Let’s be honest here among geeks for a second. Marvel comics movies have been cleaning up and pretty much owning. Whereas DC movies can be pretty great (look at Dark Knight series as example, even though it is still wrought with errors), DC have still not stepped up their movie game aggressively enough to even be close to being on point with Marvel comics movies. But now that they have announced their film line up and most of the stars associated with said films, is it possible DC could still out maneuver Marvel in the movie marketplace? Yes, there is a very big chance of that still, actually. They just need to follow some of these rules for it to REALLY work.
I know many people had issues with Man of Steel’s MUCH darker tone than what we all normally know of Superman, but I was not one of them. I think we are living in an ugly world and an ugly time and that seeing comic book movies that reflect that is by no means a bad thing. Marvel’s main problem is homogenizing the material so it is palatable by mass audiences. I understand they want to sell toys, but guess what? A huge chunk of hardcore comic book fans are in their 30’s and 40’s and grew up with this shit and are waiting for the comic book movie that caters to US and not our 13 year old cousin.
DC could deliver that. Is an R-rated comic book movie that much to ask for? Look how sick Dredd was?
The big problem I have with Marvel comics movies is that the universe they are in is so complicated with so many different people and groups having different motives, that it makes following it and connecting it all very difficult for the casual viewer. I mean, Gods and aliens and robots and ancient artifacts and so on and so forth. My thought is DC can dial that back a bit. We know Superman, we know Batman, a Justice League movie would not be that jarring.
Of course, if they plan on bringing in characters like Martian Manhunter (which they will) the DC world will eventually be just as confusing and hard to follow as Marvel’s is. That is not a good thing. Strip it down, keep it simple. Not so simple it offends fans, but simple enough that mere mortals can follow the stories and not have to keep notes or get migraines trying to keep up.
Heroes Who Stay Dead
Wow, what a concept, huh? Heroes who die in movies and (get ready for it), actually stay dead or get replaced by someone who wants to carry on the legacy. The problem I am having more and more with comic movies is, much like Lord of the Rings, death tends to carry no weight and mean nothing.
I mean, come on? Did ANYONE believe Nick Fury was dead in Captain America 2? No, because we know Marvel doesn’t like to murder its money makers. But what if DC had the balls to? That could give them an edge. And start some serious Twitter wars, which is always fun to watch from the sidelines.
Less Orgiastic CG
Maybe I am just getting old, but sometimes the Avengers movies kinda visually look like The Transformers movies, and this is NOT a good thing. 900 shiny things exploding and fighting on-screen at once, making the simple act of following the action on-screen nearly impossible.
But think of the Dark Knight movies, for example, wonderfully paced and easy to follow. If DC can avoid the big budget, CG messes all big movies seem to get made into lately, they may just have a leg up on the competition. We are not all action hounds. Some of us like actual good stories in between all the explosions.
Okay, let me start this part of the piece and end the overall piece with the statement that I love Marvel. I really do. If you went through my comic collection would find a LOT of Marvel (and a lot of Batman). So I do not want anyone to mistake this all as a Marvel bash or a bash on Marvel comics movies. I have enjoyed most of them, and feel honored as a geek to be alive in this time of their mass geek acceptance.
But (and there is ALWAYS a but), if you look at Marvel’s five year cinematic plan, they are throwing everything they have at us. What they do at that point is risk market saturation. What THIS means is, remember the days when comic book movies didn’t get made? Yes, it means we would return to that, which NO ONE wants.
But if DC paces their movies and franchises a little more spread out than Marvel, that just could be the key to winning the comic book movie war. For now, we just need to wait to see how Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad turn out, and we can go from there. God I pray Will Smith’s ego doesn’t ruin SS like it has so many of his other movies.