Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What's Up With The DC Cinematic Universe ?

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So what's up everyone? I think it's high time I finally chimed in on this topic. People have been cast, titles have been announced, release dates have been set, plans have been made, The DC Cinematic Universe is finally crawling from development hell and into reality. However, instead of hearing the elation of fans, we've been seen a collective raising of eyebrows and scratching of heads. But why? How did Marvel manage to sweep the floor from underneath DC's feet and get a handle on the movie business when DC/Warner Bros. were the 1st on the scene to make comic book movies a thing (with "Superman" coming out in 1978). How has DC fallen so hard since then and what is Marvel doing right that DC isn't. Well, hopefully in this article, I'll be able to explain all of this and more;

Well for starters, let's think back, let's go ALL the way back to 2008 (8 years ago) to "Iron Man", the first film. The post credit scene featured Nick Fury visiting Tony Stark and telling him about "The Avengers Initiative" and also told him he "wasn't the only superhero in the world". That brief exchange of dialogue at the tail end of a movie established an end game and laid the foundation that every other Marvel movie since then has built on. Marvel has built upon that foundation until we've finally reached that end game with "Avengers". But that wasn't it, "Avengers" followed suit and at the end of "Avengers" we saw the next Phase of The Marvel Cinematic Universe;

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Thanos The Mad Titan

These post credit scenes (with the exception of "Iron Man 3") always called to something bigger. It gave movie audiences an idea about where the story was going and what kind of pay-off is to be expected in the next film. Marvel has laid down their entire plan from now till 2019. Marvel can do this because the entire series is flowing in the logical direction. While we're currently in Phase Two, The Marvel Cinematic Universe has opened up the universe of Marvel with the introduction of the "Guardians Of The Galaxy", they're introduced the Infinity Stones and elaborated on them. We did get a glimpse of a much larger universe with "Thor" but "Thor" is much more fantasy than sci-fi. Those story elements introduced in "Guardians Of The Galaxy" will re-appear in "Avengers: Infinity War" (which is what The Marvel Cinematic Universe is building to as it's conclusion). Look at the line up!

PHASE TWO
Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Ant-Man

PHASE THREE
Captain America: Civil War
Doctor Strange
Guardians Of The Galaxy 2
Thor: Ragnarok
Black Panther
Avengers: Infinity War Pt. 1
Captain Marvel
Inhumans
Avengers: Infinity War Pt. 2

As you can see, The Marvel Cinematic Universe is building on it's self as it goes along, introducing different story elements, with "Doctor Strange" they're going to introduce magic and possibly Adam Warlock (and possibly The Infinity Watch, hell, we got 2 members already), and they're expanding the cosmic fantasy with "Captain Marvel" and "Inhumans". All of these movies and characters will build to the final confrontation with Thanos and the final "Avengers" movie. We can see the logical progression of these stories.

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But I said we'd be talking about DC/Warner Bros. and now is that time. As we can see with Marvel, they have a very HUGE endgame planned out and a very logical way to build to it. Let's take a look at The DC Cinematic Universe;

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice
Suicide Squad
Wonder Woman
Justice League Pt. 1
The Flash
Aquaman
Shazam
Justice League Pt. 2
Cyborg
Green Lantern

Right away, there are some issues. First of all, why is there a Suicide Squad movie ? "Guardians Of The Galaxy" was a calculated risk for Marvel Studios because they needed a vehicle to introduce the massive sci-fi side of the Marvel Universe, through casting and a light tone, a great soundtrack, Marvel was able to pull a miracle and make a talking Racoon with a gun a house hold name. The "Suicide Squad" on the other hand, are a group of villains who the government, namely Checkmate, hire to work covert special ops that can't be linked to the government in any way, for reduced or no prison time. While the idea is cool, it's unnecessary and ESPECIALLY for it to be released BEFORE a Wonder Woman movie?!

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What she said.

So after "Suicide Squad" and "Wonder Woman", we're getting "Justice League Pt. 1". Not entirely sure who will be the main villain for that movie, will it be The Suicide Squad, will it be Lex Luthor, that's definitely a possibility. And "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice" will already feature Victor Stone a.k.a Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), so these characters will already be in play by the time we arrive at "Justice League Pt. 1", which seems kind of rushed that these characters won't have their own movie until afterwards, but I digress. After that we'll get "The Flash", I won't get into the issue of there being an already successful "Flash" TV series on The CW right now and having two live action versions of the same character won't end well for one of those...and more than likely the movie will suffer (look at "Smallville" & "Superman Returns").

Next we have "Aquaman" and while I love Aquaman and while not exactly keen on the casting of Jason Momoa (I'd have probably gone with Armie Hammer, he has the look). I'd say Jason has his work cut out for him trying to introduce Aquaman to the general public. Aquaman is one of the most unfairly lampooned characters in DC history. Introducing him in "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice" is the smart way to go, but really how much of him are we gonna see? After that we have "Shazam" (the REAL Captain Marvel) and as much as I hate to admit it, he is basically magic Superman. DC/Warners Bros. has done an EXCELLENT job as casting The Rock as Black Adam.

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ALL OF MY "YES!"

But again "Shazam" is a C-List character and DC/Warner Bros, have their work cut out for them introducing him to the general public. This leads me to believe that they might introduce him in "Justice League Pt. 1" just to get the public acclimated to him, like they'll do with Wonder Woman, Cyborg & Aquaman in "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice". Anyways, after "Shazam" we'll get "Justice League Pt. 2" which isn't the grand finale of The DC Cinematic Universe. Marvel is ending their Cinematic Universe with a HUGE Grand Finale centering around the baddest of the bad, Thanos, and DC is ending their Cinematic Universe with...Green Lantern?

This isn't a slight on Green Lantern, I love Green Lantern (Guy Gardener, that is), but this leads me to believe that the main villain of "Justice League Pt. 2" won't be Darkseid and the reason I say that is because in none of the proceeding movies are they opening the door to introduce The New Gods. I am NOT saying they should have a New Gods stand alone movie, of course not! However, since they're going for The New 52 Wonder Woman, they might introduce Orion there, but again, I doubt it. If I were planning this, I'd have the Green Lantern movie BEFORE "Justice League Pt. 2" and have Orion show up there. After all Green Lantern is an sci-fi/fantasy character and introducing a New God there would be the perfect vehicle for that. But that's just me.

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I just really want a bad ass live action Darkseid.

After we get "Justice League Pt. 2" DC is following up with Cyborg & Green Lantern. I love Cyborg and I love Green Lantern, but we just had a Justice League movie! Anything after that isn't gonna compare, also if Green Lantern & Cyborg are going to appear in "Justice League Pt.2" and Cyborg might appear in "Justice League Pt. 1", he's already present in "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice",  why is taking this long for Cyborg to get his own movie, especially after the 2nd Justice League movie. Cyborg should've come immediately after Wonder Woman, and there shouldn't a Suicide Squad movie at all. Had I constructed The DC Cinematic Universe, it'd be like this;

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice
Wonder Woman
Cyborg
Justice League Pt. 1
The Flash
Aquaman
Shazam
Green Lantern
Justice League Pt. 2

Doesn't that make much more sense? Since Wonder Woman and Cyborg are introduced in "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice" they're the first two character who get solo movies, since we're already familiar with them. Then, in "Justice League Pt. 1" we introduce The Flash and Shazam and after that they get their own movie. Finally we conclude with Green Lantern's solo film and introduce Orion to set up Darkseid for "Justice League Pt. 2". That way you can see a logical progression from character to character and the universe is building, the last two chapters of The DC Cinematic Universe would introduce magic through "Shazam" & sci-fi/fantasy with "Green Lantern", thus having those two worlds collide in "Justice League Pt. 2". But that's not what DC's going to do.

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But DC might not do any of this. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm 98% sure DC/Warner Bros. is going to go ahead with the entire DC Cinematic Universe BUT the other 2% suspects that DC/Warner Bros. is cautiously waiting for "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice" to truly give the green light  to the DC Cinematic Universe. Why do I think this? It's simple, Batman and Superman are two of the biggest and most well known household superhero names, if "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice" doesn't make a Billion dollars (bare in mind that "Avengers" made $ 1.518 Billion on a budget of $ 220 Million) then DC/Warner Bros. should just hang it up. The embarrassment would be too great. Because if they can't break a Billion dollars with two of the biggest cash cows in comic book history, then they just aren't...ever.

So I think DC/Warner Bros. is putting Wonder Woman, Cyborg and Aquaman in "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice" because they're seeing how people respond to these characters BEFORE they actually go all in, and while it's good for them to show that they have plans, they're still just plans and aren't etched in stone, yet. Nothing is final until the cameras start rolling. Anyway, DC/Warner Bros. has some MAJOR pressure on them and yet everyone is focused on Marvel. Mostly because Marvel actually looks like they have a solid game plan and a promised endgame that's guaranteed to be HUGE. They've made all the right moves and DC/Warner Bros. is scrambling to catch up. I'm hoping they do, I'm really rooting for them, but my hopes aren't high. I'm hoping "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice" will do good, but sadly, I'm not banking on it. I'll catch you guys later. Let me know what you think.

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