Is DC in need of a Hero in 2017?
The fight has never been bigger for DC, they are deep in competition with Marvel to dominate the Superhero sub-genre of the box office. As Marvel are seemingly rising, DC are starting to fall, but where did it begin to go wrong for DC and is it too late to save it?
The Dark Knight. Arguably one of the most famed outings for the dark crusader, which reinvented the whole superhero sub-genre. It juxtaposed the Adam West theme which trademarked the series and harshened it by making a much darker more realistic version. Behind the helm was director Christopher Nolan whose other work included: Memento, Interstellar and Inception. The Dark Knight was a global phenomenon, pulling approximately $533 million, sparking a new era for the DC Universe.
Trying to keep the momentum going, DC decided to re-envision Superman and released Man of Steel. Going into the film, expectations were high, it had the all-star cast including the likes of Henry Cavill and Russell Crowe. It had a well-established director in the form of Zack Snyder (known for Watchmen) and a good origin story. What it got however was a mixed reception, some fans praised it for its adrenaline filled action sequences but many critics argued it lacked fundamental elements like character depth, energy and consistency.
After Man of Steel, DC decided to try again and go bigger and better by pitting Batman and Superman against each other in a massive super bowl blockbuster. The result? They received similar feedback in many ways to Man of Steel, critics and fans hit harder this time though, slating it.
While Batman v Superman was released, David Ayers’ Suicide Squad was already in the pipeline, in a mad dash due to the success of Marvel’s Deadpool and lash-back from the critics, certain scenes were re-shot to make the film lighter, funnier and crazier.
Fortunately they found initial success. The trailer was a hit with over 80 Million Views. Warner Bros were so impressed they decided to let Trailer Park (who made the trailer) re-edit the film. Sadly the DC curse continued and when this Frankenstein film was released it caused fans to despair.
Through all the shoots and reshoots and the edits and the re-edits it seemed that David Ayer and his team had killed their own film. The ever-changing tone of the film had it lacking a clear consistency and the Joker was admittedly scarcely in it after being at the forefront of the advertising. When he was in it, he fell flat in comparison to the legacy of Jokers like Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson.
Marvel is hitting success after success most recently with the new Captain America movie ‘Civil War’ grossing a massive $1,153,304,495. With Marvel now in what they call ‘Phase 3’ which will end with Avengers Infinity War. This venture will be split into two parts due to its monumental size, promising to wrap up storylines of major characters like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America.
But with this universe expanding constantly, accompanied by new additions like Dr Strange and Black Panther, Marvel are showing no signs of easing up after the war. The fact is, Marvel are making good movies consistently and DC just aren’t. This proves to be a major concern for DC as they are struggling to survive in the shadow of Marvel. The competition has never been tougher for them and many fans are struggling to stay loyal.
With Wonder Woman in post-production and set to be released on the 2nd of June. The steaks have never been higher for DC, one more bad film and it could kill the franchise, equally a good one may save it.
If Wonder woman happens to fall short it will be left up to Zack Snyder once again with the Justice league to save the day, but with two consecutive DC losses under his belt, the DC cinematic universe is at a all time low. DC need saving this year and to end with in the words of DC antagonist, Harvey Dent: ‘The night is darkest just before the dawn’.
Words by Harry Walton