I feel bad for DC. Well as bad as one can feel for a multimillion dollar corporation, but bad nonetheless. Though I grew up a Marvel kid, somewhere in my late teens I jumped ship over to the Distinguished Competition. As a hardcore DC fan for almost twenty years now, it saddens me to see them trying in vane to play catch up with Marvel. In a mad rush to duplicate Marvels successful cinematic universe they are setting themselves up for failure.
Have you seen all the characters that they are shoehorning into Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice? Man of Steel is a shaky foundation to build on to begin with ,why weaken the structure more by adding too much weight too fast? There’s a reason why Marvel didn’t make Avengers immediately after the first Iron Man, and that’s because you need to slowly build a world from the ground up. You have to make sure people care about your characters on an individual basis before throwing them all together.
I have no doubt that Batman V. Superman will make DC a lot of money, but it won’t be Avengers big. Likewise, Suicide Squad won’t have Guardians Of The Galaxy level success because DC hasn’t built up our trust enough to the point where we will follow them into left field. But this isn’t a condemnation of DC’s poor cinematic choices (of which there were many) but rather a plea to them based on their rich small screen endeavors. DC please stick to television.
Television is where DC really shines. Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, Constantine, all amazing shows, any one of which puts Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to shame. Marvel may rule the big screen but DC is crushing it on the small. Marvels biggest mistake was setting Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D in it’s cinematic universe. So many of Marvel’s best characters are tied up in deals with other film companies that they can only bring a fraction of their comic book roster to the screen. When faced with such a shallow superhero pool it only makes sense to save most of them for the big screen. That of course leaves AOS with a bunch of regular boring humans doing regular boring espionage stuff and occasionally running into a Z-grade hero or villain. That is why I refer to the show as Super Nap-inducing Ordinary Realistic Endeavors or Agents of S.N.O.R.E. for short.
DC doesn’t have this problem because all of their characters are owned by one company: Warner Bros.
DC has hundreds of characters going back to the 1930s and rather than throw them all into one two hour adventure, television affords them the luxury of introducing a different one every week. This villain of the week structure is proving to be awesome on The Flash in particular as The Flash is a characters defined more by his collection of rogues versus one arch-villain in particular.
OK. by now you are probably asking “Just because DC makes great TV shows, why does that mean that they should quit making movies?” The answer is that by trying to do both instead of just focusing on one they are limiting what they could achieve by putting their time, and money solely into television. By reserving some of their biggest characters exclusively for the silver screen, they are holding their television empire back from realizing it’s true potential. I hope I don’t anger any Arrow fans by saying this but, Arrow is only as great as it is because the show’s writers clearly want him to be Batman. Arrow uses a lot of Batman villains, and their characterization of Oliver Queen is very much just Bruce Wayne with a different tragedy.
I’m not saying that that’s a bad thing or anything but just imagine how awesome it would have been if they had just called it Bat and replaced felicity with Oracle, Diggle with Alfred and Roy with Dick Grayson? But no, DC is saving Batman proper for the movies. Sure, we get Gotham which is great show in it’s own right, but would easily be 20% cooler if it was about a Bruce Wayne in his early twenties just starting out as Batman. Instead we get a 12yr old sitting around a mansion moping like the worlds richest goth.
The serialized structure of comic books makes them much more suited for the serialized structure of television. Batman in particular would work so much better as a series than a series of movies. Television would allow for quieter moments where he can show off his detective skills without the threat of an action scene every five minutes. There isn’t one good Batman story line that can be better told in one condensed movie rather than a multipart narrative. In fact, because I’m out to anger everyone, I’m going to say that the only good depiction of Batman outside of the comics was on TV (no not Adam West, think animated). None of the movies have done Batman right, including Christopher Nolan’s “Bourne in a Batsuit” trilogy.
Unfortunately, this whole plea is moot . DC just announced 20 movies running all the way through 2050, so there is no chance that they will give up on their dreams of movie stardom any time soon. But I can still wish that they would. If only they could stop trying to emulate another company for a moment and take stock of the situation they would see that the television landscape is theirs for the taking.
DC you’ll never be Marvel and frankly, you shouldn’t want to be anyway. You do you DC, You do you.