As most other “fan-boys” out there, I’m a massive fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). From the moment I saw the first Iron Man to the closing end-credits to Guardians of the Galaxy, I think it’s safe to say that the MCU has been a massive success…not just because of the money made from the movies, but because of the quality of the movies themselves.
Obviously, it was Christopher Nolan’s work on the DC Batman movies that started the trend to more realistic and darker superhero movies (The Dark Knight, to me, is still considered one of the greatest movies of all time). But why hasn’t any other DC movie been able to capture the same magic?
Fantastic Four…Green Lantern…Watchmen…Jonah Hex…Man of Steel; it’s been a long, expensive road for DC superheros. The problem isn’t easy to narrow down to one specific issue, but I think it’s safe to say that the movies just haven’t been very good. Period.
While Man of Steel was decent, it was still not seen as a “blockbuster”. I gotta say…the massive destruction to Metropolis in the final battle had me a little uneasy about letting my son watch it. Hell…Godzilla and Pacific Rim didn’t seem to destroy as much of a single city than Superman did.
So the new DC movie is coming out next year: Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (BvS). DC has done everything they can think of to make fans excited about the new shared DC universe, having announced a TON of movies that will be made over the coming years. The new BvS movie will include the introduction of some new heroes (Wonder Woman, Aquaman – pictured at right) that will help set up the upcoming Justice League movies down the road.
Yet the fans aren’t clamoring like they are over the MCU announcements. Why is that?
I think it’s primarily due to a few factors:
- The DC movies haven’t been good up to this point other than Batman, so there is a built-in fear that the movies simply won’t be that good;
- The whole shared DC universe idea seems rushed and second rate, due to Marvel starting the entire idea and being massively successful with it;
- The casting choices, at least at this point, have not been met with thunderous applause (although for the record, I’m a fan of Ben Affleck and think he can deliver a kick-ass Batman);
- The DC superheroes are, for the most part, the most “unrealistic” out of both DC and Marvel…and at this point, at least, it seems extremely difficult to translate that to the big screen.
Let’s look at that last point…
A guy who lives in Atlantis and breathes underwater? A woman from an Amazon tribe with a lasso that makes you tell the truth and flies an invisible jet? SHAZAM?? Yikes.
Marvel has done an incredible job of making their characters seem real, which is one of the primary reasons it resonates with viewers and fans: these are “real” people that you can relate to. For all of the special effects in Green Lantern, people couldn’t believe that a giant cloud was engulfing worlds and was the main baddie in the film. For as good a performance as Henry Cavill gave in Man of Steel, he simply wasn’t as personable as Christopher Reeves was in the role…and that’s hard for people to relate to and get behind.
I, for one, am looking forward to the BvS movie. I’m really hoping that the teaser trailer (coming soon!) helps to light a spark under people. I mean…we’re about to finally see Batman and Superman in a crossover movie!! How cool is that??
It’s important to not take this type of movie for granted. Sure, the MCU has set up the perfect formula for sharing universes with its characters, but they’ve been working on it for years. The fact that Spiderman will finally share the big screen with Captain America and Iron Man only goes to prove that, when done correctly, you CAN generate tremendous buzz without even having to do very much.
The DC shared universe launches next year with BvS. I just hope they can accomplish what they set out to do.