The trailers for Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad look great and I am fairly excited to see these movies. A part of me is wondering if DC Shared Universe is making a crucial mistake with the direction they are taking their movies.
There is a big case of Nolanitus* going on in the DCSU. Nolanitus (or Dark Knightitus* if you will) is when a movie franchise (or wannabe franchise) sets itself up a darker, grittier look at the character just as Christopher Nolan did for the Batman franchise. Fantastic Four just tried it will horrible results and Man of Steel attempted the same thing and the movie felt off. With Batman Begins this worked because Bruce Wayne/Batman is a dark and gritty character wrestling with the morals of what he does when he puts on the suit.
Man of Steel is proof that you can’t do that with every character. Superman has always been a beacon of hope and optimism. That is completely cheesy when on film, but there are good ways to go about it. Richard Donner managed to make a compelling Superman movie without having to resort to a dark and gritty wash of the character. Man of Steel was not a bad movie per say, just a very boring one. No one wants to see Superman be all brooding and dejected about not fitting in. It is not a bad idea in a character study, but it would have been better served if he was trying to find what it means to be human when making friends and surrounding himself with humanity while having adventures saving people.
Dawn of Justice has the gritty vibe to it, but it is about heroes going head to head after massive event of death and destruction (hey, that sounds like a familiar plotline) with two cities caught between them. Suicide Squad comes off as really dark because is about a government entity that is so desperate, they recruit a group of imprisoned villains to fight crime. I am hoping they will add a good dose of dark humor in Suicide Squad because the whole premise is kinda ridiculous and needs something like that in there. There is a built in need for a darker theme with both of those movies, but what about Aquaman? He is not a super dark character. He is a very powerful hero (dude controls the ocean) and quite heavy on the environmentalism, but I don’t get hardened and angry from that character. I know they are trying to erase the silliness attached to the character as of late, but is going to a broody, angry Dothraki (Jason Momoa) the best way to go about things?
— ZackSnyder (@ZackSnyder) February 20, 2015
I know Aquaman is a real badass in the comics, but I don’t see how this is faithful to that character. Wonder Woman is all sex-bombed out and just looks hangry. I want to go and feed her some cheeseburgers because there is no way she could take on anyone looking that scrawny. Wonder Woman is a bit like Superman in that she is a symbol for optimism and justice, but in the photos she looks like an angry supermodel. The beiged out colors do not help. How is Ezra Miller going to look as The Flash?
I know DCSU is trying to distinguish itself from the MCU, but I don’t see how going to the dark side is the best way to establish a difference. The MCU’s movies vary in tone depending on the character and the actors they get to play them. Iron Man, Ant-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy played up the comedy and went for leads that are known for their comedic timing. The characters and premise for the films seem pretty ridiculous so why not play that up as a positive point? The Thor movies are played as overdone family drama with a lot a great action (and drool worthy men), but when you have god-like creatures as you main characters, overdone is a must. Captain America is done as a period action/drama and then moved on to a more political mind set with the sequels since his character is surrounded by spies and government agencies. The Avengers movies manages to tie these themes together.
If this is the direction the DCSU is intent on going, then maybe adding in some more family friendly movies to their lineup will keep things from feeling so depressing and heavy all the time.
Do you think DCSU is playing things way too dark and depressing? Or do you like the stark differences in the two comic book movie powerhouses? Are you excited to see a badass looking Aquaman? Do you think Wonder Woman looks hangry? Am I totally alone on that one? Let me know in the comments section.
*I totally jack these words from another blogger but for the life of me I don’t remember which one. Sorry other blogger.