31st Aug2017

Culture Dump #6: Can we all just admit the DCU Movieverse is totally winging it?

by Phil Wheat

joker-dcu

Superhero movies. We’ll have to find a way to live with them because there’s absolutely no chance we’re ever going to live without them. Remember simpler times where death and taxes were the only guarantees in life? Well now spandex clad heroes with dodgy backstories have joined the ranks of things we’ll never be able to escape. At this rate, the most audiences can hope for is to have their time and money rewarded with compelling stories driven by well thought out narrative arcs. That’s why it was a little disheartening (if not entirely surprising) to learn that DC and Warner Bros are planning a stand-alone origin story for the Joker.

First off, we know what you’re thinking: Jared Leto probably is youthful enough to play a younger version of himself. You’re right but it doesn’t matter. In fact, very little matters with this one. DC and Warner Bros’ Joker movie aims to kick start a whole new storytelling offshoot aimed at expanding DC properties with different actors playing iconic characters that have already been cast in other DC movies. So is it linked to Justice League? No. Suicide Squad? Naa. What about Affleck’s stand-alone Batman movie? Nope. The only assumption you’d be correct in having is that the cinematic DC universe is totally winging it and has been for some time.

In contrast, its cinematic rival Marvel is like the kid in high-school that’s revised all year and is ready to reap the rewards, with their upcoming Infinity War double-punch poised to tie up loose ends and make good on all of the promises peppered throughout their twenty film, three phase arc. As a result it’s been a fruitful experience for fans and studio execs alike, with Guardians of the Galaxy 3 set to keep both parties smiling for at least another decade.

DC on the other hand has been doing some frantic last minute cramming. Their haphazard game of catch-up has seen the studio fast-track its own answer to The Avengers, with a two-part Justice League film just a few months off despite three of its brooding heroes lacking stand alone films. It rubbed its core audience the wrong way with a neck-snapping Superman and a gun-toting Batman and raised the eyebrows of movie critics everywhere with features plagued by dreaded reshoots. The only gem in the DC crown so far is Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, a film that flourished by taking a back-seat from bigger-picture storytelling.

Perhaps that’s the key to getting the DCU back on track. Good things come to those who wait and their die-hard demographic would likely respect them all the more for taking the time out to do a bit of concrete future planning. Do this and who knows? In a few years Marvel could finally have a worthy adversary. After all, if superhero-led studios are determined to slog it out on screen for the foreseeable future, let’s make it a battle worth watching.

Do you think DC has a game plan? Let me know in the comments section below!

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