Monday, June 3, 2024

TL;DR: Six Months Later - DC Movies are Dead (Long Live DC Comics and Movies)

Friends.  Nerds.  Blogger-folk.  Lend me your eyeballs.

I come here to bury the DCEU, not to praise it.  

I love DC Comics.  I have a collection of around 5500 DC Comics - and that's what remains after multiple cullings of the collection over the years, selling off dozens of long boxes and whole runs of JLA, The Flash and Green Lantern.  I have a room in my house largely dedicated to Superman and Wonder Woman, featuring knick-knacks, statues and toys, where I keep those comic books.  I have walls of graphic novels, and DC reference books.  My dog wears a Superman collar sometimes (he's currently wearing a Chicago Cubs collar).  I have attended the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois.  If there is a DC based TV series, serial, movie, cartoon, etc...  there's a good probability I've seen it or have a functioning awareness of it (not everything is for me and I've passed on a lot of animated features the past decade).  

All this is to say, when I discuss DC's movie efforts, it's from a place of love of the source material, of other DC media, and that I'm not coming in as a film-guy who never lifted a comic.  

None of this is to require anyone else to have this background, and you're entitled to your opinion.  But fan entitlement is a thing to behold, and so I feel some credentials are in order.   To conclude a clunky preamble, I say everything I say from a place of genuine love for the characters and their universe.

Thus, let it be known that the DC Comics movie experiment, that began in 2011 and which wrapped-up a decade later with Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom at the end of 2023, is done.

And that is to say, I did not love what DC did with its movies, starting with Man of Steel in 2013.   

I've written extensively about Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, podcasted on Justice League, pondered Wonder Woman...  Of the sixteen movies produced under the DC banner, I liked maybe two of them - Wonder Woman and The Suicide Squad.  Everything else was either a not-good-movie or distinctly not to my taste. Some were actually pretty bad movies,  Of the sixteen, I skipped one altogether.*

I have only guesses as to what happened at Warner Bros. - starting with the arrival and eventual dismissal of Diane Nelson - and carrying through to today, as nerds circle around their little fires on a website they helped turn into a trashfire, still muttering to each other their goofy slogans and theories, clannishly speaking of "the architect".  Very public disputes spilled over into the entertainment press and internet, coming to a head with the debacle that was Justice League, a mess which saw a clutch of WB executives get very fired and dragged publicly.  

I wasn't there.  I don't know what happened.  What I can say is what I experienced as a viewer. 

The Movie is the Movie

This last week, George R.R. Martin, he of Game of Thrones fame, made the entertainment news again for just saying out loud a thing most people know.  

“No matter how major a writer it is, no matter how great the book, there always seems to be someone on hand who thinks he can do better, eager to take the story and ‘improve’ on it,” Martin added. “‘The book is the book, the film is the film,’ they will tell you, as if they were saying something profound. Then they make the story their own. They never make it better, though. Nine hundred ninety-nine times out of a thousand, they make it worse.”

I think it's better than those odds, and, look, "the movie is the movie" is an argument I've had to make when I like something that is not the book.  For example:  Frankenstein.  It happens.  I don't love it, but it's a nice rationalization.

But, in general, this problem of "the movie is the movie" is what happened with DC.  And it's why the movies became a weird, slow motion train wreck.

We'd seen it coming for a long time.  DC couldn't seem to get a Superman movie going in the 1990's (and, sorry pals, a Nic Cage Superman movie would have been a disaster, and that's why they didn't make it).  And so we got Steel.  And Catwoman.  You're allowed to like Constantine, but just know, it's absolute garbage compared to the comics. 

Superman Returns came out, a love letter to a movie no one had seen in a generation, and gave audiences absolutely nothing to hang onto, and made Superman into a deadbeat dad.

The Green Lantern was their earnest attempt to do something when Marvel showed up, and we all saw how that turned out.  

It all seemed like a stack of arguments for Martin's thesis.

But those Dark Knight movies....  they were pretty okay, and I'll argue are the apotheosis of "the movie is the movie" - they bear little to no resemblance to what's in the comics.  But no version of Batman on screen, Keaton, Kilmer, etc... ever really felt like Batman of the comics.  But when WB made a Bat-movie, they were printing money.  

What Marvel Did

The trick is - Comics are not novels.  They're serialized narratives.  Some of those serials go back to the 1940's.  So, the assignment is somewhat different than making sure you faithfully adapt a novel.  

And, yet, Marvel figured this out.  

There has never been one authorial voice for Marvel comics - there's just been new writers and artists coming on and off working on the character.  Month-over-month, the only consistency a reader can expect is the mega-narrative of the Marvel U and that when they buy an issue, we can see how our hero responds to this month's crisis.  

In which case - all that really matters is character.   What are we coming for?  What do we expect Spider-Man to be like?  Or the Hulk?  or Captain America or Black Widow?  Think about the multi-movie sprawl of Rocket Raccoon.

What Marvel did:
  • Stick to the basics of the most common version of their key characters
  • Make sure those characters had origins and thus *motivations* that were supported by the motivation (and if we didn't get the origin - Hawkeye, Black Widow) we sure got lots of hints
  • The characters acted in accordance with those motivations
  • They didn't rewrite those characters to meet a particular vision or world view (that is not to say the characters did not display particular visions or world views)
But, with Marvel having amazing success for years with fairly faithful adaptations, WB sat down and said "nope.  We're not doing that."

Everything Can Be Dark Knight

The origins of the DCEU can be found in the smoking remains left after Dark Knight Rises.  Nolan was not going to come back for more, so, DC turned to David S. Goyer, who had worked with Nolan on the Dark Knight films, and had written some DC comics.  They also gave Nolan a bucket of money to say he was producing the movie (he did jack and shit except lend his name) and then turned to the very director of the very profitable 300 and Watchmen movies, Zack Snyder.  

What Snyder did on Watchmen is a whole other post

WB had a bizarre obsession with differentiating themselves from Marvel per what the characters brought to the world.  And, I think because of Nolan's faux-practical take on Batman, somewhere in the halls of Warner Bros., the execs settled on "our comic books with Kryptonians, Amazons, space cops with magical rings, plastic men, hawk people and shape shifting Martians bring gritty realism that Marvel cannot deliver."  It was a breathtaking position, especially when Marvel had always been the "grounded" stories and DC had been the 4-color-mythos.  Nonetheless, they wanted the public to see Superman's new movie in the vein of Dark Knight, and sold their premise as "what if Superman actually showed up?"

But the *problem* was - they didn't ask "what if Superman showed up?"  They asked "what if a super powered WMD in the form of a chisel-jawed guy who doesn't want to be here failed to show up until the entire planet was held hostage?"   And, my friends, those are two very different things.  

Again - character.  

You can put any jerk in blue tights with an "S" on the chest, but unless he behaves in any capacity remotely like Superman, I don't know who that guy is.  That the "realism" that DC and WB kept waving in press released really just boiled down to "what if Superman had been raised by helicopter parents?"  Hilarious.

Our Batman, who in every other version of that story became Batman so no one else would have to die, drove around Gotham shooting the place up with machineguns and performing extra-judicial murders.  Flash was no longer a good-hearted scientist, he was a jittery kid who mostly seemed like an anxious dork.   Aquaman went from a conflicted monarch who felt the weight of his crown to... Jason Momoa doing wheelies on a dirt bike.  It was only through Patty Jenkins not giving a shit what everyone else was doing that I think we got Wonder Woman.  

When WB jumped straight to Suicide Squad, which is a concept that only really works when you have a planet full of super beings running around already, it was pretty clear that WB was just scrambling around for "grim n' gritty".  That was "reality" and, therefore, "gritty" was going to be the brand.  Everyone and everything is Batman.

The first image of Jared Leto's Joker was released, it became clear what they were doing and who they were doing it for.  

when they don't have the shirt in your size at Hot Topic

It didn't help that Suicide Squad was plagued with post-production problems and stories of a chaotic production with Jared Leto making headlines for acting like a dumb dick.  But the final product was a meandering, boring mess of a film that relied entirely upon the charisma of Margot Robbie and Will Smith, whose performances were hamstrung by horrendous editing decisions and a story no one cared about.  If there's a good movie in there, and director David Ayer is adamant there is!, I didn't see it.

But, mostly, it was troubling that WB was greenlighting movies any comic nerd would tell you "no, this is like, ten years after the movies have been in production so we can meet all of these characters again after the heroes put them in jail.  That's the point."  It genuinely felt like no one at WB understood how comics work.  Or, you know, stories.

It seemed DC worried first about tone, then story, and then character.  

For some viewers, that worked.  We even had a name for them. 

But I suspect the inversion of the order of importance had an impact on what happened along the way.  It seems either breathtakingly arrogant or shockingly naive to have made movies about characters who are on lunchboxes, in cartoons, and who have had movies and TV shows, and think that no one will notice or care much if you want your personal stamp on it - and that stamp is antithetical to what people are expecting.  

But, yeah, it took like a dozen movies for Captain America and Iron Man to get into a fight. When it happened, it didn't start as a fight, either.  Iron Man didn't look at Captain America at the start of the movie and swear to destroy him.  It was a novel thing for the audience to see, and it meant something within the storyline.  

Batman vs. Superman tried to borrow from a comic that had impact because it relied on almost 50 years of these two characters being pals, and placed that fight as their meet-cute.  

It was a remarkably stupid decision, and I don't think it's a mistake we got two Suicide Squad and Shazam! movies but one Superman movie and zero Batman movies out of this franchise.  Funny how no one could think of what to do with two of the most written about characters in western literature.

"The movie is the movie" stops working when you don't know enough about the characters to get excited and have a drive to make a movie about them.  But "the shareholders must see a profit" works, too, I guess.  Until, you know, that doesn't work, either.

Box Office 

I don't want to dwell too much on box office, because it's something I'm aware of, but usually doesn't usually speak directly to the quality of anything.  But, companies are funny about profit.  

Disney owned the top 5 slots with gigantic numbers.  

1Captain America: Civil War$1,153,296,293$408,084,34935.4%$745,211,94464.6%
2Rogue One: A Star Wars Story$1,056,057,273$532,177,32450.4%$523,879,94949.6%
3Finding Dory$1,028,570,889$486,295,56147.3%$542,275,32852.7%
5The Jungle Book$966,550,600$364,001,12337.7%$602,549,47762.3%

Meanwhile, WB lived in slots 7.8 and 10, with DC occupying slots 7 and 10

7Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice$874,360,194$330,360,19437.8%$544,000,00062.2%
8Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them$816,037,575$234,037,57528.7%$582,000,00071.3%
10Suicide Squad$749,200,054$325,100,05443.4%$424,100,00056.6%

So, yeah, a Captain America sequel made $300 million more than their moonshot of a movie with Batman v Superman.   My personal opinion that they rushed it, and anyone could have told them this meeting/ face-off was at least two movies too soon if they understood how this shared-universe thing worked.  But WB was both playing catch-up and trying to make it look like Marvel was wrong.  Until Marvel was proven very right.

The next year, which seemed like it should have been the all-chips-on-the-table year with Justice League, instead saw underdog woman-starring Wonder Woman, which folks predicted would flop, making $200 million more than DC's Avengers analog.

That *has* to be confusing in the executive suite.

10Wonder Woman$822,963,408$412,563,40850.1%$410,400,00049.9%

14Justice League$661,324,295$229,024,29534.6%$432,300,00065.4%

You'll also want to note that a $661.3 million take is a smaller number of dollars than the $1.5 billion Avengers had made in 2012.  It was almost like bad word of mouth and hastily produced team-up movie starring people that hadn't really won anyone over yet, or seen before, was a bit of a miscalculation.

In 2018, when Aquaman surprised the hell out of me for making more than a billion dollars, WB was still left eating dust.  

1Avengers: Infinity War$2,048,359,754$678,815,48233.1%$1,369,544,27266.9%
2Black Panther$1,346,913,161$700,059,56652%$646,853,59548%
3Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom$1,308,467,944$417,719,76031.9%$890,748,18468.1%
4Incredibles 2$1,242,805,359$608,581,74449%$634,223,61551%

Now, I'm just an old country blogger, but I imagine WB would have liked to have done better in one of those years.  But the DC train had left the WB station.  A slate of movies had been dictated and would be made.

2019 would see $336 million for Shazam!, which was, oddly, considered a hit at the time.  But since 2023's Shazam 2 would earn $134 million, maybe it was a hit, relatively speaking.  

Anyway, box office was falling off, and was capped off by Black Adam, which DC had made for reasons everyone but Dwayne Johnson found mysterious, and earned $344 million instead of the billion dollars I think they were imagining.  Clearly Black Adam was an expensive movie, but it was also the most heavily advertised movie I can personally recall from the start of COVID to this very minute.  And I'm positive they believed it would do Aquaman numbers (over a billion in 2018), but I couldn't say why they thought that, exactly.  

Yes, The Rock has had big movies, but he's also had The Tooth Fairy.  

But the point is - when it came to the DCEU, people were staying home in droves.  

Look, the box office of the Marvel/ Nu Star Wars era was unprecedented for movies in general.  Billion dollar movies were a massive anomaly.  By what I think is a sane measure, the DC movies did pretty okay.  But they just weren't, mostly, as appealing to a wide audiences as the PG-13ish adventures of the Mighty Avengers who methodically introduced you to their characters and made you like them, and then added them into the stew (this approach has fallen off lately, and Marvel box office is reflecting the problem).

COVID certainly didn't help, so it seems pointless to point to Box Office for 2020-2022.  But DC seemed on a curve downward commercially while Marvel was enjoying the Scrooge McDuck like riches pouring their way.  

From the Outside

When Justice League tanked commercially, and was blasted critically, DC was publicly flailing.

Before Man of Steel was released, WB made it sound like Nolan and Goyer would run the show, then Nolan vanished from the scene even before the release of Man of Steel - probably a bad sign.  Then, tapping Snyder to guide things, when Watchmen was weirdly mediocre and didn't seem to understand the material it was based on, was... a choice.  But at the time, studios were very of the mind that if someone made, say, a movie about the Red Baron, then you hired them for a movie about WWII pilots on holiday because airplanes.  And war and stuff.  

In 2014, DC announced a slate of 11 movies, and that's when I really realized what it means to be back in a studio system mode where we're making new widgets that need to come out on a regular basis to make shareholders happy.  No longer would we be in development on movies while we worked out the best ideas and look, and sought talent in front of and behind the camera.  We were releasing Suicide Squad to meet Q3 demands even if we're releasing an unfinished, very bad film.  

I'm sure that methodology no impact on anything that followed.

Soon enough, WB seemed to become aware of the fact that not everyone loved the work of Zack Snyder, and decided each character would get a different visionary director to steer that character's ship.  Which probably made sense over salads in the WB board room.  But I suspect the bananas product of Wonder Woman: 1984 - which I was excited about til about ten minutes in - was maybe what made them realize DC did, in fact, have a problem.  

I won't go into how embarrassing anyone who had a pre-existing awareness of Kirby's Fourth World and it's massive impact on comics likely found Snyder's adaptation of the material.  But this section is about me looking at it from the outside, and I'll just mention it here.  But, yeah, it absolutely could and should have been what drew the League together, and this was maybe the worst possible mode of execution.  Fifteen demerits.

Post Justice League, Diane Nelson - who never seemed to understand DC, superheroes or the comics business - was shown the door.  But the bad blood went on for years.  Executives seemed to be having public and proxy battles.  And, in a movie I personally considered career suicide, Cyborg actor Ray Fisher went after the executives at WB who had diminished Cyborg's part in Justice League, and claims of racism were levied (those claims seemed ill-founded, and I'll let you sort it out on your own).  But, mostly, a frustrated young actor actually said the quiet part out loud, that Justice League was a mess and wasn't what was originally scripted or filmed.  And everyone on the film seemed to hate Joss Whedon, who was going through his own #MeToo coverage.

From the outside, it just seemed like a huge, expensive, rolling catastrophe.

I went and saw Shazam!, and it was... fine?   There were horror elements and dramatic elements that made no sense and made the most kid-friendly character at DC into a PG-13 character, while adding nothing to the movie.  In its way, it just felt as confused and edgelord-ish as everything else at DCEU since Man of Steel had Superman snapping necks.   

Birds of Prey was there to appeal to a wide audience and instead played to inside jokes even I didn't know anything about.  The movie seemed like a badly edited TV movie that happened to have a great last fifteen minutes.    And, y'all, I was rooting for that movie.  But like Suicide Squad, they spent over half the movie introducing characters instead of just getting the @#$% on with it.  And, of course, it had some edgelordy stuff, but I took it more in stride here.

The Suicide Squad seemed like a weird soft reboot of the concept of Suicide Squad, but competently done.  It understood the absolute bat-shit nature of the DCU when you start looking in the corners, and brought all of the weird bits to the screen while also telling an actual story that resonated a bit.

But it also more or less went straight to HBOMax during COVID.  

In the interim, The Joker (which I still have not seen) had come out to some critical acclaim and really good box office.  But was also very publicly not tied to the current continuity - which was the new MO from DC.  "Yeah, we're now giving up on continuity.  Unless we aren't.  Who is to say?" seemed the very confusing message.

To say I'd written off the DCEU by this point was an understatement.  But I was also running a podcast and blog that, in theory, cared about this stuff.  The only one of the movies I managed to skip without it becoming an issue was Shazam 2, which I kind of wanted to see just for Helen Mirren to vamp around in a cape.  But that's what premium cable was invented to deliver.  

So see the rest of this stuff, I did.

Black Adam was so fucking bad, it seemed incomprehensible anyone was excited to release it, and it mostly became an exercise in trying to understand why Hollywood is so enamored with Dwayne Johnson.  

And, of course, The Flash was just hysterical.   Like, that movie had *issues*.  And *could* have been the reset point for the DCEU - in fact, really wanted to be.  But first development and then a post-shoot release was delayed for what seemed years.  The star decided to go get arrested and make it clear he was going to be a burden.  And the script and FX were both...  wildly disappointing.  

Blue Beetle had a few good bits, but managed to have the flatest, dullest lead in a superhero movie that I can point to (I blame script and direction, not the actor).  And had some story issues that should have been caught before filming.

But, by 2018, we had something new in the mix.  Something that was not within the control of WB or DC that was out there putting a malodorous stench on everything DC tried to do.

DC Fans vs Nobody:  Dawn of Jerk-Offs 

I started to write a section on the phenomenon of the SnyderBros, but...  let's just say, this branch of "fandom" was exhausting for innumerable reasons, not least of which was their omnipresence online, which was toxic.  One could compare them to other popular online cults that also follow incompetent leadership, seeming to thrive on the negativity, coming and going.

WB seemed unsure what to do about the SnyderBros, because you don't tell paying customers to go away.  And certainly had to know they were driving other people away from their product.  

To say they were unpleasant is an understatemnt.  To say they seemed to uniformly have no critical thinking or evaluative skills or knowledge of movies, comics, human interaction or basic decency is to put it mildly.  And yet, there they were.  All day.  Every day.  Ready to hurl themselves at people not even talking to them.  Especially women.

It's important to understand how little anyone was talking to these people and how angry they got about things like box office numbers or people not agreeing that the three Snyder directed movies were like a deep dive into human psychology.

They lived online making sure "Restore the SnyderCut" was constantly trending.

During lockdown, we had to deal with about a year of them yammering when Zack Snyder - who claimed his version of Justice League was, like, totally 95% done and sitting on a server somewhere - was given the greenlight to edit and release his version.  Which was more like 80% done, needed reshoots, and wound up costing WB an estimated $70 million.  

dropping this totally unrelated Highlights for Children cartoon here

We'll never know what it wound up doing for HBOMax, but my guess is that after a good first weekend, viewership dropped off precipitously and no new subscriptions were had.  Ie:  It's possible WB managed to just flush an additional $70 million down the toilet, truly throwing good money after bad.  My guess is that, much like the Snakes on a Plane phenomenon, or even the ironic re-release of Morbius, the actual release of the film the internet seemed to clammer for turned out to be a bit of a dud.  

If any dream existed that this would somehow restore Snyder to the SnyderBros' desired position of King of DC, it didn't happen.  Which, I consider kind of a nice thing.  It had to have been a clarifying moment at the WB for shareholders and execs to see what placating "the fans" actually did.  And, likely the move indirectly led to our current state - with a little jog over to see if we should put The Rock in charge along the way.

But, mostly, we no longer had to live every day with this bag of wieners whining that WB wouldn't release their fucking movie.  Baby got his bottle and was, indeed, soothed.

No, I'll never watch the Snyder Cut.  My cut is the Whedon Cut.  Which is better in every way.

Make 'Em Laugh

Marvel's decision to cast Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, and make sure there were plenty of gags in the first film, was a pretty good idea.  It's arguable Marvel has leaned too far into this, but I relatively liked The Marvels and died at a few of the bits in the film, which was arguably more comedy than action.  

Out of the gate, DC went for "relentlessly dour with occasional joke-shaped moments".  And I don't think it's a mistake that Justice League - following Snyder's exit - saw The Flash pushed to fore as a sort of comedic everyman grappling with his extraordinary circumstances.  The addition of Jason Momoa and his larger-than-life dudebro Aquaman was also intended to get some chuckles.  But making a movie that's already been shot into an action-comedy is a difficult chore. 

Following Snyder's exit, it seemed a new mandate was had, and in rapid succession we got:

Aquaman, Shazam!, Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman 1984 - all of which leaned into the action adventure with big laughs formula.  And, with the one exception of Black Adam, we also got Flash - which was a mix of comedy and tragedy, Blue Beetle which did same, and Aquaman 2, which was basically a $250 million sitcom.

It is curious to see the last bits of the DCEU on film, which was Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom containing jokey references to Iron Man and Thor and including a closing, final shot of Orm eating a cockroach in a cheeseburger for a big laugh.  That's where we're at 16 movies in as WB closed the curtains on these movies.  Imaging this scene could include a slide whistle or sad trombone is about as far as one gets from the slow motion, Hans Zimmer drenched production of Man of Steel.  

That's it.  That's how the series went out.

Henry Cavill, who had been led to believe a new Man of Steel movie was coming, quit his lucrative Witcher gig.  He'll be fine, but it just went to show how messed up DC was in the last year that they brought him back and then said "whoops.  Sorry, no job for you, sir."  And I can only imagine how shitty those meetings went to tell him he'd struggled against movies he seemed to know weren't very good in the hopes he'd get to be in a good one - and then, be shown the door.

Gal Gadot was a good Wonder Woman (though no Lynda Carter), and I expect she'll be fine.  She has six movies listed as "upcoming" on IMDB.

Ben Affleck is... Ben Affleck.  He clearly wanted for this to work.  There were stories he was going to write and direct himself in Batman, but then...

Anyway, he's married to Jennifer Lopez, so I think he'll be okay.  I drag him because he is actually a decent actor and he's made good movies, but he's also the Bad Luck Ben of Hollywood.

Snyder had continued to throw fodder to his SnyderBros.  Much like someone else, he launched his own social media to try to corral his loyalists.  And with the WB relationship now on ice, he seems to be taking money from Netflix to make knock-offs of Star Wars and Seven Samurai knowing his fans will not know that's what he's up to and hail him a genius.

I don't wish him ill because he's now playing in his own sandbox.  Make that money, Zack Snyder. 

Onward and Up, Up and Away-ward?

So, that was that.  A very long, very public melt down of a company trying to make a little scratch with superheroes.  Which was something they've done well from time to time if I remember The Dark Knight correctly, but we also got Catwoman.  

I cannot imagine what life was like at Warner Bros. during those years.  I assume everyone not touching superhero movies was incredibly happy not to have that many eyes on them.  

One of the funny things about the actual comics that are made by DC is that the mega-narrative is more or less a reflection of what's happening at the company.  Sometimes they realize that what they're doing isn't working so well, and they reboot the whole kit-and-kaboodle.  

That's sort of where we are now.  James Gunn of Guardians of the Galaxy fame has been tapped to steer the creative side of a re-launched DC Comics-based movie universe.  There are reasons to be cheerful about what he's doing and saying, and I will cover those - eventually - in my Superman 2025 posts soon enough.  

But.  It's impossible to ignore that this is our third new Superman since 2006, just at the movies.  We've also had Smallville and Superman and Lois on the CW.  We've had massive disruption in the comics, with New 52, then Rebirth.  We've had some new animated takes, some of which were fine, and a current one that I think we all like in My Adventures With Superman.  We even had an animated DC Super Pets feature film, with Krypto and Superman.

And that's just Superman.  We've got a Batman I'm betting they'll want to bring in to the new continuity.  They've got these random Joker movies being made - a sequel with Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn is in post as we speak.  

As much as I want for the movies to come to be good, and fun, and maybe make the world a nicer place for a couple of hours, I want to feel like the weird, dark gloom that seemed to pervade both the early films of the DCEU and the non-stop cynicism and quarterly earnings reports that seemed to drive the movies is somehow rectified.

I don't expect the fans to get better.  I expect them to get worse.  

I don't know how many retries on something as specific as a "DC Comics based multi-character movie franchise" I get to see in this lifetime.  I would dearly love to see something that works, that *feels* like the comics do, and the best of the radio, cartoons, serials, movies and television shows.  That shows the commitment to quality and the characters in order to make this work.  

But mostly...  In 2025, when Superman hits, I wonder: who will be left to care?  

Can you beat "superhero fatigue", something we're all feeling (even me)?  If the world, who skipped Superman Returns and likely thinks of the Christopher Reeve movies as corny old stuff not to be watched seriously, really did follow Man of Steel and thinks *that* is Superman, does it matter if you try to fix it?

I genuinely don't know.  

*yeah, I didn't see Shazam 2, either


Stuart said...

I had honestly forgotten about the Birds of Prey movie and had to Google to see what I missed. I saw that movie at least twice, once at the theater! Literally the only thing I remember is Harley powering up with cocaine like Popeye on spinach.

The League said...

I would probably have mostly forgotten it, too, but it was the last thing Jamie and I saw before COVID hit. I remember a few bits from it, but all of them are "why are they *doing that*?"