Speculation over the future of DC's film slate has been rampant in the aftermath of Justice League, which was met with poor reviews and a tepid box office. The only sure things at this point are Aquaman, Shazam!, and a Wonder Woman sequel. The fact that both Batman and Superman are in something akin to cinematic limbo says a lot about the dysfunction that has plagued Warner Bros.' efforts to compete with Marvel's wildly successful movie universe. With yet another leadership change at DC Films, fans have been clamoring for clues about what might come next for their favorite heroes.
Those fans might find what they're looking for in an unlikely location - Warner Bros.' new black comedy Game Night. The Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams fronted film is garnering strong reviews, and is surprisingly innovative for a low budget comedy. Game Night's dynamic duo of directors, John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein, have reportedly come onboard to direct Flashpoint - though the deal isn't finalized just yet - the DC film which will star Ezra Miller's version of Barry Allen and could potentially reshape the DCEU moving forward. Game Night contains more than its share of hints about how the directors could approach one of the most important films on DC's upcoming slate, and why they're more than up to the challenge.
They're Already Part Of The Warner Bros. Family
For their DC films, Warner Bros. has shown a willingness to take relative risks on directors they don't have strong pre-existing relationships with. That worked out fabulously with Patty Jenkins on Wonder Woman, and somewhat less fabulously with David Ayer on Suicide Squad. Even Jenkins' triumphant Wonder Woman was widely rumored to have some minor production headaches early on, which can likely be credited to a creator and executives who didn't have a relationship prior to the production at hand, which is a risky situation when you're making a $150 million, effects heavy film.
That's not a concern with Daley and Goldstein. Game Night may be a smaller scale film than Flashpoint, but it's not insignificant that they're already proven themselves to be reliable collaborators for Warner Bros. The fact that Game Night is getting very strong reviews and looks to be strong counter programming to Black Panther at the box office is only going to make the studio more confident in the duo's ability to deliver a much needed win for their ailing superhero slate.
They Can Bring The Laughs
Ezra Miller's Flash was one of the most widely praised aspects of Justice League. After the doom and gloom of both Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Miller's Barry Allen was a breath of fresh air; a good hearted goofball who even manages to pierce Batman's dark exterior, it's a performance that had many salivating to see the scarlet speedster in his own solo story.
Not only is Game Night hilarious, but its comedic sensibilities are on a similar wavelength to Miller's Flash. This shouldn't be surprising - Daley and Goldstein worked on the script for Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Miller's Barry Allen has garnered more than a few comparisons to Tom Holland's Peter Parker. Tone is going to be key to nailing Barry Allen's story, especially if the movie ends up being a relatively direct adaptation of Flashpoint, and Daley and Goldstein seem like a strong choice to balance laughs and gravitas.
They Know How To Cast
Game Night boasts a fairly robust cast, and while Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams understandably get the most to do, the supporting cast is stacked with ringers. Jeffrey Wright gets less than five total minutes of screen time, but his fake FBI agent is pitch perfect and gets some of the movie's biggest laughs. Billy Magnussen is a revelation as the blissfully unaware idiot Ryan, as is Catastrophe's Sharon Horgan as his reluctant date. Michael C. Hall features as the film's big bad and wrings every ounce of leftover Dexter menace out of himself to make the Bulgarian appropriately terrifying.
Flashpoint will actually be a curious case with casting. If it's a direct adaptation of the comic, then it stands to reason a lot of the film has already been cast, as it would heavily feature alternate reality versions of many established DC heroes - and presumably Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Thomas Wayne, the alternate reality Batman. If it turns out to be a slightly more traditional Flash story, casting the likes of Captain Cold and Eobard Thawne will be crucial to making Barry Allen's world work, and Daley and Goldstein have proved they're up to that task.
- Game Night (2018) release date: Feb 23, 2018