Does DC or WB Have No Faith In Themselves?

It's bad enough that DC/WB does not trust themselves, but when you start seeing bone headed fans wanting Rotten Tomatoes shut down, (For all the bad reviews of Suicide Squad), that it really looks like DC has a huge uphill battle on their hands when it comes to comic book movies and trying not to look like Marvel while they're doing it.


First, about that noise about Rotten Tomatoes, at the time that I drafted this piece, there was over 15,000 "fans," whose panties were in a bunch about the professional bad reviews that Suicide Squad was getting. So they petitioned for Rotten Tomatoes to be shut down.

That's akin to wanting the telephone system shut down because of telemarketers.  Or that we should shut down email because of spam.

The best part about this entire thing was that these headlines where coming out before the film got released to the public. I mean seriously? How thin skinned can people be? That would be like fans getting in an uproar because the poke-finder was disabled in Pokemon GO recently. Oh, wait... never mind.


Be it as it may, there's still all kinds of attention coming down on DC and WB about their comic book movie products and most of it isn't good.

When Marvel hit the scene, they created their own style and brand of movies, calling it the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (MCU)  Then DC started trying to get their Justice League movie off the ground and it's been having issues from day one.

One of their big problems was that Marvel did it perfectly, introducing individual characters, having extra scenes in the credits to tease future stories, then made their ensemble movie, The Avengers.

DC, of course, did not want to look like they were copying them. So they were forced to figure something else out. It took them quite a while to get it together. When they finally got their plans up and running in the form of Batman v Superman, they took the opportunity to shove the Justice League team members in the movie at various spots. It was kind of like DCs version of the after-credits scenes. But during the film.

But what's gone wrong with Batman v Superman (BvS) or Suicide Squad? As it stands, I believe franchise fans loved them, or at least BvS. But to the outsider looking in, like film critics, maybe not so much.

Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Universe, image via MoviePilot

WB had good films with Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight franchise, which set a serious, somber tone for the hero, as it should be. And these films were not going to include any other characters, per Nolan. They were about Batman, not anyone else. And that made sense. Then Nolan went on to co-produce with Zack Snyder on the Man of Steel film, which did fine in it's own rights.

But the difference between Nolan's films and these others, it seems, is that when Nolan put down a story, he developed the story with engaging back-content, while, in comparison, I feel like the latest WB comic movies seem to rush the back story details out there and then try to cram a tone of content into a story.

In BvS, they took the basis of a classic alternate story about BvS, changed it up completely, jammed in Lex Luthor, a new kind of killer Batman, one of Superman's biggest foes, and introduced Wonder Woman and a few others into the heap.

Some of those points alone could have been entire movies but instead they become cram points in a crowded movie.


Despite the trashing by critics, BvS hasn't done too bad on its own, grossing nearly $900M worldwide, but the critics trashing ultimately hurt the domestic box office performance.

But then again, critics did not understand the source material and they beat the film into the ground because of perceived inconsistencies.

An example of the inconsistencies was Clark's intimate relationship with Lois in the film. Comic fans all knew what this was about. But if you never read a single page of print, then what a movie fan saw was Clark and Lois meeting in Man of Steel, then in BvS, they were intimate, sharing tub water. With no connector story.

To non-franchise fans, this felt like a WTF just happened moment! And there were many of these in the film.

Regardless of the critics, fans chimed in on IMDb with a 6.9/10. So there's that.

BATMAN vs SUPERMAN, critics confused, fans understood.

But after BvS got trashed by critics, apparently several knee-jerk reactions took place behind closed doors at the DC/WB camp. Rumors or news was that there were some production staffing changes or that director Zack Snyder possibly having been put on a shorter leash in the creativity department.

Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but damn, he did throw a lot in the film from several popular story sources, muddying up the waters of what the original BvS comic book story was all about.

For those who don't know, the original story from the comics was about the day that no vigilantes were allowed to operate under government jurisdiction, but an older Batman was forced to resurface and started back up in his old groove. The government saw this and sent their representative to speak with him. That rep, being Superman. The two duked it out, with Superman killing Batman...  all while a few other things took place in this alternate universe story.


So if Suicide Squad (SS) got the same treatment, and critics have skewered it, I still think that there's more to this than meets the eye.

There were reports about how DC/WB knee-jerked into refilming content for this newest film right after the critical beating that BvS took. I remember hearing or reading that WB was going to infuse more humor into SS not long after BvS got trashed. And so what we got was a combination of two production efforts... Director David Ayer's dark version, and this light-hearted version. Which could explain why some critics are saying this feels like two different films.


To be honest, I love what Marvel has done.

Marvel's first IRON MAN movie

They stepped up, took a daring move in making that first Iron Man film, despite dozens upon dozens of directing and acting talent declining, and made their empire off their own stylistic approach to the world of comic book movies.

Now don't get me wrong, you can't blame folks for turning down the opportunity of a life time when Marvel came calling, because frankly, before The Dark Knight, most comic book movies were jokes. Production values were limited, the funds, kept as thin as possible, and if they did spend money, they mocked the franchise. IE: Burton's Batman and subsequent films in that era of comic movies.


To be honest with you, from "day one," when DC said they will make a Justice League movie, it has felt as if they didn't trust themselves. They took what felt like forever to get the ball rolling. And then when it was time to put their money where their pie-holes are, they backtracked, made production changes after "professional" critics attacked them, and for what? Yet another round of critically harsh reviews?

But for crying out loud DC/WB... listen to your fans. Look at the IMDb scores for BvS, where it sits at a 7/10. And move forward having learned how to make the critics less harsh while trying to stick to your own plan.

And to be frank, though I love Marvel films, their nearly non-stop campy humor that made them fun IS GETTING OLD! It has to be toned back a bit or they will frazzle out with the same tonality in all their films. It's fine when you watch a film once every 6 months, but if you were to binge on Marvel films, you'd see what I mean.


But that's just me, and this is just how it seems to be. And even though the DC comics based films are doing OK by most standards, WB and DC keep trying to hit that billion mark that Marvel has hit again and again.

In the meantime, there have been big changes behind the curtains at WB, with DC's Geoff Johns taking the reign of the films, purportedly aiming for the more light-hearted versions of our comic heroes, like they used to be, back "in the day." Which, as far as I'm concerned, means they don't trust their present-day product. But hey, all the DC shows on TV are doing fine!

Jason Momoa as Aquaman

Whether this works or not, I don't know. I'm already worried about the Aquaman film, starring Jason Momoa, being that they're already comparing it to something popular, saying that Aquaman is DC's version of The Wolverine.  Really?

Every time I've ever seen what I call comparative marketing, it's usually from an inferior product aspect.

With all that said, and Johns now at the helm, I hope that whatever approach WB/DC takes, that they just stick to their vision and quit competing with Marvel. Just do what you do guys. You'll be just fine.
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