After Suicide Squad – and before that, Batman v Superman – these are very grim times for the good folks over at Warner Bros. Instead of being the DC Extended Universe’s – and WB’s – hoped-for homerun following the disappointment that was BvS, Suicide Squad is also turning out to be a failure with critics and with some fans. Suicide Squad is doing better at the box office than these criticisms would suggest, but it’s still not the blowout success the studio wanted. After a mediocre Suicide Squad, a Batman v Superman that was disliked by the majority of moviegoers, and a Man of Steel that most people thought drifted too far from the Richard Donner version, is it time for Warner Bros. to reboot the DCEU?
The failure of the last DC movie – Batman v Superman – to even break the $1 billion mark in ticket sales worldwide was a huge disappointment for WB and a surprise for virtually everyone. With Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman – as well as cameos by other Justice Leaguers – it was assumed that this movie would make at least Avengers level money.
But as it turns out, fans seem to want a quality known as “fun” in their superhero flicks that DC movies simply refuse to provide. Even Suicide Squad – which attempted to inject a bit of fun and humor into the mix – was far more somber and colorless than anything that Marvel has ever put on the screen. And as Vanity Fair points out, many of the characters are misused.
WB and its DC associates have – so far – seemed absolutely determined to create a serious and artistic movie, when that is just not what the current superhero-loving moviegoing audience wants or expects. People going to see Suicide Squad aren’t expecting to see Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now. They want relatively happy heroes fighting relatively happy bad guys.
And as much as the creators of the DC Extended Universe would like us to think it’s only been three mediocre movies in a row, it’s actually been four. It’s understandable that they would want us to forget about the unbelievably abysmal Green Lantern movie starring a pre-Deadpool Ryan Reynolds.
In fact, there hasn’t been a first-rate DC comic-based movie since the Nolan Batman films. Even worse, it’s questionable whether Nolan and his dark style of moviemaking could succeed today against the current crop of bright and fun Marvel films. The times and tastes have changed. And as Variety suggests, the necessity for a PG rating made it impossible for this movie to be Deadpool funny.
So should Warner Bros. and DC just call it a day, cancel what they’re doing now and start over again at some point in the future? Well, it’s not quite that simple. At this moment, Warner Bros. is already filming or in preproduction on several other DC films, including the first Justice League movie. In fact, Wonder Woman has already completed filming.
Plus, many people think that – for all its problems – Suicide Squad was a big improvement over Batman v Superman. Of course, that’s not exactly high praise. Even so, the studio and filmmakers clearly did make the right decision by adding a bit of humor and – gasp – fun to this most recent outing for the DCEU.
It also can’t be denied that the trailer recently released for the still-in-production Justice League movie seems to show a very clear shift in tone for these films. The Flash is funny, Wonder Woman is funny – even Batman is funny. Sort of. Of course, trailers have fooled us before.
And with all of the criticisms of the last three DCEU movies – not counting Green Lantern – most people overlook the fact that none of them have actually lost money. Even Suicide Squad currently shows a worldwide box office take of over $370 million at Box Office Mojo – and it’s likely to go up from there. So in the end, Warner Bros. will probably stay at the table and keep playing in hopes that its luck will turn.
[Image via YouTube]