How to Save the DC Extended Universe

In the last week, we’ve gotten rumors that after declining to direct the solo Batman movie, Ben Affleck really wants to be let out of his contract as Batman. We also heard that Mel Gibson was a front runner for directing the second Suicide Squad movie.

It’s really sad that Ben Affleck wants out, because he was an amazing Batman, and one of the few good things about the new universe. If he does leave, though, don’t recast Batman. Go straight to Nightwing. We’ve not seen Nightwing in live action before. It would be a breath of fresh air, and would be a legitimately interesting thing to do. Mel Gibson? Why? The best I can guess, is that they thought, “well the characters are crazy, so let’s get a director who is crazy.”

As with other critics, I’ve been harsh when it comes to DC movies. In my case, it’s because I’ve been so filled with disappointment. I want these movies to be good. I want to be excited. I want to rewatch them. I saw The Dark Knight in the theater like four or five times in IMAX. Sadly, they have made more than a few mistakes with their Extended Universe, and so I thought I’d give my suggestions on how to fix it.

First, stop trying to imitate Marvel. Yes, Marvel movies have the post credits scene. That doesn’t mean you have to have them. We like when Marvel does it because they add to the story. We don’t like it when you do it, because you do it badly. You’re trying to force us to be excited for Justice League, while simultaneously skipping the whole “get us interested in the characters” part. Also, you missed your chance, by including one in Suicide Squad, while not having any in Man of Steel or Batman VERSUS Superman. And while I’m at it, stop with the “V” bullshit. Batman V Superman? Are you trying to be cute? Or are you just trying to annoy the fans. You know that nerds are usually the same people who nitpick grammar, right?

“Oh. Marvel has the Infinity Stones? Well we’ll have the Mother Boxes. Marvel has team up movies, well we’ll have a team up movie of good guys and a team up movie of bad guys.” It’s pathetic and uncreative.

Next, figure out your characters. To paraphrase Patton Oswalt, Batman gets to brood. We don’t need an entire cast of tormented characters. Superman is supposed to be an idealist. He’s supposed to be a beacon of what Americans should be. He’s not supposed to be a whiny little baby who’s sad and angry that people don’t like him. That is why we have Trump.

On a related note, figure out what your characters are NOT. The whole point of the Suicide Squad is that they do the missions the government can’t officially sanction. Saving a leading government operative from INSIDE the US, is exactly the type of thing the US government would do. We don’t need the Suicide Squad for that. That scene where Enchantress steals the Iranian paperwork? THAT is what the Suicide Squad does. They are the Dirty Dozen with super powers, not a special Black Ops team.

Side Suggestion: Stop cockblocking the TV Shows. Arrow was building a very good Suicide Squad, (keyword=BUILDING, as in over time, and not rushed) but then they were told they had to stop because the Suicide Squad movie was green lit. Why? WB thought the audience would get confused. Well, the people who would get confused, aren’t the fans. The fans are what keep superhero movies successful. Besides, we’ve got a TV Flash and a movie Flash. So let the Arrowverse do it’s thing. It’s clearly doing better than the movies. Don’t fuck it up.

Third, rather than focusing on setting up future movies, make movies that will cause the audience to demand future movies. Yeah, I get that you’re playing catch up with Marvel, but you’re already a decade behind. Take the time to do it correctly. People were very critical of Man of Steel. People didn’t like the ending. They didn’t like the previously mentioned character alterations to Superman. So why the fuck would you base your movie universe on that? I’m sure you would have rather based it on Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. You know why it was successful? Because Nolan had a clear vision on what he wanted the story to be. He wasn’t haphazardly shoehorning things in with the hope that enough nerds would like it that he’d get to make more movies. He focused on telling a story.

Finally, and most importantly, get the Warner Brothers Executives the fuck away from the material. Between rewrites and reshoots, it’s been clear that WB has no idea how superhero movies work. They need to back off, and let the people who love the source material, make the movies. By far, the best superhero movie of 2016 was Deadpool, and the reason it was so successful was because it was allowed to follow the source material and tell the story the creative team wanted to tell. The execs are interested in making money. I get that. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is that they seem to be forgetting that the quality of the product has more to do with how much money they make than name recognition. Stop trying to force superhero movies to fit into the scope of other genres. Let superhero movies be themselves.

In the end, children will always buy the toys, and nerds will always watch the movies. That means that each movie is going to automatically generate a certain amount of money. The point is that if WB wants to make more than that, they have to make a product that people want to see multiple times. They must appeal to the nerd army. The average movie goer will see a movie with flying people and an 80s band worth of spandex, and no matter how much action it has or how many one liners it has, will not wait in line to see it again. They won’t preorder the Super Duper Deluxe Kryptonian Boxset with Detailed Action Figure. So fuck them. Make the movies for the nerds. We are the ones who enjoy these movies. We are the ones who get wet every time we see an easter egg or reference. We’re the ones who spend hours on the internet and YouTube talking about this topic. WE ARE YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC. It’s like they are trying to make movies that everyone likes, and doing it poorly, when they should be making movies that fewer people like, but who like it more than almost anything else.

Either that, or show tits. That will work, too.

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