The DC cinematic universe has been on a downward spiral for quite a while now. The critical consensus for their films so far has ranged from good to terrible. And you know it’s really bad when two-thirds of those movies have been nominated for awards at the Razzies. But now, the released films aren’t the only ones in trouble. It’s clear public knowledge that several of DC’s upcoming projects aren’t going through the best of times in their development stage.
Only recently has news hit about all the issues the Batman stand-alone movie is currently enduring. Most notably, Ben Affleck stepping down as its director. Even before this news dropped, there weren’t many things for DC film fans to look forward to—everything was kind of uncertain. But one thing that everyone knew was going to be great, was a fully fledged Batman film, directed and starring Ben Affleck, whose performance was one of the only saving graces of last year’s Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. For that movie, in particular, many have argued that its most critical downfalls are to blame on the film’s poor direction, perpetrated by, of course, its director Zack Snyder. In fact, many of Batman’s character flaws in BVS can be attributed to the direction that film tried to take, which attempted gritty realism on a character that was already grounded, thus turning him into a murderous psycho with a contrived tendency to cower at the name ‘Martha.’
So it’s not all that farfetched to believe that with a director like Ben Affleck—an Oscar-winning director and writer—some of those problems would be alleviated and improvements would be made. Basically, we would get a good Batman film to watch. But now that seems to be getting further and further away from us. And that was all before rumours started to swirl that Affleck was going to step down as Batman altogether. Which if true, could doom pretty much everything. Although they could create a new Batman in the form of a Dick Grayson or Azrael character, losing your film franchise’s biggest star only after a few performances, has got to spell serious trouble. If Marvel had lost Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man so early like this, I would’ve been just as trepidatious as I am now.
But what about everything else, other than Batman? While he may be DC’s most popular hero, the film universe can certainly survive without him. So how are the other DC superhero movies coming along? Perfectly fine, I’m guessing? Well, not exactly. The most publically troubled of these films is definitely The Flash. In the span of only a few months, The Flash had lost two of its directors due to ‘creative differences’ and is now without anyone to helm the project. Previously, the movie had a script written for it by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller of 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie fame, but now that original story treatment has been tossed out in favour of a full rewrite. And did I mention that the film was supposed to start filming in January? Yeah…that’s not happening—it’s literally impossible now.
The Flash and Batman aren’t the only heroes with a troubled film development, but so is, apparently, their fellow Justice League member Wonder Woman. While nothing has been confirmed yet, already Wonder Woman has been called a mess by an alleged DC insider. Furthermore, there’s also some implied issues with the upcoming Shazam film. I say that because even though everything seems all right, suspicions can be raised from the fact that they are making a solo Black Adam movie, with that character cast, before we even know who’ll be playing Shazam himself. Their priorities simply don’t appear to be in order.
So now it comes to the penultimate question: should the DC films be rebooted? In my opinion, if things don’t pick up and the next few movies are just as bad as the previous ones, definitely yes. However, as a collective audience, we can all decide whether or not the DCEU should be rebooted. If you’re into what they’re doing right now, keep watching and they’ll keep making. But if you’re not so into it, remember, that you don’t need to watch these films. Vote with your wallet.
Check out my other discussion on this topic, about how much longer DC can survive mediocrity.