Too Late For Geoff Johns To Save DC Extended Universe?

Can Geoff Johns Pry The DC Movie Universe From Zack Snyder’s Sour Grip?

The DC movie universe needs a hero. DC Comics chief creative officer Geoff Johns — with help from Warner Bros. executive Jon Berg — intends to be that hero. His mission: to push the DC movie universe in a more profitable, well-reviewed direction.

It won’t be easy, especially as DC and Warner Bros. are three films into what feels like a failed experiment.

Johns sat down with the Wall Street Journal for an interview, to explain his vision for the films: demonstrating a better understanding of these comic book heroes and their motivations.

“[In] the past, I think the studio has said, ‘Oh, DC films are gritty and dark and that’s what makes them different.’ That couldn’t be more wrong,” Johns told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s a hopeful and optimistic view of life. Even Batman has a glimmer of that in him. If he didn’t think he’d make tomorrow better, he’d stop.”

Although Geoff doesn’t come right out and say it, the message is clear. In short, the days of “gritty for gritty’s sake” are over. No more barely-able-to-see dark Instagram filters. No more humorless, unrelatable, and not too cheer-worthy heroes. No more twisting beloved comic book heroes out-of-character for the sake of being “different” and wasting groundbreaking comic book stories.

In other words, director Zack Snyder is on somewhat of a tight leash. Future DC and Warner Bros. movies will likely bear the vision of Geoff Johns and Jon Berg. Snyder had three films to make the DCEU his own, and “his own” was poorly received.

So much so that despite promises from Johns, some are wondering if it’s too late to be truly optimistic about Wonder Woman or the upcoming Justice League movie.

i09 notes that Johns and Berg have worked overtime to make various changes to DCEU projects. For instance, Berg rewrote Wonder Woman and did writing for the Ben Affleck-directed standalone Batman film.

While their actions and words may seem encouraging, there are others expressing doubt as to the sincerity of DC and Warner Bros. at this point. Some i09 commenters thought it would be wise for future DC movies to pretend that the poorly received Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad didn’t exist. One commenter named RacerX observed, “[Johns is] saying the right words, but are they words worth trusting?”

Three movies — if you include Man of Steel — and DC seemed pretty stubborn about its films, and its universe. However, with Marvel powering ahead in profits, DC is apparently no longer willing to pretend it isn’t feeling the burn of second place.

Geoff Johns had a hand in the well-received DC Rebirth comic line. DC must now hope Johns can breathe new life into its movie franchise. Otherwise, Warner Bros. may be forced to brace itself for yet another big screen reboot.

While some are apprehensive about Johns and his sincerity, his track record with DC Comics is legit. Not only that, but Geoff’s been talking about “optimism” for awhile now. It’s admittedly a breath of fresh air when compared to Zack Snyder’s take on the characters. To observers, the onscreen story and characters have suffered quite a bit on his watch.

If Warner Bros. sees that “lightening up” its tone is more profitable, and others outside of Zack can get profits and acclaim, we may see the director pushed even further to the curb. Still, we won’t know if Johns and Berg were able to live up to their claims until at least Wonder Woman hits theaters in 2017.

Are you looking forward to future DC and Warner Bros. films? Do you think Geoff Johns can save the DCEU? Share your thoughts below!

[Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]