Justice League star Henry Cavill says the DC films have made the “right mistakes.” Cavill starred in the soft launch of Warner Bros’ DC Comics-based universe, leading Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel in 2013, and returned for another starring role – and co-headlining with the Dark Knight – in Snyder’s 2016 followup, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. However, while Man of Steel received middling reviews, Batman V Superman, and the second official universe installment, David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, were largely panned by critics. The films were also met by divisive reactions among moviegoers but managed to be successful at the box office.
The narrative surrounding the DC film universe at that point seemed to be mainly negative, with many fans calling for major changes to Warner Bros’ proposed slate. However, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman opened earlier this year to positive reviews and broke a number of records at the box office for movies directed by women and the DC universe as a whole, becoming the biggest movie of the summer 2017 season. Fans are next looking to Snyder’s team-up film Justice League to continue the positive upswing of the DC movie universe. Cavill, who plays Clark Kent aka Superman, has his own take on how Warner Bros’ DC universe has progressed.
In an interview with The Rake, Cavill spoke about the critical reviews to Batman V Superman, how Snyder’s style in adapting the comics is different from other superhero films, as well as the comparisons between Warner Bros’ unnamed DC film universe and Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe:
Even if Marvel didn’t exist, we’d struggle. There was a style they were going for, an attempt to be different and look at things from a slightly different perspective, which hasn’t necessarily worked. Yes, it has made money but it has not been a critical success; it hasn’t given everyone that sensation which superheroes should give the viewer. … I feel like now the right mistakes have been made and they haven’t been pandered [to], and we can start telling the stories in the way they need to be told. It is even better to come back from a mistake or stylistic error into the correct vein because it will make it seem that much stronger. Wonder Woman was the first step in the right direction.
Of course, those fans who enjoyed Batman V Superman and Man of Steel, especially Snyder’s style in telling those stories, may not necessarily refer to the movies as mistakes (and may not appreciate Cavill seemingly indicating they’re mistakes, though that may not be exactly what he’s inferring). And the official Warner Bros/DC line has been that Justice League will be lighter than Batman V Superman due to a natural progression of the Superman storyline, not necessarily because of course correction – though there are many fans who would argue otherwise, especially since Joss Whedon took over directorial duties when Snyder stepped down.
Still, Cavill believes Wonder Woman came at the perfect time both for Warner Bros’ DC film universe and the current state of politics:
I think it is a wonderful time for the female hero. It is the perfect setting in social politics right now, we need it, we want that perspective, and Wonder Woman has struck at the ideal time and has become a phenomenal success, which is fantastic. Any success within the superhero universe, especially within the DC universe, is wonderful, because I want to keep telling the Superman story; selfishly, that works for me.
Whether Warner Bros. and DC Films continue the success experienced earlier this year with Wonder Woman when Justice League hits theaters next month remains to be seen. There’s been plenty of speculation about how much the Justice League reshoots changed, and whether the movie will feel more like a Snyder or Whedon picture – even though Snyder maintains the sole directing credit. But with Warner Bros’ big team-up set to open in just a few weeks – and critical reviews to hit the internet sometime before then – we’ll learn soon enough what to expect from Justice League.
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