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Saturday, August 24, 2013

EDITORIAL: What WB Should Do to Make the DC Cinematic Universe Succeed

Hey guys! For those of you readers who don’t know me, welcome, my name is Michael J. Petty! I am the new guy here at Superhero Movie News, but I can assure you that I am far from inexperienced as I currently work as an Admin/Host/Editor on Across the Airwaves (.com of course) and as a Staff Writer on the Superman Homepage (the #1 Superman website on the planet), so my gig here is kinda part-time, but hey I’m excited! Anyway, here on SMN I’ll be writing Editorials probably once a week to once every two weeks (we’ll see what life throws at me) on whatever comes to mind that I would just like to get my thoughts out on. This week, my thoughts are about what DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers should do with their DC Cinematic Universe that started with Man of Steel this past June. So, let us begin!
  • Make the Batman/Superman film good: Man of Steel was a fantastic film, in fact I’d say it was the best Superman film outside of Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut and possibly the Extended Edition of Superman: The Movie, but most critics did not like it for some reason (the exact opposite scenario than what happened with Superman Returns). Play off of the success of The Dark Knight Trilogy by making Batman a co-star with Superman. There’s a lot of talk that this film will be Man of Steel 2 with Batman in it, but I don’t think that’s the case. This film needs to be just as much a Batman reboot as it will be a Superman sequel. In order for this film to succeed (and please, call it The World’s Finest already…), Batman and Superman have to have equal screen-time and they have to be able to work together in a heroic fashion that will put the Avengers to shame. Yes, the two heroes WILL duke-it-out in the film, but only during their first encounter. Eventually, they will have to put aside their differences to face an even bigger threat, which we’re all assuming (and rightfully so) is Lex Luthor and LexCorp. Ultimately, if this film is bad and does not do well in the box-office, it could easily mean an immediate end to the DC Cinematic Universe before it even really gets going. Oh, and Ben Affleck is a great choice for Batman by the way! He has just enough popularity to not be over-shadowed by Henry Cavill, yet is still newer to this universe giving Cavill an upper hand, therefore balancing the two actors, and in-turn the characters, out.
  • Don’t force Justice League: We ALL want to see Justice League! I just want to get that out  here right off the bat, we all do. However, this film needs to develop, it needs to take it’s time so that it can do as well as The Avengers. Hell, if the film does as well as the X-Men franchise I’ll be happy. My point is, don’t force a JL film out of World’s Finest just because you want to compete with MARVEL. MARVEL’s Cinematic Universe is already established, to try and catch up in the next few years would be ridiculous and unnecessary… I think that if you play it by year and make sure you take your time (like with The Dark Knight Trilogy and Man of Steel) then the film will be able to work. And let me just say, KEEP CYBORG OUT OF IT!!! I love Cyborg, I do, and I think him being in the JL is a cool concept, BUT NOT as a founding member (or Original 7) of the team. I think you have to make Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and Martian Manhunter your starting line-up. Now, I would also prefer Aquaman to be in there (played by Sam Worthington or Matt Damon please…) as well, but I sadly do not see the WB executives allowing that, as most see him as a silly character. I also would not mind Green Arrow, Black Canary, Zatanna, and/or Hawkgirl being in the film. Those would also be good choices. 
  • Do more team-up films: The idea of a World’s Finest film is fantastic and I have no clue why DC/WB didn't do this sooner! But it should not be the only superhero team-up film that DC/WB put out. Now, here I’m not talking about Justice League because that’s a superhero team, I’m talking about two or three heroes teaming up OUTSIDE OF the JL, just like Batman and Superman will be in 2015. In my honest opinion, I think that a The Brave and The Bold film should happen starring Green Lantern - Hal Jordan and The Flash - Barry Allen! This film could serve as a reboot to the Green Lantern franchise with another actor and start the Flash’s franchise on the big screen. I’ll talk more about both those heroes in a little bit, but I have always wanted a Brave & The Bold film with GL & Flash just as much if not a little less than a Superman/Batman film. Oh, and Green Lantern/Green Arrow, PLEASE make it so! Outside of GL & Flash, I think a Wonder Woman/Aquaman film would be amazing, especially with magic based Amazons and Atlantians. A Trinity film (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) would be ideal as well.
  • Incorporate television into the universe: I think MARVEL did the smart thing when they decided to make Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., especially the shows connection to The Avengers and the rest of the MCU. DC should take a hint and follow suit with shows like Arrow, its upcoming spin-off Flash series, and the rumored Gotham Central series. Arrow could easily fit within the universe that Man of Steel has created, especially if you just say that Season 1 of the series comes before Man of Steel on the timeline (it does in real life as well). It would also explain the Batman villains that have appeared on the series and will most likely continue to as well as the constant references to Bludhaven. Plus, as we all know, Stephen Amell (aka Oliver Queen/Green Arrow on Arrow) would join up on a Justice League film in a heartbeat as he loves playing the Green Arrow on screen. And since The Flash, or at least Barry Allen, will be appearing on Arrow in the upcoming Season 2 (SPOILERS), WB wouldn’t even have to cast another actor to play Flash on the big screen as they could just use the Arrow/Flash series actor to reprise his role in a Flash film, JL film, and/or Brave & The Bold film. Also, who would not want a Gotham Central series to air on TV? I for one would love that show to death, especially if they got a Ben Affleck stand-in to be Batman every once-in-a-while to help the GCPD out. Heck, just get Ben Affleck as he is a big comic book fan himself, I’m sure he’d do it! Plus, I would really love to see Ellen Yin, Harvey Bullock, Renee Montoya, and Ethan Bennett in live-action format… That’d be sweet.
  • Allow heroes to have their own solo series: Some may say that this contradicts my 3rd point, but let me explain. One of the main complaints people had (and to extent I had these same complaints myself, but I wanted it so badly that I didn’t even care) with the announcement of a Batman/Superman film was that Superman wouldn’t get a Man of Steel 2 and with that another chance to shine for our modern audience. I think that a Man of Steel 2 should most definitely happen, especially before Justice League. I also think a Wonder Woman intro film should happen (set on Paradise Island and ending in the USA) as well as a Aquaman solo film set in Atlantis and on the East Coast. It’s not as important for me to have a Flash film as he may be getting his own TV series soon, and Batman just had an incredible film run, but I would also like to see a Green Lantern reboot in the same vein that The Incredible Hulk was to Ang Lee’s Hulk. I think that when you start limiting the chance of solo films, then you start limiting the actor’s talents and the hero’s story on the big screen. Again, I want team-up films, but is it too much to ask for their own solo series as well?                                                                                                      NOTE: The picture above is real as it was used in a plot-line on the HBO series Entourage. It was the best fake-movie ever made!
  • Reboot Green Lantern: Now, I am one of the few people on the planet who likes the Green Lantern film and wanted a sequel, very badly I might add (I also am the same way with Daredevil and Elektra by the way)! But regardless, no sequel is in the works and the absolutely fantastic Green Lantern: The Animated Series was cancelled because Green Lantern didn’t sell. Needless to say, WB has no real faith in the Green Lantern property, although his comics sell great! I think GL should be rebooted with Jensen Ackles (Smallville, Supernatural, Batman: Under the Red Hood) playing the lead role of Hal Jordan. His character of Dean Winchester on Supernatural already acts like classic Hal, so all we need to do is give him a power ring and his own feature film. With Ackles playing Hal I think that it would be better for the GL franchise to have two main leads and two main GL’s. To that I say, add John Stewart to the mix! Make Hal and John the co-leads on the GL reboot and have them go up against Hal’s old partner before John and current Corps enemy number one: Sinestro. Allow Mark Strong to reprise his role as Sinestro and change up the special effects a bit to give the film a darker tone. The issue with Green Lantern is that the Ryan Reynolds film tried to hard to be funny, they wanted to be the DC equivalent to Iron Man 2, and it didn’t work. Instead, make the series a serious one by making it a sci-fi cop blockbuster that will throw everybody through the roof. Plus, this way Hal Jordan can be in the Justice League & Brave and the Bold film and then switch-off with John Stewart so that they both get good screen time and the two most recognizable Green Lanterns are given to the public.
  • Put out Batman films like they put out 007: This one is a big one to me, and really it goes with #5 but I think it deserves its own category. Since Christopher Nolan’s epic The Dark Knight Trilogy ended with The Dark Knight Rises in 2012, Batman has been out of the film game, at least until Batman/Superman was announced. Now that Batman’s back in, people will want another Batman solo film just like Superman fans still want an Man of Steel 2. I propose that WB/DC takes advantage of the Batman franchise and makes it something different than it was before, I say make a Batman film every 2 to 3 years just like they do with James Bond. James Bond has been around since the 1960’s in one form or another and since then he has wowed audiences around the globe because of his many films, many actors, and many very good stories. I think Batman has more potential out of any superhero/comic book character to follow suit with Mr. Bond and continue that tradition with his own films. Ben Affleck is signed on with WB to play Batman for multiple films, so why not take that to your advantage? Allow Ben Affleck, who again is a HUGE comic book fan himself, to have some creative freedom and make a few Batman films. Whether he’s producing, writing, or directing, let him do what MGM has finally let Daniel Craig do, play the title character and work on his story from behind-the-scenes! I think that a constant flow of good Batman films would be great for Batman, DC Entertainment, us fans, and ultimately Warner Brothers as tons and tons of money will be made off of his new-found franchise. If you’re wondering what kind of ton I would like these Batman films to have, go watch the trailer for Batman: Arkham Origins on Youtube, you’ll see exactly what I’m seeing now.
  • Allow comic book creators to have some input into the DCCU: It’s a long list of names. It truly is, but I think that DC’s top creative people should consult on any and every DC Cinematic Universe film. Whether it’s Geoff Johns, Scott Snyder, Jeff Lemire, and/or Jeph Loeb (who DC NEEDS to get back from MARVEL…), I think that the comic book writers/creators know these characters the best, and to deny the facts would be most illogical. Bruce Timm and Paul Dini are truly the ones I would call when making a Batman/Superman film and/or a Justice League film, because they spend a large sum of their lives creating a universe that most kids, me included, grew up with back-in-the-day. I’d also give Giancarlo Volpe, producer of Green Lantern: The Animated Series, and Marc Guggenheim, co-writer of the Green Lantern film and producer on Arrow, a call when making a Green Lantern reboot film. And of course I would also ask people like John Byrne, Mike Grell, Alan Burnett, Judd Winick, and Mark Waid, along with others, to consult on these films. Chris Claremont is currently consulting Brian Singer on the X-Men: Days of Future Past film and Joss Whedon (someone who wrote for X-Men and Avengers comics) has co-written and directed The Avengers! I mean, obviously MARVEL knows what’s working as they have their biggest creative people involved in all of their projects. I mean, they have Jeph Loeb as a producer for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble, and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. for goodness-sakes! Get some comic book writers in on these films Warner Brothers or they’re honestly not going to do as well!

Now that’s all I have for this giant rant/tangent guys, thanks so much for reading. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think or what else you would have WB do to make the DC Cinematic Universe great. Cheers!

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Senior Editorial Editor on SMN, I also work as an Administrator on Across the Airwaves Productions and as a Staff Writer on the Superman Homepage. I enjoy movies, comics, television, music, and long walks on the beach. Just because he's on the side of the angels, don't think for one second that he's one of them.