The DCEU achieved its first milestone with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel in 2013. It went on to make several movies under the Warner Bros. Banner. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad and the Justice League were the next installments to the DC cinematic franchise.
Most of them have been critically panned by movie critics and scores of audiences who have grown accustomed to Marvel’s linear storytelling plot scenarios. Except for the Wonder Woman, the rest of the movies underperformed at the box-office and fell short of gigantic expectations that DC fans harbored.
In fact, the biggest DCEU actor Henry Cavill aka Superman admitted that there were missteps early on in the DCEU and that it should learn from Wonder Woman experience. Here’s what he said:
“There was a style they were going for, an attempt to be different and look at things from a slightly different perspective, which hasn’t necessarily worked.”
He took personal responsibility for the failure of Batman v Superman which was supposed to take DCEU to insane heights. He acknowledged that movie could not strike a chord with the fans. He said:
“Yes, it has made money but it has not been a critical success; it hasn’t given everyone that sensation which superheroes should give the viewer. “I feel like now the right mistakes have been made and they haven’t been pandered to, and we can start telling the stories in the way they need to be told. It is even better to come back from a mistake or stylistic error into the correct vein because it will make it seem that much stronger. Wonder Woman was the first step in the right direction.”
The DCEU, headed by Zack Snyder, tried to do something different. And for the crime of trying to be distinct from Marvel’s Hollywood baby formula movies, he faced unanimous spite. He is an awesome visual director and this time he worked very hard on the script as well.
Zack Snyder was being relentlessly shot down by the viewers. Film Critics and audience alike, everyone was getting so uncomfortable with Zack’s brilliantly gritty and dark storytelling devices that they wanted him to go. The world has grown accustomed to Marvel.
Since Marvel came first, superheroes crack jokes and make puns in the middle of battle – That, my friends, is the golden rule. The only problem with the DCEU was that it not only came late to the game but also violated that ‘rule’. The result is that the DCEU is way behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe in terms of revenue and ratings.
Enter Joss Whedon. His foremost objective, after Zack left the DCEU due to the sad demise of his daughter, was to make the DCEU more Marvel-like.
The shadows and the thunderstorms were replaced with rainbows and unicorns. Justice League was everything that was the polar opposite that Zack Snyder had ever worked for. 4 years of hard work go down the drain.
Even though Justice League was not a smashing success compared to the colossal hype it generated, Justice League’s collections in the Box Office are decent but not groundbreaking.
The DCEU may have been heavily criticized but Zack’s fanbase alone had the ability to make each installment a blockbuster. Whedon watered down everything. The single most important fan base of the DCEU was insulted by this abomination of a movie. The result is – Justice League is the lowest earning movie on the entire DCEU roster.
Thankfully, Warner Bros has finally come back to its senses. WB Studios CEO Kevin Tsujihara claims it is high time the DCEU realizes that it won’t move any further by copying Disney.
To ensure another Blockbuster, they need to up their game. Warner Bros needs to carve out their unique identity like the way Disney did with the MCU. DC Comics is doing phenomenally well at the comic-book shelves and outperforming Marvel year on year by a long shot, but the situation is just the opposite on the big screen. DCEU needs to reinvent itself if it were to compete with MCU in the long run.
One of the biggest problems of WB is its excessive interference in the production process and not giving due creative freedom to the director and his team. The Snyder version of the script was detailed and over 3 hour long covering back-stories of members of Justice League such as The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. But WB got it reduced to just 2 hours which edited huge portions and scenes pivotal to the over-arching plot.
But it is really DC’s fault that the top-notch effects/work done by the VFX/graphics team did not make it to the final edit. It contains Batman’s supercomputers inside the Batcave and other sophisticated tech used for his bad-ass automobile. Further, there is also Barry Allen’s computers and stunning pieces of tech for Cyborg. A whole new Star Labs was created where Victor Stone was saved and transformed into Cyborg. Blind Ltd., a company that worked on the user interface for Rogue One, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Justice League etc. were never given the autonomy they deserved which is a matter of shame.
Snyder’s Justice League United Earth’s greatest heroes under one roof as they joined hands to save the planet from an alien invasion being led by none other than the New God Steppenwolf, the Nephew to Darkseid (DC Universe’s God of Evil) in the movie.
Whedon’s version looked like the Breakfast Club…. with superpowers. With fans now asking for an unadulterated Snyder Cut for Justice League, WB realizes Snyder’s vision is the way to go. It is time to say Goodbye to Whedon.
WB and the DCEU was the subject of constant ridicule when the Justice League released. Since they were so busy trying to copy Disney, they forgot that they had their own distinct tone they had to take care of in the movie. While this is something WB will never admit, Kevin Tsujihara makes some interesting comments:
“Warner Bros needs to continue doing what it’s always done: producing the biggest, most diverse slate in the business. That’s what’s made us successful. We can’t do what Disney’s done. It’s worked really, really well for them, but it’s not who we are. We need to continue to create a balanced slate of all types of movies and all genres.”
Warner Bros. used to be the king of superhero movies until Marvel Studios took that spot with the Release of Iron Man and the start of the MCU.
WB’s greatest superhero movie universe is still Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy – each movie had a distinct cheesy, dark and gritty tone. Interestingly, it was Alan Horn who green-lighted that movie. Alan Horn is now the Chairman of Lucas Films and Marvel Studios.
In a race to catch up with Marvel, DCEU ended up trying to copy it. Although it failed, it’s good to see that WB is finally coming back to its senses. Aquaman, Wonder Woman 2 and Captain Marvel will ensure that the DCEU could really become the box office juggernaut it is destined to be. All the best to DCEU.