The DC Extended Universe is at a crossroads where it must either embrace its potential or face its demise.
The DCEU has turned on a new page after releasing ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ on HBO Max. While the director, his family, and fans got closure through the Snyder Cut’s release, questions about whether the DC Extended Universe is getting better or ending are pilling up. Despite upcoming projects, the future of the DCEU hangs in the air.
- Where did the DCEU go astray?
- Is there hope for the DCEU?
DCEU’s Wrong Turns
While Marvel had launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe with ‘Iron Man‘ in 2010, DC was still wrapping up the last film in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Batman Trilogy’. The trilogy is one of the best things Warner Bros. has made but it clearly put it behind the curve with Marvel.
Nevertheless, things seemed promising for the DCEU with the release of Henry Cavill’s ‘Man in Steel’ in 2013. It received reasonably good reception by the audiences but the studio abstained from doing a stand-alone Superman sequel to the film. Instead, it presented the audience with ‘Batman vs Superman‘ three years later.
DC fans’ expectations with ‘Batman vs Superman’ were sky high but they were let down. The film seemed bland, barring a few resonating scenes. Far from the Avengers-like response, the DCEU expected to bag, it was heavily censored by fans and critics. The criticism was aggravated when it came to light that the studio had refrained 30 crucial minutes from the theatrical cut of the film.
In a way, this resistance by the studio to meet director Zack Snyder’s creative demands got into the DCEU’s way of fulfilling its potential. The incessant tussle between the producers and the director ultimately proved too fatal for the films as seen with the dismal response to ‘Justice League’ released in 2017.
Moreover, hasty and faulty decision-making by the studio proved very fatal for the DCEU. The studio got caught up in competing with Marvel and being light-hearted (as witnessed with Avengers director Joss Whedon’s hire to complete ‘Justice League’.) Consequently, it abandoned the DCEU’s true essence: emotion-packed and visceral storytelling. Will it do course correction to make the DCEU better or let it end?
Rays of Hope
All hope hasn’t been lost for the DCEU. The 2017 release of ‘Wonder Woman‘ was a game-changer for superhero films. Similarly, ‘Birds of Prey‘ decimated the male gaze by giving us a refreshing, honest version of Harley Quinn and her companion heroines. While the studio faltered with the film’s marketing, the movie-making and vision show great promise for the future of the DCEU. Such silver linings foreshadow that the DCEU is in the condition of getting better.
The hopes for a DCEU revival are also fresh as WarnerMedia has been taken over by Discovery. The company had shown reason by finally releasing the Snyder Cut and the new management could very well reboot the DCEU in a way that goes down well with fans. The current focal point is Restoring the SnyderVerse as the fans made the movement trend on Twitter, on the occasion of Man of Steel’s eighth anniversary. If studio executives toed the line of fans before, they can surely do it again.
With or without Snyder’s final two ‘Justice League’ films, the DCEU has several promising projects lined up. The standalone sequel to ‘Suicide Squad‘ which had failed back in 2016 is much-awaited. It is set to release in the US on August 6 this year and will feature DC superheroes wreaking havoc on a Nazi-era site. In addition, ‘Black Adam‘ starring Dwayne Johnson in the titular role is also expected to hit theatres on July 29, 2022.
To top it all off, Ezra Miller’s ‘The Flash‘ will grace the audiences on November 4, 2022. This film is one of the most anticipated DCEU projects as it will contain time travel and a possible introduction to the multiverse setting and multiple timelines. Lastly, ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ is also under development along with a ‘Shazam‘ sequel called ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods.’
Although these projects show hope for the DCEU, their success will largely depend on whether the makers can hit the right tone and connect with the audiences. Most importantly, it will be crucial to see whether these films remain scattered or have a cohesive storyline under the DCEU vision.
Do you think the DCEU will be getting better or ending? Comment below!