The DC Extended Universe currently has three films under its belt, and several more on the way. Wonder Woman is scheduled to release on June 2, 2017, and Justice League will follow shortly after, hitting theaters on November 17, 2017. But if Man of Steel and Batman v Superman are anything to go by, we might be in for a disappointing ride.
It's old news that the #DCEU is struggling to get on its feet. With Man of Steel receiving a 55 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and Batman v Superman receiving a 27 percent on the same site, it's no surprise The DCEU faces an uphill battle. Is there any way these challenges might be made easier? Specifically, what would be a good example for the DCEU to follow in order to boost their standing with audiences?
The Original Superman Films
Widely considered as one of the best superhero films of all time, Superman (1978) brought to life the character of Clark Kent in both an emotional and heroic way. It's primary focus was to shed light on the character of #Superman, rather than stuff the movie full of senseless action, as many current movies do. The movie is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a solid 93 percent rating.
Its sequel was equally successful and received an 89 percent on the same site. The sequels that followed plummeted in quality, and are actually considered some of the worst superhero films to date, with Superman III receiving a 26 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and Superman IV receiving a ridiculous 12 percent! However, since the first two films were so successful, let's use them as our model to compare The DC Extended Universe to.
What Made Them So Successful?
The first two Superman movies contained elements that heavily attracted audiences. Among these were: romance, action and humor. These are what brought Superman and his pals to life and served to create not simply two successful movies, but classics!
The banter between Lois and Clark (a.k.a. Superman) draws the audience in. We are constantly kept wondering how Lois can be so in love with Superman, but fail to recognize that he is Clark Kent, despite how close of friends they are! This is where the humor comes in. The audience knows that Clark is Superman, and Lois Lane's ignorance to this keeps the audience laughing.
In Superman II, when Clark reveals to Lois that he is in fact Superman Lois' reaction is priceless. We finally get to see the two fall in love the way we wanted them to. It's almost like something out of a Shakespeare play. The mask (glasses) is taken off, and his true self is revealed to the one he loves. Beautiful!
The action in the films keeps us on our toes. While the romance and comedy keep the film lighthearted and fun, the action provides us with something to jump up and down about! Part of what makes these films so great is that, although the action scenes are great to watch, Superman rarely ever solves his problems with violence.
In the first film, he has to convince Miss Teschmacher to free him from the Kryptonite placed around his neck by Lex Luthor. Later in the movie he flies around the Earth, reversing time, to save Lois Lane from her death. In the second film (although he does seemingly kill General Zod and his gang) he uses his intelligence to outsmart Zod and trick him into giving up his powers.
Where Could The DCEU Borrow From 'Superman I' And 'Superman II'?
The DC Extended Universe has a lot to learn from the original Superman films. For one, they need to stop focusing on action and violence, and start honing in on more character depth. I'm not saying they should copy from the Superman films so much that the DCEU becomes a mess of lighthearted action, romance and comedy. What I am saying is that if they start focusing on character development and relationships between characters, they will start to experience higher ratings and better reviews. The action in the films should always be secondary, and serve as important added visual stimulation. Unfortunately, the current DCEU films have it backward, with the action coming first and character development being put on the back burner.
What is your opinion of the original Superman films? Let me know in the comments below!