Despite instantly becoming a top-selling movie of 2016 and securing approximately $900 million worldwide, many critics consider Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice to be a flop. There are many reasons given for this: the movie felt long and dry in the beginning, there was a lack of humor, the movie was dark and depressing, and it just felt less fun overall when compared to Marvel movies. Many of these critics probably felt the same way with Man of Steel which launched the DC Cinematic Universe.
Warner Bros. Was Smart to Keep Zack Snyder
Despite an onslaught of negative media attention and heavy criticism of Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. decided to keep Zack Snyder on as director for the Justice League movie. This was smart for several reasons. The first is that Dawn of Justice succeeded at the box office earning almost $900 million. Neither of Snyder's DC movies were a flop. Second, thus far into the DC Cinematic Universe, the casting of heroes and major characters has been incredible. With the possible exception of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, all of the actors have been pretty solid. Additionally, the costumes for Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman have been equally impressive. I think that Zack Snyder deserves some credit for this. Third, the media feeds off destroying people. Even prior to the release of Batman vs Superman, there were many stories about how Warner Bros. was fearful about what the reception would be and how they were way behind Marvel. Giving the press credence through firing Snyder would make Warner Bros. and DC look very weak.
In my opinion, the biggest problem that people had with Batman vs Superman was that it was too deep and difficult for them to understand. Most people go into superhero movies looking for something light that does not involve too much thinking. Christopher Pine who stars in the Star Trek series and is set to play Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman (another amazing casting decision) recently described this perfectly in an interview with SFX about Star Trek Into Darkness.
"You can’t make a cerebral Star Trek in 2016. It just wouldn’t work in today’s marketplace. You can hide things in there – ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ has crazy, really demanding questions and themes, but you have to hide it under the guise of wham-bam explosions and planets blowing up. It’s very, very tricky."
In Batman vs Superman, Snyder tried to create a very cerebral movie. There was a lot of heavy duty symbolism and comic book references. Unfortunately many people viewed those scenes as either slow or confusing. In superhero movies, they expect action, explosions, fun, and a movie that doesn't need to be watched multiple times in order for it to be understood. For example, the flashpoint scene that referenced the Injustice video game was likely extremely confusing to people that were unfamiliar with those two different storylines.
The Justice League Movie Is Going to be More Enjoyable
In an attempt to change the harsh media narrative, Warner Bros. invited a whole bunch of journalists and critics alike to a day on set of the Justice League. They showed reporters a few scenes being filmed, some drawn out depictions of what the visual effects will bring to the screen, and some of the sets that will be used.
During that time with reporters, Zack Snyder explained how he was a little caught off guard with the reaction to BvS. He also explained how he had to make a slight adjustment to the tone that he wanted to set. In many previous interviews, he placed a tremendous emphasis on the tone. For example, he used it as an explanation for why Grant Gustin was not casted as the Flash. He clearly wanted a much darker tone to contrast with Marvel. Now with this adjustment to the tone, Justice League will be much more kid friendly and happier overall than BvS. Hopefully this movie will be redemption for Zack Snyder.
What I Want to See
Ultimately I am confident that the DC Cinematic Universe will be successful because of the solid foundation that has been laid out. I like how it is different than Marvel movies. Even though they are going to try to lighten the tone a little, I like how there will be a different experience overall with DC. There are a few things; however, that I think they could do, learning from Marvel.
Save the Important Villains
One thing that I wished Marvel did was to save some of the villains in their movies so that they could have the Cabal. While they might be able to still do that, they have seemingly killed off many of the key members such as the Red Skull. In their movies, DC should save as much of the villains as possible, so that they can form the Injustice League. Seeing an entire team of heroes face off against an entire team of villains would be a lot of fun.
Have a TV Universe
Recently it has appeared that DC's cinematic universe has been undermining their television universe and it has been really awkward. DC should allow the TV universe to have access to all the main characters such as Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and as they have already done so with Superman. It makes sense why they did not want to have Grant Gustin play Barry Allen on the big screen. Having the movies tied to the television would be problematic, because of scheduling issues with the actors and the fact that most TV shows tend to fall apart after the first few season (Arrow is the perfect example). Each universe should stay separate but they could have fun cameos with the actors from the alternate universe. Grant Gustin should cameo in a scene with Ezra Millers's flash for example.
Incorporate the gods of Olympus
I have always been intrigued by the similarities between the Greek gods and the Justice League. The Gods of Olympus are referenced in many DC comics and it appears that they will be referenced in the movies as well; supposedly, Zeus brought the mother boxes to Earth. It would be cool if the gods of Olympus were extra-dimensional beings that fought Darkseid, lost, and most of them had died. As a result of their death, they then reincarnate on several planets. Darkseid and Braniac kill off most of those planets except earth. Superman could have been a reincarnate of Zeus who found his way to Earth and therefore, there are two reincarnated on earth (the other being Shazam). Some of the gods that died created energy fields to support their reincarnates. Hermes, for example, could have created the speedforce giving his reincarnates access to all his powers.
That particular story I had in mind probably wouldn't work. But it will be cool if DC incorporates some of the ancient Greek mythos into their movies. Right now, it appears that they will.
Explain How Batman Gets His Toys
Based on what I have read about the Flying Fox and the Night Crawler, it would seem that people would know that Bruce Wayne is either the Batman or in cahoots with him. Based on some of the reports I have read and videos I have seen from the journalists that were on set, I am not alone in this. If they could provide an explanation as to how Bruce Wayne acquires all his toys. Maybe a a worker his company knew he was the Batman and built stuff for him before latter dying. It would just be nice if there was an explanation about how he gets all this stuff while maintaining his secret identity.
Be Careful With the Flash
I am a little biased here, the Flash is my favorite character. I like how they are trying to make him funny. It appears that he is going to be cocky like Tony Stark and youthful like Spiderman was in Civil War. But I remember an animated series of the Justice League that portrayed him that way. Unfortunately, in the series, he was considered the joke of the team. The Flash is very powerful and should be treated that way.
Also, and this has been my biggest concern......the costume. Thus far, the Flash's costume has been a bit of a mystery. There was a glimpse of it when DC did their CW special back in January. There was also a brief glimpse of it in BvS. So far, it doesn't look that good. Even some of the people that got to see it on set seemed unsure about it. I watched a video of this guys describing wires built into the costume and he seemed unconvinced. This is surprising, because all of the other costumes that we have seen look AMAZING. Even the glimpse of the alleged Nightwing costume looks great.
The concept with the Flash's costume seems understandable. His suit is composed of 148 pieces, allowing him to take it out of the ring. Additionally, it is a prototype suit that he is wearing. Later on he supposedly gets help from Bruce Wayne, similar to how Spiderman gets his good costume from Tony Stark. I am still pretty unsure about how this is going to play out. I guess that costume is hard to make. To be honest, I don't like the CW Flash's costume either. Maybe that's just me.
Don't Reveal Everything in the Trailer
They made this mistake with BvS. After watching those trailers, I felt that I knew the whole movie, and I basically did. All they need to do is show some really cool scenes with no big hints about the plot. In BvS the trailer made it obvious that Luthor pitted Batman against Superman and that he had created Doomsday. That was essentially the major plot of that movie.
A good model for this is Suicide Squad. The trailers for that movie, which looks extraordinary, has revealed very little. I have no idea who the bad guy is (my guess is Enchantress, maybe). I have no idea what Enchantress or the Joker are up to, and I have read that Batman is going to be in it a lot (which is hard to tell from the trailer).
I think that the DC films are going to be fantastic. I have been impressed with the first two films in the franchise and think that they are taking steps to satisfy their critics. Ultimately, they have quite a bit of catching up to do with Marvel. There is so much potential for them going forward.