Unless you've been out in the back country hunting Bigfoot or something, you know that the latest movie offering from D.C. Comics, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, blasted into theaters last month. The response has been less than jubilant. The movie certainly has its defenders. I myself thought BvS was worth seeing just because Ben Affleck made for a pretty kick-ass Batman. But, good Lord, this movie pissed a lot of people off.
The prevailing opinion seems to be the BvS is too dark and humorless to be much fun. It also suffers from a jumbled, incoherent storyline and a truly horrific portrayal of main Superman baddie Lex Luthor. The film opened huge, but has been in box office free fall ever since. The drop-off has been so extreme that a lot of people are calling the flick a flop.
Ok, hold it right there, Spinach Chin. As far as I know, BvS is currently $300 million in the black, so I wouldn't call it a flop. But I can see the point. A movie featuring three of the most well-known and beloved characters in the whole of pop culture ought to be doing "Avatar" or "The Force Awakens" numbers.
Warner Brothers execs are so worried about the drop-off the they've rearranged their D.C. Comics movie schedule to get a solo Batman flick on the fast track, since they can't seem to make a decent D.C. universe movie that doesn't star Batman. And additional scenes are being shot to inject some humor and lightness into the forthcoming Suicide Squad, since all the funny scenes in the movie have been featured in the trailers and the rest of the movie is a bum out.
Clearly, the future of the D.C. Movie Universe (or whatever the hell you call it) is suddenly in doubt and needs to be fixed. Luckily for the morons at Warner Brothers and D.C., I have a few suggestions.
- SHAKE UP THE CREATIVE TEAM - David Goyer has been involved with D.C.'s movies since Batman Begins and Dawn of Justice is the third time Zack Snyder's sat in the director's chair of a D.C. Comics movie. I know Snyder's already signed on for two future Justice League movies, and he is truly a talented visual stylist, but he doesn't always tell cohesive stories and he rarely is able to elevate mediocre material. And his films are ALWAYS dark. Watch Sucker Punch if you don't believe me. As for Goyer, he's apparently not coming back for Justice League, which is good since he's a hack who got lucky that he worked with Christopher Nolan on the Dark Knight movies. But yeah. A change in writer and director could be what D.C. movies need.
- STOP GIVING US SHITTY VILLAINS - Nolan got the bad guys right in his Bat Trilogy, but the baddies in the Man of Steel movies have been far less than awesome. Michael Shannon is a terrific actor, but his performance as Zod was comically over the top. Remember his "I WILL FIND HIM" tirade? I don't think I should've been laughing at that. As for Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luther, that was a fucking dumpster fire. Couldn't Snyder or SOMEBODY told Homeboy to dial it back a bit? And Doomsday, the Space Troll? Let's not go there. So, D.C., please stop ruining your bad guys by turning them into over-acted cartoon characters.
- FIGURE OUT WHAT MAKES YOUR CHARACTERS COOL - If there's one thing that everyone making Marvel movies seems to get, it's what makes their characters so beloved. They start with that and build their movies from there. D.C. seems so obsessed with setting their movies apart from the MCU and making up for the "sillyness" present in the comics, that they bypass what makes their characters so beloved. We love Superman because he's better than we could ever be, because he knows who he is and the difference between right and wrong. Seeing Supes as a gloomy, conflicted Pearl Jam fan is just wrong. To borrow better line than I could ever come up with, I don't want to see sweat stains under Superman's arms. I want to see him fly.
- FINALLY, STOP TAKING YOURSELVES SO FUCKING SERIOUSLY - Comics fans want to see their favorite characters treated with respect and taken seriously, but D.C. seems to think that means injecting their movies with all the inner turmoil of a fucking Ingmar Bergman film. And that can work for Batman, but it doesn't work so well for Superman. Superman is a bright, shining figure of all that's good, and he should be portrayed that way. And if they can't figure out how to loosen up and have some fun, Justice League is gonna suck. So, take the sticks out of your asses and have a few laughs, D.C.
Of course, D.C. isn't gonna listen to some guy from the middle of nowhere who doesn't even own a single Batman action figure. But, as a movie fan, I want to see the D.C. movies succeed. And I think maybe some of changes could really help. Lighten up a bit, and I think you'll be laughing your way to box office history.