Just when we thought the controversy-strewn DCEU had reached a point of hopeful optimism — Wonder Woman looks awesome, Justice League is promising, and we're all excited about The Batman — yet another rumor has come out, claiming that the DCEU's first big hero team-up movie is "a mess". A week without DCEU scandals is a week not well spent in Hollywood, as they don't say but they really should.
According to fansite Batman On Film, insider reports have pointed towards #JusticeLeague having such a messy plot that this has delayed production of Ben Affleck's #TheBatman — because that makes sense.
Is this totally unfounded fear-mongering to churn the rumor mill that feeds our daily social media diet? Almost definitely. However, when it comes to the DCEU anything is possible, especially the idea that a Zack Snyder directed movie is a mess. I mean, this has already happened at least twice.
Since the "mess" allegations came out, Justice League scriptwriter Will Beall has told Collider that the film will be fun, at least.
"I think Justice League again is, what you’re going to see — I hope I’m not going to get in trouble for saying this — but it’s much more fun, much poppier, than … I haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet, but Batman vs Superman was a little more somber. But Justice League is a lot more fun. And I think that feels to me like the direction those movies are heading now."
Thank the nerd gods for that, because Justice League has not had the easiest production so far...
A Difficult Production
Just in case you're in doubt that there's a high chance that Justice League will step on all our dreams just like Suicide Squad did before it, here's some concrete evidence that the super-friends' road has been a rocky one.
First off there's the overhaul given to the script after the critical failure of #BatmanvSuperman, rewrites ordered by Geoff Johns soon after he deposed Zack Snyder as creative overlord of the DCEU. Boy, would I have paid good money to be a fly on the wall of the WB's Watchtower that day.
Ouch. But after this happened, Warner Bros. released a trailer for Justice League that was nothing if not bombastic, capitalizing off fan excitement to present the movie as the epic superhero team-up movie you've been waiting for since you kind of got bored of Marvel's cookie-cutter approach.
Then there was the open letter (read: pissed-off rant) to WB from an anonymous former employee, calling Zack Snyder out for "not delivering" and "screwing up" on the production of Batman v Superman and Justice League. And now we've got another anonymous internet writer telling us Snyder's creations are "a mess".
So basically, drama. Drama as far as even Superman's super eye can see. And while this makes for an enjoyable evening of internet-trawling, should we take all this as a sign that Justice League won't be good? And more importantly, should we care?
For The Love Of Zeus, Just Make It Fun
Look, personally, I don't even care any more if DCEU movies are a mess. (Apart from #WonderWoman. For multiple reasons, I need that one to be objectively awesome.) I don't watch DCEU movies because I want quality entertainment. I've got the Marvel Netflix shows for that. I watch the DCEU movies because somewhere halfway through Batman v Superman (when Clark hallucinated his father on a mountain and I was far into my third beer), I had an epiphany.
The DCEU movies are enjoyable because they're controversial. Half the fun of them is coming out of the cinema and arguing with your mates about whether Snyder's heavily stylized cinematography is artistic, or just plain pretentious. Then you get to argue all over again, this time with fans online who are absolutely determined to believe that actually, really, critics are all idiots and Batman v Superman was the masterpiece of our time. It's great!
Conversely, when coming out of Doctor Strange I just felt kind of let down. Sure, that movie was fine, but it was so much a Marvel product that you could watch Iron Man through a kid's kaleidoscope (or through an acid-trip haze), and it would basically be the same movie. Batman v Superman might have been a mess, but it was like nothing else that had come before it, and I appreciated that — overwrought religious imagery and all.
Having said that, there's only so much of Snyder's dour, cyan-Instagram-filtered creations that I can take. So yes, it's fine if Justice League is a mess... as long as it's a fun mess. Which is exactly what the trailer made it out to be.
Complete with clashing guitars and dumb one-liners, the trailer was absolutely perfect. Batman's not riddled with existential angst, he's a lame dad-joke type now! Wonder Woman's the cool aunt, Aquaman's hot as hell, and the Flash just needs friends, poor lad. (Cyborg is... also there.) I honestly don't know if I was watching the trailer for a superhero movie or a sitcom about a mismatched team and to be honest, that's exactly what Justice League needs to be.
Just as The CW's DC shows proved, fun is the key to comic book content. We don't really want to watch super-privileged superheroes mope their way through a summer blockbuster. We want something entertaining and intriguing and yeah, a mess is okay — especially if it comes out of an attempt at an atypical plot — but only as long as it's tongue-in-cheek and totally self-aware.
Let's face it, at the end of the day these people are being paid millions of dollars to dress up in tights and recreate comic books. They should at least be having fun with that — and if not, then we just get another Suicide Squad. And no-one, no-one, wants that.