How I Would Have Done It: The DC Cinematic Universe

April 21, 2017
by Alan Contino

Let’s skip DC having to do the waiting game and say they decided to go the Marvel route, but take their own formula and one-up them…How? Well, let me tell you!

With the recent release of the newest “Justice League” trailer, fans are once again split into two camps… The one’s who loved Batman/Superman and those who didn’t. The fans who were giddy with the joy of just getting to see a Parademon appear on screen and the ones who just couldn’t get past the “Martha!” of it all.

Now, I’m not saying there aren’t plenty of upside to parts of that film. I personally think much of the casting was spot on, sans Eisenberg’s Lex and Miller’s Flash. On top of that, the action was handled beautifully, which is Zach Snyder’s standard MO to be fair… But the sum total of the enjoyable parts didn’t create an enjoyable whole. I won’t even go into Suicide Squad. My point is, in an attempt to not miss “the superhero craze,” DC skipped building a universe where their heroes could stand alone, let alone together.

Avengers worked because we had been introduced to most of the characters beforehand; while clearly meant to be part of something larger, they all stood on their own two feet. Justice League has the risk of falling flat, depending on how they handle introducing their characters. Sure, we were “technically” introduced to Aquaman, Cyborg, Flash, and Wonder Woman in
“Dawn of Justice,” they were all just superficial head nods towards what was to come with no relevant information as to how they fit into the larger world… how they fit into their own individual worlds. The upcoming “Wonder Woman” film will remedy some of those issues, but they’ll still have to take the time in “Justice League” to fill us in on, not just three minor characters, but three members of the friggin’ Justice League. How they expect to introduce the world of three characters, while simultaneously moving the films own plot forward, is beyond me. Cyborg is easy enough, with all the hullabaloo about Mother Boxes throughout the trailers we’ve seen, so that’s pretty straightforward… but with Aquaman they’re introducing, not just him, but all of Atlantis and many of his supporting characters… we even see his once and future wife Mera…

Once again I’ve gotten off track… We could debate the DC cinematic universe for days… but this is how I would have done it…

First, DC should have looked at how Marvel started their cinematic universe. With 2008’s release of Iron Man, Marvel started the long journey towards, not just the first Avengers film, but a gigantic, cohesive and connected cinematic universe… something never truly done before in film. Yes, Nick Fury popped up after the credits to let us know they were planning a larger
world… but Iron Man 2 was by no means a guarantee. Marvel may have had plans for years down the road, but they didn’t get ahead of themselves. In their mind’s eye, they knew where they wanted to end up, but until the ball started to truly roll they took it one film at a time, not showing the cards in the hand until they were ready. But let’s skip DC having to do the waiting
game and say they decided to go the Marvel route, but take their own formula and one-up them…

How? Well, let me tell you!

Though this year, will see Marvel Studio’s first three-film release year; they stuck to two films a year for the entirety of the few couple “phases” of their films. DC should look to copy that. But this is where they can one-up them. Instead of two films a year leading to a Justice League Film, you have the two films a year lead to two Justice League Films. One of your standard Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman led JL team… the other being a Justice League Dark film. So, for example, one year you release a Batman film and a Constantine film. The following year you do Superman and another one of the “dark” universe characters, let’s say Swamp Thing. You continue that method until the main characters on each team have been established. Then, to top Marvel once again, instead of jumping into more solo films after Justice League and Justice League Dark, you bring the two teams together for an “event film”… which is what Marvel is billing Avengers 4 and 5 as, but let’s face it… they’re still Avengers film… not that there is anything wrong with that… but imagine being able to go see a “Crisis” DC universe event film that brings together the ginormous plethora of characters at their disposal. Following the event film, they could delve back into sequels of the first couple solo films, or they could go a different route and have team up films or solo films for lesser known characters built into each bigger character’s universe. The mind boggles at the thought of the possibility of what could have

And that’s how I would have done it!

Ian Bensman
President, NRM Streamcast