Justice League and the Future of the DCEU

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So…. it’s been close to a month since the Justice League movie released and a lot of different things have been said about the film. The movie has polarized public opinion with many fans criticizing various different aspects of the movie from a thin plot to a weak villain while many others enjoyed the more Joss Whedon-ish lighter moments (The Smart Quips).

Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon: Avengers !! (Courtesy: The Guardian)

Zack Snyder

Zack Snyder: My Visionnn !! (Courtesy: Geeksofcolor.com)

A lot has also been made about Warner Bros’ decision to let Joss Whedon handle costly re-shoots after Zack Snyder’s departure from the director’s seat. The film notably has many tonal inconsistencies as a result. Also, Warner bros’ new mandate on not having any of its films exceed a run-time of 2 hours is baffling and has been met with wide-spread criticism.  This also resulted in much of the film’s original footage being cut and the continuity from scene to scene was missing. Many fans are now clamouring for the home-release with an extended version of Snyder’s original version.

All said and done, the movie’s current gross of nearly $600 million is far below what the WB executives expected and is viewed as a commercial and critical failure.  With the dust finally beginning to settle, let’s take a look at what the DCEU has in store for the future…

Upcoming Projects

Now, a Justice League sequel was initially set for a June 2019 release but anything even remotely related to a sequel has been thrown into doubt; or pushed back at the very least. A major criticism of Justice League was that the characters of Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash were not fleshed out. This obviously made it difficult for the audiences to really connect with these characters. While WB’s interference clearly played a part in that, it must be said that these characters have never been portrayed on the big screen. So individual movies have been planned for these characters that are set to release over the 3 years or so.

JLU

Is this WB’s vision for the DCEU ? (Courtesy: Comic Vine)

In addition, separate movies for the Green Lantern Corps (A shot at cinematic redemption!), Batman, Batgirl, Nightwing, Shazam and Black Adam have all been planned. Sequels for Wonder Woman and Suicide Squad are also said to be in the pipeline.

The Good

Some of these upcoming movies make sense such as the aforementioned characters from Justice League. Though The Flash is currently making a lot of headway on The CW’s Arrowverse, his solo movie on the big screen could be a very exciting prospect for fans.

Arrowverse

Arrowverse: We’re better than the Justice League (Courtesy: Inverse)

Let’s move on to our good old Dark Knight. Yes, he has been portrayed numerous times on the big screen now. Do we really need another Batman movie this soon, especially after Nolan’s critically acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy? Perhaps there has been a little too much batman too soon; but this movie may well be needed to set up some other events in the DCEU.

nolan

Nolan to Snyder: Can you beat my legacy ? (Courtesy: Batman-news.com)

Next, let’s move onto the sequels. Wonder Woman 2 will in all likelihood be good considering its going to be directed by Patty Jenkins from the original. Suicide Squad 2… To be honest the first one received a lot of unnecessary hype for various different reasons ranging from Harley Quinn’s hotness to a more fun DC movie; but in the end this movie once again polarized audiences for different reasons. Will the second movie be any better? There is a chance that it might be but these characters have potential. So I think that it might be worth a shot. Green Lantern Corps…Again a rich comic book history!! So regardless of Ryan Reynold’s green lantern, these characters deserve a good portrayal on screen.

Does WB know what it’s doing?

I think that characters like Nightwing, Batgirl and Black Adam are great but I’m not sure how solo movies for them tie into the bigger picture. While Shazam and Black Adam have their own unique history, do movies based on these characters have enough weight to stand on their own? Even assuming that these movies are crafted brilliantly, what is WB’s basis for giving these characters an entire movie?

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Steppenwolf: Why me ? (Courtesy: Collider)

In the Justice League movie, the main villain was Steppenwolf. Their decision to have Steppenwolf as the main antagonist seemed very questionable to me from the outset. While he might have a bit of a history, he is not exactly the ‘main’ villain. Heck, he barely plays a role even in Bruce Timm’s DCAU or any other animated incarnation. One may argue that this was a set-up for Darkseid but then again Darkseid was nowhere to be seen. These movies use a lot of CGI and are expensive to make. So making a so-called set-up movie based on a weak henchman doesn’t make sense even financially. When the Justice league rogues gallery is full of great villains, they need to choose their villains carefully.

In the same vein, an entire movie dedicated to characters that the general audiences may not be so familiar with is strange. Are they trying to create a Bat-verse? Will Damian Wayne make an appearance or will there be a nod to storylines like the Court of Owls? The real trouble for WB here is that the history of DC’s characters is so rich that it is hard to do justice to them in a single movie. So WB would be wise to take classic storylines and portray them really well.

Of course, they might be trying to do what The CW is currently doing with Arrow, Flash etc. However, they don’t have the freedom of fleshing out these characters over 100+ episodes. So, one would hope that WB has a solid game plan in store for the DCEU rather than make things up as the cinematic universe chugs along.

Justice League and its Potential Domino Effect

I really don’t know what WB’s grand vision for the DCEU is (if they have one) but the mixed reception to JL has thrown a spanner in the works. Various different rumours are doing the rounds as Ben Affleck’s participation in the solo batman is now uncertain. Henry Cavil says that he is contracted for one more movie. The DCEU really needs a few box-office hits in order to retain their top stars. If they can’t, then what good is any universe building exercise?

Ben affleck batman

Ben Affleck: WB doesn’t deserve me !! (Courtesy: Digitalspy.com)

Also, what then of Justice League part 2 or of future instalments? If Steppenwolf was introduced to set-up Darkseid, why allude to Deathstroke and the Legion of Doom at the end of the movie? Not that I have a problem with it, but the timing of that scene felt inappropriate and out of context.

While my knowledge of the comics is a bit sketchy, I’m well versed with the animated versions of DC. At this point, I don’t see how Nightwing and Batgirl are going to play a pivotal role in saving the universe. Apparently the Flashpoint Paradox storyline is also going to be used at some point. So where does all of this fit in?

I’ve used the question mark symbol way more than I normally do in a blog post. The DCEU at this point has thrown up so many more questions than answers.  As a die-hard fan of most of DC’s animated works, I really hope they turn it around. They certainly have the tools to do so. Just ask Bruce Timm or Paul Dini or Greg Weisman.

lex luthor

Ding Ding Ding (Courtesy: Warner Brothers)

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