The superheroes of the DC Movie Universe are heading back to school, and doing it with Walmart. Since the success of Superman, America's biggest superheroes have been used to sell products to children (and their parents) around the world. With the rise of Hollywood's comic book blockbuster fever, it falls to the DCEU versions of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman to send back-to-school shoppers to their closest Walmart. And whatever your opinions on the studio's approach to DC's Trinity, it's hard to ignore the butterflies and waves of nostalgia these new commercials bring to even the oldest kids.
We can't speak to just how effective the superstore chain is when it comes to their DC-branded goods, but most comic book movie fans will be able to appreciate just how well-made these spots actually are. Sure, it may not be Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, or Gal Gadot actually sporting the movie costumes to sell notebooks, pencils, and erasers... but any marketing campaign that sees the Dark Knight dropped off at school by his father, backpack in hand, has our stamp of approval.
As much as we wish that the difference between being an everyday citizen and the World's Greatest Detective was a new schoolbag, we suppose that fans will need to enjoy the ad an keep on dreaming. Fortunately, the same campaign also brings Superman and Wonder Woman in on the fun, turning even more young students into their favorite heroes. Because let's be honest: kids know the truth of Hollywood's ever-changing world of superhero fads as well as that of the comic book world.
That no matter who's playing them, who's directing their movies, or what their costumes look like at the moment... heroes like Superman and Batman are THE heroes. And with Wonder Woman competing for summer's biggest box office hit, her place beside DC's two biggest heroes is guaranteed for a new generation:
It's nice to see other franchises targeted at young soon-to-be consumers represented, although this year has shown that the best days of Transformers may be over. As for the Power Rangers? A sequel is being discussed, but the outlook may not be as promising or set in stone as the Justice League.
The final spot (currently only released en Español) highlights the antics of DC's Big Three during the actual school year. Thankfully, Batman is on hand to intercept his own mother on the way into school (with the kind of dramatic cape-furling turn that has us downright applauding the makers of the marketing), as Wonder Woman puts her superhuman agility and skills of perception to work saving a girl's lunch. While some might view that as a step down from her coming Justice League-level adventures, we can all agree it's the kind of gesture that Gal Gadot's Diana actually would make on a daily basis.
As for Superman? Well, as is usually the case with the Big Blue Boy Scout... he's taking a shot straight at the heartstrings:
While the comic book fans all take a moment to appreciate the somewhat easy - but nevertheless true - play on emotion at a student earning an 'A+' feeling like Superman himself, the detail-oriented will see the flaws. For starters, the test was multiple choice, and the student forgot to fill in the date. But the larger question is whether the version of these heroes given in the DCEU thus far feel at odds with the playful versions in the commercials.
For Wonder Woman there's no real conflict, since she actually has a lot in common with most school-aged girls. She loves ice cream, steers clear of boys, and has a father eager to keep her completely hidden from the world of men and the horrors that come with it. And as much as Superman and Batman may be painted with the "grim" brush in the DCEU, Henry Cavill's Superman does seek his mother's approval as often as Bruce Wayne overlooks what's right in front of him. So either the DCEU has kept the Justice League heroes faithful at their core... or this Walmart marketing campaign is effectively a Justice League prologue.
We'll let fans make up their minds on that question, as we watch Batman get dropped off at school on a neverending loop.