It’s a weird time to be a fan of superhero movies. If you’re watching nothing but Marvel, things are going pretty well – Thor: Ragnarok is just around the corner and the next Avengers movie looks like it’s going to be amazing. If you’re watching DC’s expanded universe, though, things aren’t so great. In fact, it’s looking a bit more like a train wreck every day.
This week has been huge for DCEU news, but not necessarily in a good way. There’s been the amazing (the announcement that Scorsese will be directing a Joker origin film), the expected (a Joker and Harley Quinn movie spinning off of the Suicide Squad) and the strange (that The Batman probably won’t tie into the DCEU). All this comes together to prove that there’s still nothing resembling a coherent plan for this movie universe, even if it looks like Warner Brothers is going all-out on the Justice League film.
By this point, it’s fair to ask if DC’s stab at a cinematic universe is falling apart. As we’ve seen in recent months, getting one of these things off the ground is tough – look at Universal’s dead-on-arrival Dark Universe after the flop of The Mummy. Outside of Wonder Woman, which has been almost universally praised by critics and film-goers, it’s hard to find anyone who is begging for more DC movies with the current tone.
Are these movies going to stop any time soon? Not a chance. Every single one of these films makes a truckload of money, even if critics hate them and viewers stop going after the first weekend. What it does mean, though, is that the cracks are starting to show – it’s only a matter of time before more films take the route of the Affleck Batman movie or even the Scorsese Joker movie in order to cut themselves loose of the dead weight.
DC’s cinematic universe is proof positive that you need a plan to succeed, not just big names. While seeing more of Margot Robbie and Gal Gadot on the big screen is always welcome, that doesn’t mean they need to be in movies that exist only to serve some giant marketing scheme. Maybe it’s time for DC to let these movies stand on their own – or at least cut out all the crossover stuff until they find two franchises that people actually want to see together.