ByHarish Chengaiah, writer at
I am a massive comic book geek and you can find the most reliable and accurate information on all the DC and Marvel movies right here !
Harish Chengaiah

UPDATE: As I said down below upcoming DC movies indeed has humor to induce levity and keep audiences engaged but it's more of a situational humor than over the top and constant humor like Marvel movies. The trailer #2 of Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice proves it.

Okay I gotta put it out here for everyone to see, this topic needs to be addressed once and for all so that there's no misunderstanding and pointless blabbering within the movie going market.

DC movies from 2013 onwards (Man of Steel) are getting vocal criticisms and bashing on the tone they have chosen for their shared universe franchise which is known as DC Extended Universe (DCEU). To put it out simply their tone can be explained with terms like.......

  • Dark
  • Gritty
  • Grim
  • Edgy
  • Overly Serious

But there are fans and critics around the world who believe that this is a completely ridiculous move by WB and DC because movies aren't "fun and entertaining" when they are dark and gritty as they end up being depressing and lackluster!

Here's Their Reasoning

These people, they believe only Batman fits with the dark, gritty and overly serious tone and other heroes from DC like Superman, Aquaman etc won't fit this tone at all and thus they believe it's a misguided and stupid decision by WB Studios to force their "The Dark Knight Trilogy" blueprint over an entire franchise comprising of extremely different characters!

Are they right? Let's find out!

Universal Truth #1: Content Dictates Tone

Everyone and their grandma knows that no matter what, only the story and the characters within that story dictates the tone and theme that's required for a given movie.

Out of place? that's what I am talking about.
Out of place? that's what I am talking about.

Because at the end of the day, tone has to go hand in hand with the story and characters otherwise everything looks like a puzzle with improper puzzle pieces AKA one helluva mess.

Universal Truth About The Content (DC Comics)

DC Comics has gone through many reboots over the years but if there's one thing that is common with DC Comics, is it's tone. Right from 1980's onwards DC Comics had a distinctive dark and gritty tone in it's comic book universe.

That would include story lines like Justice League series, Batman series, Aquaman series, Superman series so on and so forth, even the cheery and lighthearted characters like Flash, Shazam, Constantine and Green Lantern have story lines that are termed serious and grim because of the struggles and complexities they face in their solo series. (Take a look at Final Crisis, Green Lantern Rebirth, Blackest Night, New 52 Flash and Shazam etc go get a hold of what I am saying)

Yes characters like Flash, Green Lantern, Shazam, Constantine and others are undoubtedly the comic relief and they bring a cheery and lighthearted element into the play but when you look at the overall story........... DC Universe is a really grim and gritty place to be in, that's how the source material is, so it's not something that WB and Zack Snyder are trying to emulate from The Dark Knight Trilogy.

Universal Truth #2: Lighthearted And Humorous Doesn't Always Mean Entertaining And Successful Movies!

Actually I don't know why people have this opinion that movies have to be lighthearted and humorous to be engaging and entertaining, well in a way they are accurate because we have movies like The Avengers, Furious 7 and Pirates of the Caribbean franchise which are wildly successful critically and commercially and they are fun pop corn flicks.

But on the other hand it doesn't mean every single block buster movie has to be lighthearted and humorous to be an entertaining and successful and we have a long list of examples to prove that right.

Short Case Study On Non-Lighthearted Movies

Take a look at these insanely popular and extremely successful movies.....

Hunger Games Film Franchise - 2012 to 2015

Lord of the Rings Trilogy - 2001 to 2003

Harry Potter Franchise - 2001 to 2011

The Dark Knight Trilogy - 2004 to 2012

Inception - 2010

By now you could have sensed the pattern right, these movies are very serious and gritty in their tone and they are absolutely not the regular lighthearted pop corn flicks.

These movies have little humor, most of the times the humor are limited to situational comedy/humor, yet one cannot deny the box office domination these movies had right and one cannot deny the critical successes of these movies as well, why because it was damn entertaining and fun!

This goes on to prove that the so called "Dark and Gritty" PG-13 movies are extremely successful and are enjoyed and loved by millions all over the world and it's definitely not something parents are afraid to show to their kids. (because there's nothing to hide)

So DC Movie Franchise Is Going To Be Dark & Gritty All Throughout???

Not exactly you see film makers, they have a habit of balancing things out, for example you see even franchises that have a serious and grim tones are known to use people known as comic relief to keep things engaging, for example.......

We had the Weasley twins from Harry Potter series and Gimli from Lord of the Rings trilogy as a source of comic relief in the respective franchise, similarly we will have characters like Flash, Shazam, Steve Trevor, Constantine, Killer Croc and others who will induce the comic relief into the movies to balance things out when it's needed, simple enough?

Wrapping Up

So yes Superman has killed people before in the comics, he's been a loner and he's also known for brooding, there are times when he goes on rage mode as well. So Man of Steel was indeed a movie which was very close to the source material and it wasn't a mindless replication of The Dark Knight trilogy, similarly the rest of DCEU won't be either because that's how DC Comics are "Dark & Gritty". Thus the best way forward to treat their franchise.


Do you believe 'Dark & Gritty' is the right approach for DCEU?


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