The DC Extended Universe is set to explode into life this year with the double release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.
After a fairly underwhelming start in 2013 with Man of Steel, the franchise has since been fairly troubled by fan backlash at some of the castings – Ben Affleck as Batman, for example – and expectations aren’t exactly high.
Its main obstacle, however, comes in the form of Marvel. The movies starring Marvel characters that being put out by Marvel Studios and Fox are, frankly, putting DC to shame – and it’s going to take a series of miracles for the DCEU to rival Marvel and gain the same level of success as their movies.
Here are ten miracles the DCEU needs to be a resounding success…
It’s Not Actually As Rushed As It Seems
A seemingly evident problem in the upcoming DCEU films is that they all seem somewhat rushed. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in particular, is introducing a plethora of new characters in what seems like frenzied fashion.
Batman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, Aquaman, Cyborg, Flash, Doomsday, Alfred Pennyworth and Mercy Graves (and even, potentially, Darkseid) are just some of the new characters that will be making appearances – and with Suicide Squad introducing an army of new characters in the same year, it seems like Warner Brothers are cramming things too quickly.
The first Justice League movie is next year – at which point only two of the characters in the titular team will have received origin movies. If these movies can somehow come across as well-paced instead of horrifically rushed, the franchise might have a chance.
Batman V Superman Outperforms Civil War
The release date of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was changed from May to March of 2016 – clearly because Warner Brothers don’t want to have the movie going head-to-head with a Marvel Cinematic Universe offering.
With that in mind, the pressure is now on Batman v Superman to perform well without any direct competition – and, with that in mind, it really needs to outperform (or at least perform as well) as the Marvel Studios movie.
It doesn’t even matter if the movie makes a profit. The fact is that, if a comic book movie that isn’t an MCU or Fox movie doesn’t perform extraordinarily, the franchise in question tends to get scrapped. Just look at the Amazing Spider-Man franchise. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 raked in $709 million. It made a profit of more than $450 million on its budget and was the ninth highest-grossing movie of 2014 – and yet it was still deemed a failure.
That Version Of Doomsday Isn’t Received As Laughable
A recent trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice revealed that Doomsday will be appearing in the movie. This was big news. Some people saw it as too early for such a major villain to be appearing, but that’s not the point here – the point is that some people also saw his appearance as laughable.
He has been compared to one of Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in terms of his appearance – and that’s not a good thing at all.
If Warner Brothers and the DCEU mess up one of DC Comics’ most iconic villains this early in the franchise, the whole thing could be doomed. Early indications aren’t great, but this version of Doomsday absolutely needs to impress audiences in order for the movie – and indeed the entire franchise – to be a success.
Ben Affleck’s Batman Is Universally Liked
The casting of Ben Affleck as Batman in the DCEU was probably the most controversial casting in comic book movie history. The fan response to the casting was almost universally negative – with some staunch Batman fans categorically stating that they would boycott the DCEU as long as he was in the role.
In fact, a petition was launched that attracted hundreds of thousands of signatures to have Affleck removed from the role – which, of course, didn’t end up working.
Trailers, footage and photographs from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice have appeased some fans’ opinions of the casting, but many will be impossible to sway. If Batman doesn’t impress fans, the franchise could be doomed, as he’s one of its star characters.
Suicide Squad Become The New Guardians Of The Galaxy
When Warner Brothers announced that Suicide Squad would be the third movie released in the DCEU franchise, eyebrows were raised. Not only are the group relatively obscure in mainstream terms, they’re also villains – and with so many great (and famous) heroes in the DC comic book universe, why risk a movie based on them?
However, trailers, footage and photographs that have been made public have made fans more convinced that it could be great – and it needs to be in order for the franchise as a whole not to take a massive hit.
It won’t be the first movie about a group of misfits from a comic – look at Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy. And Warner Brothers need this movie to be just as successful as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s space epic.
Jared Leto’s Joker Isn’t Laughed Off The Screen
Following the past theatrical performances of Jack Nicholson and, more recently, the late Heath Ledger – who, of course, won a posthumous Academy Award for his performance – as the Joker, the role was always going to be tough for any actor to take on in the future.
Step forward Jared Leto. The Dallas Buyers Club actor will take on the role in Suicide Squad and beyond in the DCEU – but it’s really hard to gauge just how he will perform.
His look is certainly extreme and very different to previous incarnations – but “different” neither necessarily means “good” or “bad” – and we’ve only seen snippets of his performance. Hopefully, he won’t be awful, because a poor Joker would ruin the DCEU completely.
Justice League At Least Rivals The Avengers Movies
The big pay-off of the relatively little build-up of early movies in the DCEU will be the first Justice League movie in 2017 (the second part will come two years later).
It will see the coming together of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman and, potentially, a Green Lantern or two and Shazam (and, potentially, some other surprise inclusions). It’s essentially Warner Brothers’ attempt to rival Marvel Studios’ hugely successful Avengers movies.
The problem is, that’s one hell of a success story to live up to. The two Avengers movies are the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s highest-grossing installments – pulling in a total of just shy of $3 million. If the Justice League movies fail to rival those figures, Warner Brothers may as well just give up.
There’s Actually Some Interest In The Likes Of Cyborg & Aquaman
In addition to Suicide Squad (which, admittedly, looks fantastic), Warner Brothers and DC have announced some other very risky movies in their schedule leading up to 2020.
2018’s Aquaman and 2020’s Cyborg look like potential failures, due to the lead character’s lacking popularity, while the likes of 2018’s The Flash could be deemed too boring a concept to base a solo movie on, 2017’s Wonder Woman will test the waters on a female lead and 2020’s Green Lantern Corps could suffer from the reputation Green Lantern movies have, thanks to the awful Ryan Reynolds-led 2011 offering.
Essentially, there are a number of upcoming projects in the DCEU that simply might not generate enough interesting. Obviously, that will be detrimental to their financial success if it turns out to be the case, and the franchise will end up failing. They all need to succeed.
Green Lantern Proves To Be Adaptable
Given the colossal failure that was 2011’s Green Lantern movie – it made a measly $19.9 million profit from its $200 million budget and was critically panned – it’s something of a surprise to see that a Green Lantern Corps movie has been announced for 2020 in the DCEU.
If there’s one thing the awful Ryan Reynolds offering proved, it’s that the Green Lantern concept is difficult to adapt in live action – so, in a franchise that really MUST succeed to save DC’s reputation as far as movies are concerned, making another one really is a risk.
Thankfully, it’s four years away, and the DCEU can start afresh with some new material before its release – if the franchise is even still going by then. If it is, the Green Lantern movie must do well.
Some Marvel Movies Flop
The reality of the potential success of the DCEU is that it’s not all in DC and Warner Brothers’ hands. If Marvel’s movies continue to be of a high standard and rake in the money, DC will continue to remain in their shadows as fair as movies are concerned.
In order for DC to even dream of catching up with Marvel on the movie scene, Marvel Studios really need to drop the ball on a couple of occasions to prove they aren’t invincible. This will give DC a chance to make up some ground.
The people behind the DCEU will have eyes on the likes of Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel and Inhumans in the hope that they flop – although it seems unlikely to happen – then they can potentially take advantage.
What do you think? Can the DC Extended Universe succeed against the odds? Will any of the listed potential issues stand in its way? Have your say below!