DCEU: Why Are We So Hard On Warner Brothers?

September 12th, 2016 | by Dewayne Edwards
DCEU: Why Are We So Hard On Warner Brothers?

Warner Brothers has placed enormous bets on the success of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). With a pattern of negative fan reaction having developed throughout the release of their first three films, its worth asking if fan expectations are aligned correctly. Our Dewayne Edwards takes up this issue in asking why fans are so hard on Warner Brothers.

DCEU: Why Are We So Hard On Warner Brothers?

Batman v. Superman

Credit: Warner Brothers

We live in the golden age of superhero movies and in an era of movies sharing the same world or universe. Every studio is coming out with their version of a cinematic universe. As we know, the DCEU from Warner Brothers is sort of just getting started in their task of universe building; from their initial efforts with Man of Steel to their most recently released film, Suicide Squad. There now appears to be a common reaction to the DCEU’s film from critics and fans that seems to follow a pattern. When comparing the DCEU to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), it just seems that we are being much harder on Warner Bros., but why?

Obviously, the DCEU is taking a different approach to their cinematic universe than the MCU is. As we have seen over time, Marvel has taken the slower and safer approach in introducing several characters with solo films before getting to the big team together in The Avengers. That was, arguably, the film that started the trend of sharing the same world or universe because of the positive response by fans. This is a formula that fans have become familiar with. On the other side of the coin, the DCEU is sort of doing it backwards, having multiple popular characters in the same film from the beginning of their cinematic universe; excluding “Man of Steel”.


As we know when looking down the slate of films to be released by Warner Bros., there will be more solo superhero films, with a mix of team-ups. Whether or not this approach was taken to catch up to the MCU, it doesn’t explain why fans and professional critics seem to have a bias against DCEU films.

As I have stated before, the MCU seems to have a formula down, its a process they have been following since the beginning of their films back with 2008’s Iron Man. That film lead to The Avengers. We saw fans be able to learn about each character in their solo films, which allowed us to be even more excited about their team-up film later down the line.

We have been conditioned to believe that this is the only way that a cinematic universe can be approached. As we know, the MCU films have approach their stories with a  lighter tone and humour, which is a lot of fun for a lot of people. You can’t argue against that given the success of the MCU. So when there are different superhero movies that approach a cinematic universe in a different way, there can be a bit of back lash.

The DCEU having a darker tone, less humour, and arguably less character development, can turn fans away. There’s a lot riding on bringing these superheroes from comics to the big screen. There are obviously a lot of people who were big fans of these characters before the arrival of the DCEU, so if people feel like they aren’t done right or don’t develop enough, there’s going to be a lot of fuss about it. With the DCEU rushing out characters so quickly, without a good amount of development to them, fans have reacted to that; especially when they had something to compare it with – like the MCU.

Whenever there’s an existing model that’s been successful, like the MCU, we as a society and fan base will always make that the benchmark of how everything else is suppose to work. So it’s always easy to compare the next DCEU film to the MCU film and point out what’s different and what’s wrong with it, because we’re so use to that model. But

As always, time will pass and experience will help the model develop into it’s own. Hopefully soon we fans will be able to appreciate what both the MCU and DCEU have to offer.

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Why do you think people are being so hard on the DCEU?

Comment below and let us know what you think.


Dewayne Edwards is a contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @ProPizza94

Source: Warner Brothers

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  • NemesisReloaded

    We are harder on the DCEU movies because we care about the characters more. We might think the MCU is cool, but their characters were not that popular before these movies. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Joker, Lex Luthor… these are massively widely known and loved characters. And because so many fans give so much of a crap about how they turn out, there are also many different ways that different groups of fans expect these characters to be depicted. With the MCU, there are equally plenty of different iterations of the characters to pull from, but the fans are smaller groups and are heard much less.
    If you listened, or if you like to know these kinds of things, you would know that The Mandarin was done an injustice and fans weren’t happy. In the grand scheme of things, who cared?
    The announcement of Batman v Superman was recorded in newspapers and news channels the world over.

    We care more about these characters.

    So with that care comes expectation and pressure – from EVERYONE.
    The last time movies had this kind of pressure on them was the event of the prequel Star Wars trilogy. Much as we try, we as a people will not be able to contain and lower our expectations for the up coming Wonder Woman movie, even though she has never been depicted in a live action movie before, and even though there has never been a female lead tent pole comic book movie before either.
    Pressure, pressure and expectation.

    That said, we, as a people, were also not prepared for DC and WB to do things differently. Many critics -quite wrongly as far as I’m concerned- made the distinction that because Man of Steel and Batman v Superman were “not fun like Marvel” they were not good. That’s preposterous. Words of “thats not MY Superman” were everywhere, “Lex Luthor is more like the Riddler”, “Batman shouldn’t kill!”. We, as an audience, were too ready to judge these DCEU movies based on what WE thought they should be like, rather than leaving ourselves open for something new like we did with MCU movies and characters many of the audience had never heard of.

    But we aren’t all to blame.
    For its part Warner Bros has been dipping its fingers in and messing around where executives dont belong. You’d think after the Josh Trank / 20C Fox debacle, executives would learn to let movie makers make movies.
    Too many cooks always spoil the broth.
    But they were worried that audiences wouldn’t sit through a 3 hour Batman v Superman, even though it was a better version of the movie and the same people probably sat through all the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.
    With Suicide Squad our only stipulation as an audience was that you make the bad guys proper bad guys, not bad guys turned good. But WB concerned themselves with the good reaction to the “fun” trailers being produced and tried to make the movie the same, ordering reshoots for humour and action and plonking them in a movie you can tell was meant to be something else.

    But Warner’s fiddling is a symptom of our overbearing love of the DC characters without necessarily knowing much about their histories, stories or plethora variations.
    We as an audience are probably too vocal when it comes DC, and WB still isnt sure how to deal with it.

    Here’s my advice Warner Brothers: Ignore us. Make your movies. Allow your film makers to create and give us your best stories with the Comics Worlds biggest characters, and we will follow.

    We didn’t believe in Heath Ledger, now we cannot imagine anyone else. We didn’t believe in Ben Affleck, now he’s the best live action Batman we’ve ever had. We didn’t believe in Gal Gadot – especially gal Gadot, but now we’re all excited to see Wonder Woman in her own movie. Give us your best Warner Brothers, not the movie you think we want. We will not only forgive you, we will adore you when we see its greatness.

  • Anson Phillip

    I disagree.

  • Anson Phillip

    People like bashing on WB DC. The people think the MCU is the standard for CBM’s and as to your point about characters in the DCEU being under developed I seriously disagree. Again another bias brought on by the stigma that a CBM should be told a certain way in a certain style and their is only one way to show character development. The ushering in of 300 brought with it the Graphic novel way of storytelling. There will be no compromise and as comic book readers like good stories so now these stories are being told on th ebig screen and not watered down none comic book related compromises with characters from comics but unrelated stories.

  • Shivesh Ranjan

    I agree!

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