It should’ve been easy. The Dark Knight series literally made it possible to make great DC movies. The DC comic’s universe is littered with some of the best characters in all of comics. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Joker, the list can go on for miles and makes you wonder, how do ruin what seems to be an easy opportunity? The plots practically write themselves, the history is so elaborate that everywhere you look there are stories you can adapt. Yet the DC extended universe has bombed. With the exception of the excellent Wonder Woman, everything else has completely missed its mark.
It has practically leading the DCEU off a cliff.
Imagine a Batman vs. Superman movie being a drag. It was dreary and hopeless and far too long. A complete misstep considered the two comic titans involved. It just happen to feature the infamous “Martha” moment that was the most laughable and stupid thing about the movie. The sheer amount of hype surrounding that film was unreal and it ended up being practically no fun whatsoever. Now imagine a Suicide Squad being by the numbers and clichéd. It featured classic villains that were reduced to one-note characters and wasted a little over two hours of run time (are you seeing the connection). Not to mention it literally made one of the greatest villains in the history of comics in the Joker a side character. He was featured so heavily in the trailers and they relegated him to the background. They really, and I apologize for the language, fucked over his character. There is absolutely no excuse for these failures. The two movies mentioned were critically panned (Man of Steel was just ok) and couldn’t compare commercially to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But here’s the crazy thing. All hope was not lost. Wonder Woman, released in 2017, was fantastic. Gal Gadot nailed the feel of the character, the action was engaging, the direction was excellent, and it performed well commercially and critically. It was one of the best comic book movies of the year and one of the best overall movies of the year. It really made everyone feel that with some type of effort, DC movies can be fun and the DCEU can be salvaged. When you’re riding this type of high, all you have to do is follow the formula created by Wonder Woman.
And then came Justice League.
Wow, to say they butchered this movie is an understatement. Don’t get it twisted, it’s better than Batman vs. Superman, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t any less disappointing. This a CG fest that literally made every character and every major moment feel hollow. Why does Batman, who was the best character in Batman vs. Superman, act completely inept? Why is Wonder Woman’s personality drastically altered? Coming off as the damsel in distress is not who that character is at all. The Flash, while entertaining, doesn’t get enough screen time and neither does Aquaman (or Aquabro depending on who you ask). Cyborg was in the movie…I think. Steppenwolf, who is literally one of the most threatening villains in DC comics, is a by the numbers villain. There was so much potential and it was squandered for the same tired comic book tropes. Come on DC, you’re better than this. Luckily a Wonder Woman sequel and Aquaman are in the works. But there is a lot of work to do because of the way Justice League portrayed these characters. To say that there are continuity issues in regards to themes and character development in the DCEU would be an understatement. There will be a difficult road ahead to salvage the damage done by ONE film. Which is why there’s so much skepticism about the upcoming releases.
Stop embarrassing yourself DC, you’re better than this.