Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Steering the Batship: WB Executive Shake-Up Adjusts DC Films

It seems like the stream of Warner Bros. announcements following the unsatisfying box office of Batman v Superman isn't stopping...

The snowglobe has been shaken up. DC Films has now been created, and will now be run by Geoff Johns and Jon Berg, the former being a respected longtime comics and TV writer. Someone who should've been at the helm in the first place. This comes after an announcement concerning the first Justice League film, and how Ben Affleck will be executive producing that.

More than anything, I think DC's biggest problem - going into Captain Obvious mode here - was A) their race to catch up with Marvel, and B) Zack Snyder directing and his/their grimdark fetish.

Man of Steel isn't a bad movie, but it sure left a very bad taste in my mouth. I liked its ideas and the first half was alright, but its constant need to be so po-faced and its desaturated color scheme were a major turn off for me. Batman v Superman was better and worse, there were lots of cool ideas in it, it wasn't as depressing, but the structure was so sloppy, and it felt very much like The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Riddled with notes with set-up stuff crammed in. Way too many different storylines were integrated too, from The Dark Knight Returns to The Death of Superman. Also, Lex Luthor was pretty bad. Ding ding ding ding...

Suicide Squad on the other hand looks really impressive. Whatever the high-end reshoots were for, I just hope they make the picture better or don't go against director David Ayer's intentions, whatever they were... Unless they weren't very good intentions. From the trailers, however, it looks like a complete 180 degree turn from the first two DCEU films. There's a lot of humor, a madcap sense of fun, and better color grading. It doesn't look like a Nolan copycat, either, but it genuinely looks like a fun ride and is something different for the superhero film. A movie about the villains.

So when will we see the changes? Wonder Woman is done filming, but the film is not out until June 2017, so I reckon that if something isn't working, it'll be looked at. They have more than plenty of time, the same goes for Justice League, which has just begun filming. Maybe this time, they could anchor Zack Snyder's style to a better story and script, and lighten it up a bit... Though I'm still skeptical, these heroes joining Superman and Batman weren't properly introduced. Marvel Studios built their Avengers up, WB/DC didn't.

With the news of Seth-Grahame Smith exiting The Flash and Aquaman possibly surging ahead (what with director James Wan finishing up his Conjuring 2 just recently), among other things, I think we will indeed see a slate change - and I'm not talking about the one that everyone thinks is the real deal. Green Lantern Corps also seems to be picking up steam, not to mention the standalone Batman film. I can only imagine what the new dates were locked for, maybe some of those things WB has been announcing lately, like the planned spin-off centering on female DC heroes and villains.

More than anything, I just want focused stories that give the characters a rhyme-or-reason for doing things, but I also want to connect with them too. Stop the grimdark schlock, go for a balanced tone, dial Snyder back, and back off the gratuitous set-up stuff. Johns himself stated in an interview that he wanted to go back to "hope and optimism" for these movies, and lighten things up a bit. That gives me hope for the DCEU, because I want it to be good. Marvel Studios needs good competition anyways, plus... It's DC! They deserve the best for the silver screen!

The next three films are what the slate is counting on, and WB as well.

I believe they can fix this and that it's not too late, but the big question is... Will they?

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