From a young age, I’ve always found myself being gravitated towards Marvel Comics. My older cousin got me a collection of the original 10 Spider-Man issues for Christmas one year, the same year the original Spider-Man film came out, and I received the first volume of Joss Whedon‘s famous run on the X-Men a short while later. Needless to say, I have a certain predilection for that mythos over DC Comics‘ due to my increased exposure to it. That being said, I’ve read my fair share of DC works, including The Dark Knight Rises, The Killing Joke, the disturbing but gripping Identity Crisis, Superman: Red Sun and more. I appreciate the god-like characterizations and the writing goals associated with focusing on a generally smaller group of figures and reinventing them in various ways.
That being said, DC has no idea what it’s doing when it comes to their films.
Seriously, I want to love the idea of walking into the theater for Batman v Superman or Suicide Squad, but every decision being made involving these films are just damaging the potential. Marvel, while not all of their work is good, at least has a good system of intertwining everything well, developing characters consistently and providing a somewhat enjoyable quality for comic fans and casual viewers alike to look forward to. Beyond the Edgar Wright/Ant-Man debacle, I haven’t had any inherent issues with the practices Marvel is employing currently. My current reaction, and subsequently my choice to write this article, stems from a recent news release about Flash‘s new costume for the Justice League film that will start filming in a few months. While I truly don’t enjoy the The Flash TV show, I appreciate the angle it presents and the audiences it is aimed towards, and was interested to see how they would bring Grant Gustin‘s interpretation of the character to the big screen. That is until I realized that Gustin wouldn’t be appearing in the film. Rather, Ezra Miller, known for his role in The Perks of Being a Wallflower will be taking on the speedster’s role.
This prompted me to remember how far DC has gone to remove the TV shows from their film counterparts. How the Suicide Squad team had more or less already appeared in the Arrow TV series, only to have them recasted, and rather poorly might I add (Will Smith as Deadshot???). How the Green Arrow will be getting similar treatment if he is to be brought into the films. How Batman needs to be rebooted for the umpteenth time because the Christopher Nolan Batman series is completely separate from the universe currently being developed.
This just feels sloppy and wasteful, as all the progress and developments being made over the course of the last few years are being thrown out with the bathwater; simply little side stories to be ignored when compared to the gargantuan that is the upcoming blockbuster features. After viewers have invested as much time as they have in these shows, they’ll have to get used to a completely different interpretation of those figures a year or two from now. Not only that, but the actors themselves who have worked hard on these roles are being shafted so someone with a bigger name can get a turn on the big screen.
Meanwhile, Samuel L. Jackson shows up in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, the effects of the events of this show can be felt in the films, and vice versa. The destruction of New York that was featured in The Avengers is constantly referenced in Daredevil as something that changed the foundations that this world sits upon. Everything is interconnected, consistent and there is one actor for every character (barring the Hulk and his troubled screen time). While Thor: The Dark World or Iron Man 3 are less than good films, they can at least exist in the pre-established universe and make some sense in the overall scheme of things. Are there some slight issues moving from film to film? Absolutely. But there’s a better framework to hang onto that allows for better storytelling and world building.
While this isn’t the only issue I have with DC’s practices, it feels like the most pertinent as we move forward into a new age of DC films. And don’t think that Marvel will be spared, as I have a few things to say about the handling of Civil War. But that idea will be for another day.