaynes

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  • M. Leigh

    1) Regarding your points about Snyder: You do realize that BVS is intentionally the lowest psychological point for literally all of its characters, right? That’s the entire point of this movie. It’s hitting rock bottom tonally and psychologically for Bruce and Clark both, and how they take the step toward a brighter future — a ‘Dawn’ of Justice. Bruce relearns mercy and faith; Clark recognizes that even when the world prefers to see him as a monster, he loves the world enough to die for it. We don’t need a ‘happier’ Superman, because this Superman is a person first, and an icon second — something Snyder has been very clear about over the course of the last two movies.

    2) Joker: This is literally your personal aesthetic preference, I don’t see how the DCEU needs to conform to your preferences. I like the fact that it makes Joker literally the ‘ghetto’ white guy trying to be ‘gangsta’ and not encountering the same kinds of justice and retribution that men of color are faced with when they commit similar or lesser crimes.

    3) WW: We have yet to receive any word that we have any legitimate reason whatsoever to worry about the quality of the Wonder Woman movie. However, even if it was only mediocre, that doesn’t mean the DCEU is finished, because the DCEU has still done something Marvel won’t be doing until 2018 at the earliest: released a female-led solo superhero picture. Besides, there are a ton of mediocre to terrible male-led superhero pictures — this doesn’t mean the genre as a whole is bad. So why should a mediocre WW, in the unlikely event that we get one, be any worry at all?

    Overall, I feel that this article is poorly researched, analytically imbalanced, and overly focused on what you, personally, want, as opposed to the stories that are actually being told in the DCEU, and what avenues WB and DC Films could use to make them better-told.

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