The lights are on
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If you’re reading this blog, chances are, you know who DC Comics is. They’re the owners of Superman, Wonder Woman, the Green Lantern, The Flash, and, of course, Batman. They’re gods of entertainment, with god-like characters. They’ve made huge, record breaking, legendary blockbusters, tons of amazing cartoons, and obviously, comics that fans both young and old can enjoy. There’s only one problem with them. They don’t understand what makes them cool, and I’m going to tell you why.
FULL DISCLOSURE: This will be a very opinion based blogged, based on weeks of conversations and thoughts of my own. These may not be my opinions alone, but they are certainly not the truth. They are only the ramblings of a frustrated fanboy. I’m not meaning to insult or make anyone angry with this blog, and you are entitled to your own opinion. Feel free to argue with me in the comments below! I’m also just going to focus on movies and television shows in this blog, as I have trouble keeping up with comics, and would not be able to fairly talk about them. Now, let’s get started.
Let’s start with the start of most of my problems, and a rather large elephant in the room: Man Of Steel. Personally, I more-or-less hate that movie with a passion. I think it does some good things, great things even, and it could have even been retroactively perfected by a sequel, but we’re not getting one anytime soon (and we’ll talk about that in a little bit.) I have no problem with anyone who enjoys Man of Steel; more power to you if you do, I just don’t. I have a few problems with the film, but my biggest one is pretty simple: It’s just more Batman.
I love me some Batman, of course. Any sane person does. The Dark Knight, in my opinion, is the best superhero film of all time. But Batman is not Superman. DC doesn’t seem to realize this, though. They assume that, since people like The Dark Knight, that these people like Batman. And, since they like Batman, they must therefore want to see other things like Batman. It just makes sense to turn Superman into Batman, right? No. It doesn’t. That’s stupid. Too bad that’s what DC is doing anyways!
You see, tonally, I believe Man Of Steel is just trying to capture what the Nolan Batman trilogy did. Which, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? They’re hitting similar story beats, they’ve got a lot of the same people who worked on The Dark Knight, and even the heroes the movies are named after are very much alike! This is what people want, right? No. Or, perhaps, that could be what some people want, but not everyone wants that. But why? Why would people want to see that tone with one superhero, but not another? That’s because Superman is not Batman. Batman’s dark and brooding character requires the world around him to be just as dark and brooding, so nothing stands out. But Superman, he needs to pop out a little more than Batman. Batman wants to strike fear into criminals’ hearts; he wants to hide until the time to strike is nigh, when he can be in and out of a fight within seconds; all while letting his enemies know that he isn’t messing around. Superman wants to be a little more than that. He wants to protect people, as Batman does, but he wants them to know it was Superman that saved him. He wants people to look up to him; see him flying in the sky, and have a little bit of hope in their hearts that, no matter what happens, they’ll always be protected by the Man Of Tomorrow.
According to a trusted friend of mine, and a huge DC fan, they’re even trying to turn Green Arrow in Batman, with The Arrow on the CW. I’ve not watched this show, so I can’t say much about it, but the fact that “Batman” even crosses his mind while watching a show about the Green Arrow seems like a failure on DC’s part to me. We get it, DC. Batman sells. But do you know what else sells? Take a wild guess.
That’s right, Marvel. You all knew this comparison was coming.
In my opinion, Marvel is doing everything right that DC is doing wrong. And it all started with Iron Man. With Iron Man, Marvel had a plan. They were going to make people care about individual superheroes, and then they were going to put them all together in one huge, monumental movie. The Avengers. But they started small, and worked their way up. They did this without even owning the rights to Spider-Man, one of their most easily recognizable superheroes. Heck, according to box office numbers, people even care about The Avengers more than Spider-Man now! That’s because, while DC is just trying to give people what they want, Marvel is telling people what they want. Need proof? Look at Guardians of the Galaxy.
Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I had never even heard of the Guardians until a little while ago, nor had anyone I regularly talked to. But once the first trailer for the Guardians of the Galaxy movie came out, everyone was excited. Everyone wanted to see the movie; interest in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise skyrocketed, due to a very important reason: Marvel is not afraid to show off their superheroes. As I said above, they aren’t afraid to tell people what they want, instead of just giving people what they think they want. But, I’m getting a little off topic.
You wanna know something that really frustrates me?Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice.
Even thinking about this movie, and the things surrounding it, just sends my brain into a neverending spiral of disappointment and a little anger. And there are two reasons why.
1: It’s too damn crowded. Ignoring the characters from Man Of Steel, Batman v. Superman will have a confirmed five brand new, very important characters (Batman, Alfred, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Lex Luthor) being added into the Man of Steel universe, and a rumored sixth with Aquaman. They’ll have to introduce these characters, explain their origins and motivations, and give them relationships in under three hours. This would be possible if they movie was just about
the characters’ individual stories, but I highly doubt that’ll happen. So that means we’ll have to have an ongoing story with each character, while still introducing them and their origins. In under. Three. Hours. Starting to see the problem here?
It just feels like DC wants the money that The Avengers made, without having to go through the effort of setting it up properly. Except, the fact that it was set up properly was what made everyone like Avengers that much more! The praise for The Avengers wasn’t just for the novelty of superheroes getting together on the big screen; it was for the idea of these heroes being set up in their own movies before coming together. It actually felt like a huge crossover event four years in the making, instead of just another superhero movie. DC, on the other hand, is just throwing all of their cards on the table, and I have no idea where they’re going to go from there.
The second thing that really makes me mad about Batman v. Superman is very simple. Take a look at the movie’s title. In this sequel to Man Of Steel, a Superman movie, whose name comes first? Batman. Freaking Batman. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in DC’s eyes. The saviour. It makes it seem like DC has absolutely no faith in Superman, or any of their other heroes. They have to fall back on Batman to make money; but they’ll still keep David Goyer (and we’ll get to him in a little bit) and Zach Snyder, because it clearly wasn’t their fault people didn’t enjoy Man of Steel. It was the obvious lack of Batman. Right? *Sigh*.
I hope I’m not coming off as a huge Marvel fanboy with this. In all honesty, I do prefer Marvel; I grew up with Spider-Man and Hulk, and I just prefer their world a bit more than DC’s. But that’s not to say I don’t see pros and cons in each. How about we be positive on DC for a minute? Let’s just take a look at their cartoons. I’m going to list off all of my favorite superhero cartoons from each publisher, and I think you’ll see a pretty big difference right away.
DC: Batman The Animated Series, Teen Titans, Superman The Animated Series, Teen Titans Go!, Static Shock, and Batman Beyond.
Marvel: Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man.
Yeah. I have no idea why it’s such a huge difference, but DC completely kills Marvel when it comes to cartoons. I didn’t even mention great shows like Young Justice, since I haven’t personally seen that. But it’s obvious that they have the potential to be monumentally better than Marvel, they just don’t reach it for whatever reason.
Okay, let’s get back to hating DC.
Do you know who Martian Manhunter is? Get a life, nerd.
That’s what David Goyer thinks of you, at least. You know who David Goyer is? He’s the Joss Whedon of DC’s movies. He’s the head writer, and he’s probably in charge of a lot of the story decisions, along with Mr. Zach Snyder. He supports incest!
It’s really sad how DC relies on Goyer, honestly, since they could literally have their own Joss Whedon in a heartbeat. Heck, he could possibly be better than Joss Whedon. His name is Kevin Smith. You may recognize him from Mallrats, Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma, or Jersey Girl. He’s funny, he’s charming, and he loves DC. I have no idea why DC didn’t snatch him up immediately to run their Justice League series. It probably has something to do David Goyer helping write The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, and as I said earlier, IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT, RIGHT?!
Speaking of Kevin Smith, here’s a palette cleanser for you: Kevin Smith talking about his wacky adventures when writing Superman Lives, the Tum Burton Superman movie.
Moving on, let’s take a look at, what I believe, is the most damning evidence that DC is doing something completely wrong.
I asked my friends on Facebook and Twitter who they prefer, DC or Marvel. In my original plan, I was going to ask which company they liked more in general, including movies, comics, and TV shows. Afterwards, I’d ask whose movies they preferred. But the second question was unnecessary, it turns out. “POLL TIME! Which do you prefer: Marvel, or DC? This includes everything, from their comics to their movies,” was my exact question, and out of 28 responses, 3 said they preferred DC. Three. Three. Something is very seriously wrong there. A question like that usually has evenly distributed answers, and it would possibly cause some arguments. But for a long time after I asked the question, Marvel was the unanimous answer. Obviously, this was just a small group of people whose views most likely don’t represent an actual ‘scientific’ study, but it’s still a bit of a surprise to me.
Now, I’ve written nearly 2,000 words about why DC has frustrated me, but I haven’t said a single word about how they could fix themselves. I’m not a businessman, a producer, or any other type of bigwig in the movie industry. I’ve never written a movie, I’ve never directed anything in my life, and I don’t even know how acting works, honestly. But I do know one thing: I want to see DC be just as good, if not better, than Marvel. Here’s how I personally believe they can take a step in the right direction.
First off, they need to scrap Batman v. Superman. At least, scrap what they currently have. It can still be a follow-up to Man of Steel, it can still feature both Batman and Superman, and you can even have Lex Luthor in there, but that’s it. Leave them to their own movie. Meanwhile, give Wonder Woman her own movie directly afterwards. Same with Cyborg and Green Lantern; maybe even Aquman. But those are heroes that people need to learn about, since they’ve either never been in a theatrical movie, or have barely been in one. Maybe set up some other heroes or villains in the meantime, or give Superman and Batman their own movies. These different movies should all be overseen by a single, organized, talented person. Perhaps Kevin Smith, as I mentioned before, or even someone completely new to the industry. Just have a single mind overseeing everything. And get rid of that jackass Goyer. But that should all take about four or five years. Then, hit everyone with your Avengers: the Justice League movie. Have awesome, well characterized heroes face off against heavyweight villains like Darkseid or Doomsday. They can make it an event; an even bigger than The Avengers, and let people know that DC is not to be underestimated.
Or, they can just keep doing what they’re doing and possibly run their entire movie franchise into the ground.
And who knows, maybe history will repeat itself. DC’s movies tend to be amazing in surges. First there was Richard Donner’s Superman, then there was Tim Burton’s Batman, and then there was The Dark Knight. Maybe we’ll see a new, mind-blowing, industry chaning DC movie in 2026. Maybe they’ll even surprise us with Batman v. Superman and the Justice League movie. Maybe those movies will be incredible! Only time will tell. Until then, all we can do is look up to the skies, and hope.