2016 and 2017 was an uneven time for Warner Brothers DCEU. Batman vs. Superman divides fan bases with its darker turns. Suicide Squad wasn’t really the bombastic time as promised in the trailers that proceeded it. There was a critical and box office win with Women Woman, but Justice League – oh, Justice League. (I’m sure we all know the story by now.). Yes, darker times.
Patty Jenkins‘ Wonder Woman was a hint at what was to come for the young DCEU. With movies like 2018’s Aquaman and 2019’s Shazam, we saw Warner Brothers do less meddling and allow the movies to take on the styles of their directors. Therefore, you see horror elements from James Wan and David F. Sandberg. Also, these movies became less concerned with building an overall world and took the time to tell their own stories properly. With Cathy Yen‘s Birds of Prey, it hints at the world that came before it, but its primary interest was to make you care about the characters in front of you.
Yesterday’s DC Fandome showed an upcoming Warner Brothers movie slate that’s both intriguing and confident in its direction. There was something for everyone. Do you want a 70s fun wartime movie? 2021’s Suicide Squad should be up your alley. Maybe you wanted a Wonder Woman sequel that’s stylistic and even more action-based? Wonder Woman 84 shows a lot of promise with that. Perhaps you’ve been asking for a gritty, noir based Bruce Wayne that is finding himself inside his legendary cowl? 2021’s The Batman has a very promising trailer granted that only 25% of the movie has done because of the pandemic. A powerful anti-hero with his own sense of morality? Here comes Black Adam.
With comic book movies, lean into your strengths. One major key of Warner Brothers is the multiverse. You can have multiple instances of the same characters existing at one time. Just look at 2019’s Joker and that self-contained story it told. It won an Oscar and grossed over a billion dollars at the box office. That movie was able to lean into the psychology of one of DC’s famous villains in its own existence. You can cast an actor like Joaquin Phoenix because there’s no concern about signing six movie deals. The upcoming Flash movie with including Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck‘s is perfect. It brings generations of movie fans together with familiarity while introducing them to this version of The Flash in a standalone film.
Yesterday makes you ask – well, why didn’t they do this in the first place? Some things take trial and error to find. With Marvel building a ten-year episodic block to 2019’s Endgame, it takes a lot of patience both on the studios and audience part to support. Maybe Warner Brothers made the initial mistake of looking over their shoulder and rushing towards the finish. However, now they’ve settled into themselves and prepared to tell their stories how they want to. There may be people out there who may eye-roll about the mythos of the Snyder Cut – but the trailer looks very inquiring. There’s the appearance of Darkseid, the promise of a more fleshed out story for Cyborg, and no CGI mustache for Superman.
At the least, it shows the promise of what HBO Max can be. Depending on how successful this movie is, you can have instances of this universe made for the streaming service. There’s already a Gotham ‘Year One’ series being made and a Green Lantern show. The possibilities are endless, the subject matter can be more mature, and the production values don’t have to suffer.
Who knows when the stampede of footsteps will grace the floors of Hall H at Comic-Con again. Let’s cross our fingers that the tide of the pandemic turns and doesn’t sacrifice another summer. In the meantime, when you find yourself in tight spots – innovation happens. DC Fandome was refreshing in the aspect where it mixed panel and fan questions. It was an event you felt included in – some aspects of Comic-Con feels as if you’re at a distance. The day flew by and gave people things to be excited about. This might spur studios like Sony to do the same thing with their Spiderverse.
What a difference two years makes. Yesterday, Warner Brothers showed that it was less concerned about the patterns that the box office previously built. The studio’s future slate of films provided a sandbox with many toys to play with – no matter what difficulty you choose.