DC Cinematic Universe: Learning from Marvel

Before you criticize the title, it's not me saying Warner Bros. to copy Marvel Studios. Come take a look.

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By Nick Salinski - 3/17/2014
Okay so, as many of you know, I am not a big fan of the latest Zack Snyder film "Man of Steel". I have my issues with it. But, looking at that and comparing it to other Marvel films and comparing the Green Lantern trailer to Guardians of the Galaxy (Oh boy look at me, I'm comparing trailers, I know the dos and don'ts. NOT!) and I got to thinking. What could Warner Bros. do to better their DC Cinematic Universe without copying Marvel Studios' Marvel Cinematic Universe but, still learn.

Have fun with it



I can't stress this enough... Rocket Raccoon is going to be hitting the big screen TWO YEARS before the most iconic female superhero ever, Wonder Woman. Now that I got that off my chest. A problem with, Man of Steel is that it was a bit dark for Superman. Superman isn't Batman but, he isn't Iron Man either. He should've had the interest of Captain America (boy scout but not boring) with the excitement of, The Incredible Hulk. But the most important thing missing is, a sense of fun. Whether it would be humor or action scenes, the movie wasn't fun. Now, I'm not saying go, Iron Man 3 and every to every other scene have a joke in it. Now, I know Green Lantern failed. But, they tried to make him funny and too much like Iron Man instead of letting the character be who the character is. They swung to much one way and then too much the other. If they want a good and successful Green Lantern and Flash films. Well 1: Get the audiences to like them in, Justice League. 2: Have a sense of fun and adventure but also have something serious (ala, Captain America: The Winter Soldier).

Career Consistency & Honing in their strengths



I know what you all are thinking "But Edgy! Michael Bay isn't consistent but his films still make an ass ton!" Actually, his films are consistent because they are mindless fun that you need to throw at the audiences sometimes. Hot women, explosions, humor and tons of action. Michael Bay delivers on those and the fun. That's why the casual movie going audiences pay to see his films. Not to go to see something that could happen but, to escape and be entertained. Marvel does the same but, gives the characters development and make you like the characters. Joss Whedon, James Gunn, Russo bros, Jon Faverau, etc. What do they all have in common? Consistency. Whedon and the Russos have television success which is hard transitioning from television to feature films. Whedon is a comic fan and works best with ensembles and gives us strong female characters. Russos (as well as James Gunn) are comic fans, which you can't always get but, they have had career consistency in television and if you watch the season 2 finale of community, you can see why Marvel chose them for Captain America. By the looks of the trailers and early word, I think it paid off. Faverau and Gunn have also enjoyed consistency.

Faverau works best with humor and adventure while Gunn works best with the more odd projects. Where am I getting at with this? Well, let me explain. Zack Snyder isn't a consistent director. While yes, his strength is in visuals which is why films like Sucker Punch and Watchmen were so great and he works best with action, which is why 300 (I looked at it as a film due to never reading the graphic novel) I felt failed because it was more focused on action. Commercially and critically, Snyder isn't consistent. Man of Steel had subtle hints at substance but more relied on action. DC needs more consistent directors like their new Batman himself, Ben Affleck. As an actor, he hadn't been consistent for a while. But as a director, he's been hitting it out of the park. If they want to make their films great like the Marvel films (save for Iron Man 2, not bad but disappointing) then they need to get more consistent directors.

Character Development



Remember the subtle hints of substance I was talking about in that last section? Well, part of it is that it helped lack in character development. I didn't feel like the characters grew from how they started. Clark went from a confused child with powers to a man who uses the powers to stop Zod. Now keep in mind, just because I say they lack character development DOES NOT mean I am saying they had no development. Going from a confused child to saving Metropolis and the world has some development within it. But, as a character as a whole, I didn't feel like he grew. Lois Lane had better development. Iron Man, Thor and Captain America got character development. You watched them grow as characters. I never fully got that from, Man of Steel. If Warner Bros. wants to better their future films starting with Batman/Superman. I suggest giving us some character development. Which should be fairly easy with what the title of the next film Implies. If they screw it up there, it's going to be all style over substance as long as Snyder is on board. Sure, he's not the screen writer but he is the director. He's directing the writer into what he wants the film to be.

Take a chance



Yes, I understand they took a risk with Green Lantern and it failed miserably. But, it helps to get the right creative team behind it. I get that Warner Bros. can't afford another Green Lantern-esque bomb. But, they can't keep running back to Batman and Superman. I think that's where introducing Wonder Woman gives them an opportunity and then when spawning into Justice League, it'll be Warner Bros. biggest gamble. Iron Man was a gamble because it was an unknown property, same goes with Guardians of the Galaxy. I'm not saying take a risk with Aquaman. But, Wonder Woman or even The Flash after Justice League. Give us characters we haven't explored yet. If you fuck up once then, oh well! We were given Hulk three different times. Two different actors in the same cinematic universe. You don't always get it right the first time (although, I would have loved to have seen Edward Norton with the rest of the Avengers as Bruce Banner). We have never seen a Wonder Woman or Flash film before. Hell! Retry Green Lantern.

I'm obviously not saying pull a Mandarin stunt (I still believe it worked better than what the comic book version would have been) but, even if you do piss off the fans. Role the dice and see what you get. Maybe you'll get a lucky seven and you'll have fantastic films. But, it all goes back to the last section of a consistent director and an earlier comment of the right creative team behind it. Shit, if you want to make John Stewart gay then, by all means make him gay. Characters serve the story. Again, it might piss off the fans but it would give us diversity, it's something we have never seen, it doesn't change the character (last I knew) and It's a gamble.

As with most of my articles, I have no doubt that some sort of riot is going to ensue, debate or even get tons of shit from people. But as always, be respectful in the comments section and if even you don't agree. Comment any ways and tell me your thoughts. I'm sure I pissed some of you off at some point in the article. I usually do.

As Stan "The Man" would say...
Excelsior!
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11 Comments
Kurne - 3/18/2014, 1:49 AM
Oh shit. Did you just say Marvel characters have had better development than MoS?



McNyagano - 3/18/2014, 2:57 AM



I'm out before it gets ugly.
MightyZeus - 3/18/2014, 3:11 AM
This article it conflicts me. I really enjoyed Man of Steel and i thought it was enjoyable and good for what it was except i only had a few small problems with the film. As for Marvel Studios itself it's exceptionally great and i commend the studio for taking risks on properties because none of them have really failed so far or have fallen flat on there face. I do agree however that GOTG there is no comparison to the Green Lantern trailer. It just reminded me of Pirates of the Caribbean except in space. I think this article could have been written better but it's written in the way of voicing your own thoughts of opinions straight forward on the topic.
GliderMan - 3/18/2014, 5:30 AM
Ryan Reynolds, or leave me alone.
Pasto - 3/18/2014, 5:30 AM
Gamora looks like she had her eyebrows burned off.
Pasto - 3/18/2014, 5:34 AM
Guardians of The Galaxy trailer was like the Green Lantern trailer. I got so excited for both, yet when I watched them I was pissed off.
Pasto - 3/18/2014, 5:38 AM
"This article is extremely poorly written, but it does raise a few questions I'm gonna ponder deeply and come back later to address"


I like how you did the harsh words but then soothed it with a nice statement. lmao
BubSnikt - 3/18/2014, 3:18 PM
When people say"unknown property" what do they mean. Iron man was known just as much in 2008 as someone like Wolverine was known in 2000. Some people are just looking for a good movie and don't even know its a superhero film. Movies like Avatar and Transformers weren't known to the general audience either, and they made a lot of money. Saying that a property fails because it is not known is a cop-out. The movie failed due to lack of marketing, or it was a bad movie.
Doughdzm - 3/18/2014, 3:55 PM
DC could take a chance and go with a character of color or a woman. They should do what Marvel has yet to do. they could really push the envelope by doing a Lobo film and use him as basically an explorer into the DC universe. He could travel and encounter other Green Lanterns, Martians, and they could really bounce off of that as far as what has not been discovered on Earth. He could tell how he heard of several heroes on Earth. And they could really break the Batman,Superman,Batman,Superman, combo punch we have been getting the last 30 years
GoldSlayer1 - 3/18/2014, 4:45 PM
@Doug
There's heavy Rumors of Dwayne Johnson playing Green Lantern John Stewart.
So we might finally get a black superhero (i know, he's only half black, but he still looks the part for John)
dethpillow - 3/20/2014, 5:35 AM
great article, and really a lot to say about it. there was a lot of stuff i disagree with, but i gotta say, it'a an interesting way of looking at it, and i'm re-examining now, cuz u got some good points.

i don't think Snyder is very inconsistent. And I think this comes down to maybe different ideas about what consistent is. To me, the problem with Iron Man 3, was a lack of consistency, an inability to finish. And I've always thought that technically, you gotta say MOS is the better movie cuz it stayed more as a piece to itself. Even tho it didn't do the flashes of perfect things that Iron Man 3 managed to do. Iron Man 3 was kind of a messy movie, I thought. And maybe becuz of Snyder's heavy emphasis on visual style or maybe becuz it seemed a certain uniform amount of misguided and unconnecting, that MOS does actually seem kind of consistent to me. It didn't have the weird sudden jumps from one type of thing to awkward dialogue or situation that you couldn't figure out at first if it was a joke. (I'm just talking about the last 20 minutes or so, that's what my problem is with the movie.)

Whatever it was, I ended up feeling like IM3 was more of a rollercoaster becuz of the sudden plunge it seemed to take to me. Like the first 2/3rds of the movie is just a really great suspenseful ratcheting up on the roller coaster track, it's perfect... and you're ready for the best roller coaster ride ever and then once it hits the perfect best, a little after they leave Trevor, it just goes downhill in such a weird, nauseating way and you get to the end and just feel messed with.

But overall, I think your point is taken and I kind of agree with that. I think we have to not look at Nolan's films and Green Lantern or Jonah Hex as being what they are doing now. And it'll be interesting to see, once we get a second installment, what the true nature of all this is gonna be. But I think you're right, with any kind of art, making records, or tv shows or movies in series, that quickly cooking things down to a really basic formula and in a sense, just repeating that over and over is kind of the way to make people happy. And after that, you introduce variation.

In Phase 1, this was actually a thing I was worried about Marvel. Iron Man 2, Thor, Cap... it started to feel like a bit of range of mediocre. Thor was way different from Cap, but both just sat there, I felt in the middle. I feel like Avengers blew that up, not that it was incredibly any particular way, but more just it was fun and a great reset button. Phase 2, I couldn't be happier with the way it's shaping up. The movies might not be to everyone's liking, but they are what they are, and definitely what they are. And still hopefully keeping some coherency and feeling of being of one piece with themselves. We'll see about that, I guess. but consistency can really hurt this kind of stuff too. And I'm glad to see Marvel consciously be moving in different directions to counter that weakness.

It's a thing that is tougher to pull off if you don't do very many movies. Becuz everything that sticks out, sticks out all that much more, and everything that is the same, feels more the same.

But I think, it's of course important for them to look at what Marvel is doing, but ultimately, like @0mega is sayingm and u also, i think... you gotta be willing to bet on your own characters. And just do them right, and not really look around, cuz there's a reason why you've been successful so far, and it's starting with that.

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