The problem with..DC Extended Universe | Shared / Cinematic Universes Part II:
In the first part I talked about Marvel now let’s talk about DC and other plans for shared universes. While you can definitely see Warner Bros. going on a “me too” route in the movies it’s not as if the idea is that new, it just had never been implemented with superhero movies on film. If we go back it was indeed Marvel who started with the crossover of The Submariner and the original Human Torch (unrelated to the Fantastic four) but it was barely a few months later when DC had their own crossover and DC went big on their idea of a shared universe unlike Marvel and created the first Superhero team with the Justice Society who later evolved into the Justice League. Marvel started doing a bunch of original teams comics as Stan Lee has mentioned before and that’s why we have stuff like Fantastic Four, X-Men and whatnot instead of solo heroes at Marvel. Both companies have always put a lot of easter eggs for fans in all their shows and movies referencing to a larger DC/Marvel Universe but no one saw them as “references” or “hidden” secrets, they realized it was the company throwing a bone to the fans.
DC’s problem is it doesn’t know what to do with what they have. The moment their franchise doesn’t do what they wanted they restructure everything. I still remember the SDCC before Green Lantern came out in their Q&A they were asked about a “Cinematic Universe” and while he said they were planning to keep things separate because simply their characters are bigger (ironic how that turned out) but in that same panel he basically implied it could/would happen slowly. Of course everything changed when Green Lantern bombed and they decided to try again with MoS but that didn’t do as well as planned they again went back to the drawing board. I believe they planned on slowly making movies and eventually doing a crossover but keeping it separate until they had their pieces set up since they mentioned they wanted DC to be their next Harry Potter shortly after the last Potter film was released.
Seeing how much money they were losing and no time to wait to reboot after their Box Office disappointments they decided to go full on their shared universe first, which is fine as well and always found “BUT HOW WILL WE KNOW THE ORIGINS!?” posts rather stupid. I mean did anyone ask what everyone’s origin was when you first watched X-Men? If you think about it you have tons of heroes with superpowers but you don’t even why or how or the Justice League/Superfriends cartoon or whatever you grew up with? of course not. You know who Superman and Batman are and their stories, they don’t need an origin story. As for the others well you know Flash is fast and you know they got their powers somehow, it’s not essential to the story to tell how every single thing happened at least not in the first story so that’s not really a relevant complain. You can definitely start a Universe and branch off from their, that’s how the cult favorite DCAU did it. We had Batman TAS without a Batman origin, then a Superman cartoon and after that we jumped into Justice League.
However the lack of vision and faith at WBs and DC is what creates the problems. The universe they’ve made has odd choices here and there and after the B.O. disappointments their new universe they’re going full speed on has gotten now DC is making all these changes that further affect how their cinematic universe will go. Will new movies be cookie cutter formulaic like Marvel films? What we have now is a universe that Superman just started operating on but it’s a “mature” DC Universe where all these other events have already happened and that makes it kind of hard to see the Justice League forming with a rookie Superman and that Batman is at the end of his prime. Don’t get me wrong I prefer an older DC Universe but this mixture of young DCU with the older one isn’t going to work very well as we’ve seen.
It’s not that they’re playing catch-up that makes the DC Extended Universe bad but it’s how they’re handling. Instead of taking their own approach they instead just appear as rushing things instead of having their own vision. The Death of Superman Story was something ballsy to pull but not in the first film that introduces your own cinematic universe, it gives us the thought that there are no consequences to anything that happens since we know he’ll be back for Justice League. This could’ve been something huge everyone talked about and instead it was kind of wasted even if I loved seeing it. The cameos for Justice League all felt tacked on more than Marvel ever did when you had a movie that sold itself on the premise. This was something everyone wanted for such a long time before anyone even though of a Marvel Cinematic Universe. In my next post I’ll talk about the other upcoming Cinematic Universes.