Back in 2013, Man of Steel was released for the movie buffs to feast upon. Never ever was a comic book origin story so dark and realistic as was Snyder’s take on Superman. The world was not ready for Snyder’s vision. They were still caught up in Marvel Cinematic Universe’s feel-good movies to even care that in the real world, superheroes don’t always save the day and fly off into the sunset. Man of Steel received extremely potent criticism. Yet Snyder stayed undeterred. He directed Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice which also received widespread hate like its recent predecessor. The DC Extended Universe was about to begin.
David Ayer’s much-anticipated Suicide Squad was the next installment under the DCEU banner in 2016. Although it was a box office success, it was a critical failure by all accounts. Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman was the next iteration of DCEU. It scored both financially and critically to soon become DCEU’s strongest entry into the Superhero genre. Things were finally looking up for DCEU. Then in 2017 came Justice League.
The movie had its fanboy moments but it was nowhere near as well received as it was expected to. It did not garner applause at the Box Office or at the review stands. After Wonder Woman pushing DCEU into new heights, Justice League pushed the DCEU into the same dark alley it had only recently so desperately crawled out of.
So the question that arises is – What went wrong? It’s not like DC does not have likable superheroes. As a matter of fact, DC’s superhero roster is much better and popular than Marvel’s. Yet MCU has consistently scored while DCEU continues to stumble upon one big obstacle after the other. What went wrong?!?!
The answer is – blame Warner Bros., not DC Films. In an attempt to copy Marvel Studios’ success with their MCU, WB decided it was about time to push the DC movies out of the oven before they were baked. Take the Justice League for example. Warner Bros. rushed the movie to give a cut that was not cohesive and had unnecessary character development arcs. Had the WB studios not meddled in the editing part during pre-production itself, the movie would have been a Box Office Juggernaut.
Batman vs. Superman was a movie that started an era in Hollywood. The Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel trading blows was something everyone was excited to see on screen. But the movie had serious flaws in delivering the story to the audience. Snyder had helped prepare the script and had a clear-cut vision for storytelling. The studio ended up botching it for something they thought was more ‘grandiose’ (which they realized wasn’t after the movie released).
If you love Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy, you will love this piece of news. There were talks about a Batman vs. Superman movie ever since Batman Begins released in 2005. They even hired an Oscar-winning writer to write the script but later shoved it into the attic. The studio thought it was better to let Superman and Batman feature in their standalone productions rather than share screen space. What incredible decision making skills!!!
One interesting fact most people do not know – a Justice League movie was already at work long before the MCU’s first movie Iron Man was released. The movie Justice League: Mortal had several well-known actors including Armie Hammer as the Green Lantern. But when Nolan’s Batman trilogy succeeded, WB decided standalone are the way to go. Surprisingly, it is the studio itself that stopped the DCEU from succeeding.
Justice League: Mortal could have been a launch pad for future DC movies. The movie never became a reality so it never got the recognition it deserved. The MCU did not commit that mistake and released one movie after the other in a cohesive, well-planned strategy.
So should Snyder be blamed for the demise of DCEU? Hell no. It was the studio’s fault through and through. It was not Snyder’s idea to use dark tones for Man of Steel. David S. Goyer had already made the story when Snyder came on board and made the necessary changes. Batman vs. Superman was not the next movie in Snyder’s vision. Snyder wanted to do a Man of Steel sequel before Batman showed up in the DCEU.
But the studio decided to have its way and push for not just one but two Justice League movies before 2020. Snyder’s original vision entailed a long baking time for the DCEU cake. Only after the cake has a finely baked crust would it have been pulled out of the oven. The studios did not let him do that.
The debacle of the DCEU and its anticipated downfall is more of the Studio’s doing. They clipped the DCEU’s wings before it could take off with greedy motifs of milking more money out of a franchise that was still in its infancy. In the race to play catch up with Disney, Warner Bros. rushed the DCEU and turned it into the mutilated beast it is today.
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Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just… do things