Warner Bros. is in trouble. Their DC Extended Universe fails to grasp the levels of praise and financial success that Marvel Studios has with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With AQUAMAN being their only DCEU film this year, Waner Bros. has time to reflect and make some decisions about the DCEU’s future.

Will they continue it, reboot it, or hack it? Let’s look at the pros and cons of each option and what they would entail.

The DCEU As It Stands Currently

The DC Extended Universe begins with Zach Snyder’s MAN OF STEEL. MAN OF STEEL (2013) portrays a more dark and serious light to Superman. Much controversy arose towards this depiction, where massive collateral damage and the killing of General Zod was the end result of Superman’s actions.

The second film in the DCEU is BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (2016). A sequel to MAN OF STEEL, this film was just as controversial if not more so, due to its confusing plot, overly dark tone, and too many elements crammed into not enough time. The film serves as a complicated and confusing prequel to JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017). Fans and critiques alike lament DAWN OF JUSTICE and liken it to a train wreck.

WONDER WOMAN: Does It Deserve An Oscar Nomination?

The third film, SUICIDE SQUAD (2016), continues the trend of being just as bad if not worse than its predecessors. Containing a very stereotypical plot, with underdeveloped and mishandled characters, SUICIDE SQUAD does nothing to ease the worries and frustrations of the audiences desiring improvement for the DCEU’s future.

The most noteworthy flaw in SUICIDE SQUAD was its take on the Joker, played by Jared Leto. The main controversy from fans on the Joker comes from whether too little screen time was the problem, or if this version of the Joker was just poor all around. Hope came in 2017 with WONDER WOMAN.

After her introduction in DAWN OF JUSTICE, Wonder Woman’s next appearance is in her own film. Receiving a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, critics and fans alike see WONDER WOMAN as the best DC film so far. It provides that glimmer of hope, showing what DCEU films could be: characters accurately depicted, colorful and lighter tones, with clear but engaging plot lines.

JUSTICE LEAGUE Falls Below Everyone’s Expectations

While it seemed as though Warner Bros. hoped that JUSTICE LEAGUE would usher in a new brighter chapter for the DCEU’s future, it didn’t quite make it there. While parts are admirable, much of the film feels disjointed. The villain, Steppenwolf, is all CGI and not memorable in any way. Many of the loose plot threads from DAWN OF JUSTICE are not taken care of at all or even referenced.

One can tell that several scenes were cut from the film, leaving a somewhat choppy plot progression. While there are characters that stand out such as Aquaman and the Flash, many feel as though Ben Affleck provides a half-hearted performance as Batman. Additionally, the consensus is that — distinctions can be made as to what scenes were directed and shot by Snyder and what scenes belong to Joss Whedon who took over for the film’s reshoots.

Justice League was meant to springboard other solo films and sequels, but with its’ less than desirable reception, Warner Bros. might attempt to switch gears in order to gain a better approval and financial gain from one of their biggest franchises.

Continuing DCEU’s Future with the Current Plan?

Warner Bros.’ first option could be to keep the course. A lot of investment is put into a franchise, and including AQUAMAN releasing later this year, they’re already six films and millions of dollars in. Many future films are announced for the years ahead, with several currently in production and/or development. CYBORG, SHAZAM, GREEN LANTERN CORPS., and WONDER WOMAN 2 all have release dates ranging from early 2019 to the summer of 2020.

DCEU's Future

Warner Bros. might determine that the best decision is to press on and try to improve their films as best they can going forward. Regardless of the negative feelings and poor receptions to the films already produced. This option would allow Warner Bros. to stick to their guns and let the past be the past. However, if future films continue the trend of being underwhelming, it could lead to a downward spiral for the franchise, with no recovery.

Rebooting the DCEU… Maybe with FLASHPOINT?

The second option could be to reboot. This option is tricky. If done wrong, it could do more damage to the franchise than good. Audiences and fans would almost definitely lose more faith, loyalty, and overall interest than they already have. However, if done right, Warner Bros. could have a clean slate and learn from their mistakes. They could reshape the tone and feel of the DCEU’s future, giving certain characters second chances and earn back some points from fans.

Is The FLASHPOINT Movie DC’s Last Hope?

How to do it right? The best choice would not be a hard reboot, starting from scratch. A soft reboot would be the best option, as a soft reboot doesn’t totally restart the franchise from the beginning. It works within the confines of the franchise’s narrative, providing a logical precedent for changing things up, giving the studios a fan-approved means of making improvements without totally getting rid of the parts that are good.

The Flashpoint Story

In the case of the DCEU, FLASHPOINT is the most logical film for Warner Bros. to initiate a soft reboot. In the comics, FLASHPOINT is the story where Barry Allen, the Flash, runs back in time to prevent his mother’s murder. Once doing so, he wakes up in an altered reality. His mother lives, but so much more is different.

To name a few: Bruce Wayne is dead, with his parents surviving. In their grief, his father becomes a brutal Batman, and his mother grows insane, becoming the Joker. Superman never lands at the Kent farm, instead, he lives his entire life in a government facility. Wonder Woman and Aquaman rule over their respective nations and are at war with each other.

DCEU's Future

Barry realizes that in this universe, he never becomes the Flash. With the help of the Thomas Wayne Batman, Barry gets his speed back and sets things right. However, things don’t go completely back to normal. It’s more of like a close approximation. In the comics, this was DC’s version of a soft reboot, which allowed them to pick and choose what they wanted to keep. They could move forward with new stories and less narrative restrictions than they previously had.

It would make perfect sense for Warner Bros. to follow suit if they desire to have a soft reboot. FOX’s X-Men universe and DAYS OF FUTURE PAST proves it’s possible. Old events from the first films get erased and allow new stories to be told. Fans approved of the reboot as well. FLASHPOINT is still in development but done right; it would serve as the best, most fan-approved option for Warner Bros. to reboot the DCEU’s future.

Get Rid of The DCEU and Replace It?

While probably the most unlikely, Warner Bros could decided to do away with the DCEU all together. Now, the DC IP is too lucrative to do away with entirely. Therefore, some believe that an option could be to replace the DCEU. Instead, stand-alone DC films would be made without any narrative ties to any other DC film.

Now, while this seems odd on the service, Warner Bros. could create DC films that are more abstract. For example, the RED SON storyline where Superman grows up in Soviet Russia. They could focus on individual characters without worrying about whether or not Batman’s actions in his film affects Flash or Superman in theirs.

This idea stems from the rumors that Warner Bros. has plans for a Joker film directed by Martin Scorsese. It would star an actor besides Jared Leto, and would not connect to the DCEU. It seems like it would be hard to produce team up films. Mainstream audiences might have a difficult time understanding in an industry that’s focus is big on cinematic universes lately.

But, who knows? Perhaps Warner Bros. could continue the DCEU and have unrelated films on the side? That would be interesting, but again: potential for confusion. We’ll have to wait and see as the developments/announcements come in as to the fate of the DCEU’s future.

One Comment

  1. […] THE MUMMY which may or may not be moving forward. Warner Bros. themselves has had some notable flops with their DC Cinematic Universe, and yet each film still makes blockbuster-level […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *