When the Marvel revolution happened in the sixties, it grew on the shoulders of an idea and the dream of one, Stan Lee. That idea was that superheroes shouldn't just be cookie-cutter, generic templates. The alien. The War Hero. The Scientist. The Vigilante. The Millionaire Playboy. The God. No. Lee believed that the heroes needed to grow out of their infancy and become REAL. He made his opening volley in '63-64 with real people who happened to have super powers.
The war hero became a man out of time; a throwback to a bygone age. The Scientist became the tortured monster at war with himself. The Millionaire Playboy became the armored hero of us all with a big ego and a drinking problem. The God became one of us and found out what it was like to be mortal. And so it went. DC still seems to struggle a bit with this concept.
Let's look at the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first trilogy run of Spiderman grossed over a billion worldwide and Amazing Spiderman 1 took in a quarter of a million dollars. All hits in their own rights, no matter what you thought of the films. Why? Besides the fact that Spiderman was the first big, box office movie for Marvel heroes in a while, I think the bottom line was the fact that most could relate with Peter Parker.
You see, Peter Parker is just like most of us were at one time. He was and will eternally be remembered as an awkward teen age who moons for the hot girl, but never gets her (or does he?). He goes to school and is oppressed by the bullies and yet rises above it and becomes the hero. We cringe when he tries to ask Mary Jane out. We laugh as he cracks almost middle-school like jokes. We cry when he loses his Uncle. We FEEL for him. We RELATE to him.
THIS is my second point. If DC is to compete with Marvel in the box office, they HAVE to make their heroes relatable. That is the main problem I have with the DC Trinity. How can I relate with Batman? The Millionaire Playboy who has all the cool toys and becomes an icon for justice in a dark city? But there IS a man in there and I'm not sure, after seven movies, they have truly shown him to us. The Amazon Princess? Can't wait to see how they bring her 'down to Earth'. And, then, there's Superman.
This is where I see hope for the DC/Warner Brothers Universe and the future JLA movie. MAN OF STEEL did one thing that it learned well form it's Television counterparts and is why shows like SMALLVILLE and ARROW thrive so well. We see the man in the MAN OF STEEL. It's a hard stretch for a writer and I respect the man who can do it. So, David S. Groyer, I salute you! Because he took a character who is so much beyond us and showed us not only that aspect, but he opened Clark Kent up and dissected him for all to see. I've had many tell me that his 'murderous' actions at the end of the movie ruin the whole flick, but I think this shows us more of his character than we could have ever hoped for.
Now, DC has to do with Batman and Wonder Woman what they have done with the Man of Steel. We need a reason to care about them. It's not enough to bring in characters around them that we relate and care about. The screen writers and executives at Warner Brothers will have to open up the other parts of the trinity without making them out to be mushy and weak. We need to see what motivates them. We need to know more than Wayne lost his parents; we need to know how it fuels him and pushes him to do what he does. We need to see beyond the bigger than life costumes and amazing physiques and know the people who have become legends to us. I'm not sure how to do this with Wonder Woman. I've never been a big fan. But, if you research the mounds of information about her in the decades of stories, I'm sure you'll find the real Wonder in Wonder Woman.