Fixing the DCEU
Written By Austin Hall (@ADWAustin)
The DC Extended Universe, or DCEU, is nothing like the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and laughingly so. It’s so bad that even the dark side is offering unsolicited advice since DC movies, except for Wonder Woman, have been panned by critics as they try to adhere to an angry fanbase.
There’s nothing more pathetic than a company trying to be something it’s not. DC isn’t Marvel, and it shouldn’t be! If you put me in charge and gave me a sweet, Kevin Feige-style DCEU hat, I just might save it. I may not be the hero they deserve, but I’m certainly the one they need.https://www.youtube.com/embed/jAj20UOc3DE?feature=oembed
In a nutshell, this is what I’d do:
Make Every DCEU Movie Non-Canon Except Wonder Woman
This may seem drastic, but it’s not totally unheard of. The entire Star Wars Expanded Universe is no longer canon. Now, no one has ever done that for live action universes, but unlike Star Wars fans, I doubt many people will have an issue. Justice League, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and even Oscar Award winner Suicide Squad didn’t have the greatest Rotten Tomatoes audience scores in the world after all.
Fire Zack Snyder
Personally, I really liked Watchmen, Snyder’s first foray into DC live-action movies, but not every movie should have the same color palette as that one. It was dark and gritty, because the world they were portraying, an ’80s Cold War with Nixon as a dictator-esque president, was just that.
This doesn’t work for all superheroes, and certainly not for Superman. Superman is bright and happy, an All-American boy who does his best work in the bright daylight. Let him fly in the brightest sky there is, another reason why Man of Steel would no longer be canon.
Put Patty Jenkins in Charge
She’s the only director to make a good DC movie since Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, so she proved that she knows what a DC blockbuster looks like.
Wonder Woman, unlike Justice League, didn’t have a corny villain or a long, confusing plot, like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Frankly, it was all the things DC movies need to be: colorful and bright at one point, and dark in another; characters that are fully fleshed out, making choices that fit their personality; genuine funny moments, and awesome combat scenes. This is what makes a good superhero movie, and Jenkins showed it’s possible using DC characters.
Give her a Feige-type role, and she’ll be able to bring the DCEU into a whole new light. Just make sure not to desaturate the colors like Snyder did.
Idris Elba is Batman, Armie Hammer is Superman
Elba has played anti-hero characters before, so he’s perfect for the role. On Luther, he plays a detective with all kinds of destructive personal issues, which is basically Batman, only Batman works outside the law. Hammer, on the other hand, can play the charming, All-American boy we’re talking about, even when he’s not acting. He’s also quite an imposing figure when he needs to be-just like Superman! In The Social Network, for instance, part of what made him stand out from Jesse Eisenberg’s character, Mark Zuckerberg, was that Hammer was so much taller. In every scene he was in, he commanded your attention.
The key to any DC Universe is how Superman and Batman play together, and the Elba-Hammer chemistry would be a great contrast.
The Justice League (JL) is The Flash, Wonder Woman (WW), Aquaman, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern (GL), Hawkgirl
This way, we have more female roles and it more closely resembles the DC animated universe, or DCAU, and that worked pretty well. Enough with the boys club!
The casting would be something like this:
WW: Gal Gadot
Aquaman: Jason Momoa. The casting was perfect. Keep it.
The Flash: Ezra Miller. Same here.
GL: Dennis Haysbert. He played a GL in the DCAU as Kilowog, and he can bring that same, easy going attitude to this role. I’d love to see him get between Superman and Batman and tell them to chill out.
Hawkgirl: Gina Torres. She played a badass in Firefly and Suits, so she can do it again here. Sign me up.
Each Movie Sees WW Going After Various Heroes, Leading to JL
Let’s be honest, the Batman with Ben Affleck bringing the league together, albeit with WW, seemed forced, and it was mostly because of Batman’s demeanor.
Of anyone, WW is most likely to want to create a league of warriors to fight injustice. It never made sense with Batfleck, who was a brooding, Superman-hater until he realized their mothers had the same name.
This works for two reasons: 1) it’s different than Marvel, which is something that DCEU needs to be, and 2) it creates a more plausible JL set up than the one they threw together haphazardly.
WW is much more virtuous and has been looking for heroes to fight beside her since the first movie, and her role will help us learn what kind of heroes each one is before the JL movie, setting up a much more impactful summer blockbuster.
Either you have WW as the main character in each movie trying to find the hero and convince them to join, or, have her in the end credits of each character’s movie, making the hero an offer. I prefer the latter, for a new take on team-ups.
Here’s the deal: DC needs to be its own thing, not a poor imitation of something better. With these changes, they will be what they were born to be, and feel like a totally different universe in the process.
Now is the perfect time too: even though Avengers: Infinity War got a lot of buzz, some of their lesser known movies have become a bit formulaic: a joke here, then an action scene and so on. Take risks, make your stories, and the rest will fall into place.
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