The topic of Justice League's tonal change from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has come up. Again. For the umpteenth time.
Look, it's not like we haven't been over this already. There's documented proof that Chris Terrio said this was always the plan, two weeks before BvS was released in theaters:
Of course, all bloggers and critics conveniently forgot that fact when they started calling Wonder Woman "a saving grace for the DC Extended Universe" and "a step in the right direction." That narrative started back in June when the movie came out and it continues now through the Justice League press tour, recently highlighted not only with comments from Gal Gadot that were said to "retcon" Wonder Woman's connection to BvS, but now also with added comments from Henry Cavill that bloggers are suggesting is an admission that the entire franchise has been a mistake to this point.
Actually reading what the actors are saying though, yields the truth. Here's Gadot's original comment from last week:
Now here is Cavill's recent words on the subject of the franchise, without a clickbait headline to twist what he said:
So what are Gadot and Cavill actually saying here? Do they consider the DCEU a mistake to this point? Are they endorsing a retcon of any sort with regards to BvS and indicating a complete course change for the franchise? No they are not, not based on what they have said here.
What the Wonder Woman and Superman actors are actually talking about is something that all major movie franchises undergo: evolution. When you start a series of movies off at some point in time and you want to continue it, the only way to keep it going without becoming stale and predictable is to allow it to evolve out of the form in which it started. which means that at some point character motifs, visual styles, story beats and all other subjective elements in the franchise are going to change in some form. It's a natural progression that all major franchises have undergone. Star Wars, Harry Potter, X-Men and even the Marvel Cinematic Universe have all done it. Go back and watch the first Iron Man movie and then compare it to Thor: Ragnarok, due out this week. If you don't notice a difference in just about every major aesthetic, you are simply not paying attention.
The problem is that while that franchise and others were largely allowed to evolve by the critics, bloggers and fans, everyone seems reluctant to allow the DCEU to do it without some kind of fanfare or attention, hence clickbait headlines like this:
You just read Cavill's words on the subject up above. Is that headline truly what he said? That it simply hasn't worked and that Wonder Woman is a step in the right direction? Or did he say that they were going for a different approach that didn't necessarily work for everyone and that Wonder Woman was perfect timing because we need the female perspective right now for superheroes? That's a lot different than what this headline would have you believe.
The bottom line is that the DCEU was always meant to be a franchise that evolved from a particular place and that is exactly what it is doing right now with this year's films. The notion that Wonder Woman and Justice League are complete course changes from BvS is to ignore that evolutionary process and suggest your own opinion that things are being "corrected." Maybe that's what you believe and feel and maybe that's what the writer of the headline above feels, but it is not what we are being told by those involved in the process of making these movies. What Terrio, Gadot, Cavill, Zack Snyder and even Geoff Johns has indicated to us is that this franchise is evolving from a singular beginning that started with Man of Steel, BvS and Suicide Squad and continues to grow into what Wonder Woman and Justice League represent of that world this year. Aquaman will surely build on that evolution next year and Shazam right after it as well, until the DCEU reaches a point where it DOES work for as many people as possible, because that is the ultimate goal for any and all of these franchises at the end of the day.