Opinion: These movie studios could save DC Comic’s cinematic problem
After feeling disappointed from DC Comic’s latest animated outing Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, I found myself shaking my head in disgust and simply thinking: “DC is hitting a new low” There were some points where I wondered if it was just a casting problem, a directing problem, an identity crisis, or simply just an issue with their over-bearing dark tone. I quickly realized that it is all of the above and thought about Marvel. But it hit me, I suddenly realized an advantage Marvel had that many might think of from a first look.
While Disney has made strong financial and fan acclaim with their MCU, other studios like FOX and Sony are actually making head-way with projects of their own. FOX has generally been mixed with fans as films, like Logan and Deadpool, have been given high-praise, but lesser loved films like Fantastic Four and X-Men: Apocalypse have made fans dissatisfied. Sony is even starting a smaller cinematic universe of their own with the loud-mouthed symbiotic Spider-Man foe Venom getting his own movie in the fall. Both FOX and Sony are even taking their characters into R-rated territory and finding a lot of success with this different direction.
All in all, Marvel is finding a lot of variety amongst their content due to the fact that many of their properties are spread among different studios and attracting different audiences. DC, on the other hand, typically has only been working straight out of Warner Bros. and have been meeting mediocre reactions from fans. Often times, the films carry the same tone and style that fans aren’t so happy with and make fans feel as if they get the same thing they don’t like over and over again. So maybe it’s time for a change for DC and they must begin to venture outside of Warner Bros. to see what other studios can offer them.
There’s plenty of great studios, directors, and producers out there that have proved that they are up to snuff with creating franchises that fans care about. I, myself, have my own thoughts as to who DC could partner with to create a truly original formula for a great cinematic universe.
The studio lead by the legendary Steven Spielberg has created plenty of cultural hits as well as award-winning films since its beginnings back in 1981. They’ve created such memorable franchises like Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, Men In Black, and plenty more. Within their films, audiences have recognize amazing scores, iconic characters, and story-telling that is tough not to love. All of these elements combined could create some solid films that could get audiences interested in some of DC’s biggest properties.
Not to mention that Spielberg has actually expressed interest in working with DC on a film for their current cinematic universe. While Spielberg making a WWII film focusing on DC’s group of ace pilots, only known as Blackhawks, I feel as if his talents would end up being wasted on a property that many people honestly don’t know or don’t care about. Rather, I see Spielberg’s humor and storytelling being better used for characters like Superman, The Flash, and maybe even a Booster Gold film.
Superman is especially a property that I can see Spielberg doing well with since his films tend to have a great score, fun and humorous characters, and a narrative that often highlights a less than perfect hero rising to greatness. All of these are elements that have been eluding more recent iterations of Superman since Synder decided to go for a more dark and dreary route.
Spielberg is also someone that Warner Bros. honestly would mind handing the reigns over to anyway since he just helmed the highly successful Ready Player One for them. The film actually featured many of DC’s iconic characters and was received positively by many who went to go see it.
While many may have strong opinions towards J.J. Abrams, no one can deny his ability to create excellent franchises with dynamic casts. Abram’s studio, Bad Robot, has done excellent work lately on rebooting fan-favorite franchises, like Star Trek, and creating sequels, like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Mission Impossible: Fallout, that many might even say rival the originals.
This kind of acclaim has been given to them thanks to their traditionally great casting (especially with Star Trek), great chemistry through solid dialogue, and a style that elicits dark and serious tones without forgetting to have a little bit of fun. Bad Robot could literally solve the DCEU’s problem directly and get fans back on board.
Specifically, I could see them creating a great new Batman series and bring the caped-crusader’s story to new heights. Abrams is known for exploring more fan-favorite franchises and attempting to stay true to the source material, so it would be interesting to see his vision for a Batman film.
Abrams and Bad Robot could even take on and give fresh renditions on characters like Aquaman, Green Lantern (hopefully John Stewart’s version), and even take on combining the works of the previous films to make a Justice League film that audiences will love.
Even more than its iconic heroes, DC’s villain have seen much more love in recent years and fans are looking some of their iconic stories to be put to film. But not many studios can handle more zany and cruel tales with an R-rated feel; that is expect for Blumhouse. The studio has struck gold with plenty of low-budget horror films throughout the past couple of years and created plenty of iconic, modern franchises.
The success of The Purge series, the Unfriended series, the Insidious series, and the Paranormal Activity series have shown Blumhouse’s love for creepy and darker stories that focus more on evil than good. But other film’s like Happy Death Day, Get Out, and The Belko Experiment have also shown their ability to blend both humor and horror to create films that audiences love.
So for them, I think the most obvious challenge they would need to tackle is a Joker-focused film as they have touched upon his style and antics in The Purge films. They could also tackle other famous villain storylines, like Suicide Squad, Absolute Zero, and would even be perfect for taking on more horror-oriented heroes like Constantine and Swamp-Thing. Not to mention, Blumhouse has the ability to get great directors on-board, like Leigh Whannel, Jordan Peele, and plenty more, to use their vision to create great dynamic stories centered on darker villains.
Sure, they’ve mostly worked with lower budget projects and haven’t had the best effects in their films more recently. But with DC’s financial backing, this issue will probably (hopefully) be fixed. If your still not convinced that Blumhouse can work with comic book material, the studio just finished with Saw creator Leigh Whannel on his excellent sci-fi “superhero-esque” story, Upgrade, this year and is currently working with M. Night Shyamalan to bring his comic book inspired trilogy to a close with Glass.
Regardless if any of these studios decide to stir the pot, the fact of the matter is that DC is clearly in trouble. Past live-action works have mostly seen disappointment and even newer trailers for Aquaman and Shazam haven’t stir up much excitement from the DC community.
Is it time for change? In my opinion, it’s more like time for a reboot or a retry. But if DC can get help from Amblin, Bad Robot, and/or Blumhouse, it could lead to a future that’s much brighter than it is right now.