Warner Bros kicked off their DC Comics Extended Universe last year with the debut of Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – a follow up to the director’s Man of Steel. Although there was a great deal of buzz and excitement going into Batman V Superman, the film was largely maligned by critics, and inspired a divisive response among moviegoers. Fans hoped David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, the second of Warner Bros’ 2016 DCEU entries, could help the burgeoning superhero universe bounce back, but that turned out not to be the case when it received the same critical panning and divisive response.
Since it launched, the DCEU has received criticism for being too dark, with too-serious adaptations of beloved comic book characters like Superman (Henry Cavill), Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). Two months following the premiere of Batman V Superman, Warner Bros appointed Geoff Johns as head of DC Films and, by extensions, overseer of the DCEU. Now, Warner Bros and DC Films are gearing up to roll out their 2017 releases, Wonder Woman and Justice League, with James Wan’s Aquaman set to begin production this spring.
During the DC Films portion of Warner Bros’ panel at WonderCon, Geoff Johns was joined by Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins to preview the film. In addition to screening Wonder Woman footage – the same scenes that were shown earlier this week at CinemaCon – Johns said all DC movies have “heart, humor, and heroics.” Although the panel was ostensibly about Wonder Woman, it seemed his comment was referring to all of the upcoming DCEU entries, such as Justice League and Aquaman.
Of course, critics of the DCEU will be quick to point out that the dark and serious tones of both Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad – as well as Man of Steel before them – do not quite lend themselves to “heart, humor, and heroics” in the sense that many associate with comic book movies. Certainly, if fans were to compare it to Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe or even the majority of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise, the DCEU incorporates heart, humor, and heroics in a much different way. The MCU has struck a balance between humor and seriousness, often leaning more toward the former, while the X-Universe included a superhero comedy in last year’s Deadpool.
That said, the DCEU is forging their own path in the still-growing world of cinematic superhero universes. While Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad didn’t weave in humor and heart the same way as an MCU entry or X-Men movie, they did include developed character arcs and comedic relief moments. Now, with Johns as overseer of the DCEU, it’s possible we’ll see his “heart, humor, and heroics” essentials incorporated in a different way – perhaps a more traditional comic book movie way – in the releases moving forward. However, that remains to be seen when Wonder Woman hits theaters this summer, and Justice League this fall.
Source: Geoff Johns