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Movies & TV / Columns

5 Ways to Fix DC’s Movies

December 11, 2017 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
justice league

Last week Variety reported that Warner Bros. is planning a shake-up and restructuring of its DC Films operation following the box office disappointment of Justice League. They went on to say that Jon Berg will be leaving his current job running the comic book’s film production division and a search is underway for his replacement.

“This is something that Jon approached me about six months ago, and he expressed his goal was to ultimately be a producer at the studio,” Warner Bros. Picture Group President Toby Emmerich said in a statement to Variety. “I first met Jon when, as a producer, he brought Elf to New Line, which remains one of the best and most evergreen titles in the library. We’re thrilled that Jon is partnering with Roy and anticipate their company being a valuable source of movies for Warner Bros. and New Line.”

Like a number of other people who write columns for pop culture websites, I quickly started dreaming up ways they could shake things up and fix the DC cinematic universe.

it’s easy for us to sit back and take easy cracks at what’s working and not working. While you could easily make a list of 20 things, I’ll just cover 5 and leave the rest for you to fill in below in the comments.

Future Endeavor Zack Snyder
While there are no immediate plans for Snyder to direct another DC movie, he is producing or executive producing several projects, including Wonder Wzoman 2 and Aquaman. Also, Warner Bros. continues to have a production deal with Snyder, so it’s possible he could direct additional films for the studio.

But they need to let Snyder and his DC universe vision go. Universe building is no easy task and his way is just not working. Snyder can create some spectacular visuals but he lacks the proper partner who can pair those with equally strong storytelling and characterization.

For DC movies to grow, Snyder has to be separated from any oversight position.

Throw Out Marvel’s Playbook
Marvel has a working blueprint for their movies and it’s been a proven success at the box office and with critics. DC has tried to copy this formula and, for several reasons, they haven’t had the same results. While Wonder Woman bucked this trend by seemingly using the Marvel way, there was enough in that movie that stood on its own and could be used.

Ask anyone what the difference between Marvel and DC and you’ll get an array of answers. From location to relatability, each publisher (for the most part) plays to their strengths by remembering those differences. That needs to carry over to the movies.

Acknowledge History
You know what I want to see in a DC movie? The opening scenes opens with a funeral for a member of the JSA, someone like the old Star-Spangled Kid, and Superman’s giving the eulogy. I want an Easter egg pan of the crowd to give us an idea of how rich and full the DC universe is. We’ve seen those scenes plenty of times in the comics and causal fans would take notice that DC distinction from Marvel. Give me glimpses of Brainiac 5, Hawkman, Doctor Fate, Beast Boy, maybe even Ambush Bug in the background. Fill it with everyone you can and let fans have fun finding filling in the blanks.

For years I’ve fan fictioned by pitch for DC by suggesting they do a World’s Finest trilogy with Superman and Batman with other DC heroes making cameos . Show them as friends who respect one another, even though they have differences in techniques.

Oh, and I’d have Lobo be the first villain, who’s working with Lex Luthor, who comes to Earth to tangle with Superman. Make Lobo go toe-to-toe with the Man of Steel while Batman deals with the solving the mystery of Lobo’s purpose. I’m getting ahead of myself but it’s fun to play around with the possibilities.

Middle Budget Movies
Movie budgets are out of control. DC can scale back and tell character driven stories with smart use of CGI. It lowers the risk and puts focus on creative storytelling. Bring in new talent to infuse the universe with new visions and take risks.

Villains
One of Marvel’s main stumbling blocks is its lack of memorable supervillains. Outside of Loki, they’ve had more misses than hits. DC is filled with a long line of villains who could really make an impact on the big screen. From Darkseid and Mr. Freeze to the Joker and Mongul, by really putting focus on establishing compelling and entertaining villains, your heroes will look that much better.

What about you? Should they keep the movie and TV universes separate from each other? What about a comic book line dedicated to solely movie continuity to help the casual theatergoer get into comic books? Let us know below!