I've been defending Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and the DC Extended Universe for weeks on the Internet. I've posted dozens of responses and remarks in comment sections all across social media, doing my best to let people know that despite what the public and the critics would have you believe, there are A LOT of people that DO like that movie.
As you might have guessed, my exercise was nothing short of complete insanity, thinking that I could actually change of the minds of bitterly skeptical, angry, pretentious and entitled fanboys who use the clickbait headlines and rhetoric of the critics as their swords to stab into the hearts of fans like me that were grateful that Dawn of Justice wasn't two and a half hours of exactly what Marvel does.
The thing is, every week a new rumor about the fate of the DCEU seemed to pop up. First it was the money estimates and how they would barely break even on Dawn of Justice if they didn't reach $1 billion in box office sales. Then it was reshoots for Suicide Squad, first assumed to make it "lighter" in tone which proved to be false, and later indicated to be tightening up the third act of the movie. Then the talk of WB brass butting heads with Snyder and Ben Affleck taking a larger role in his Batman solo film and the DCEU in general.
All the while, every website and blogger with an opinion on DC's issues offered every suggestion on how to make the DCEU more like the Marvel Cinematic Universe so that they could "desperately catch up." It's been annoying as hell to say the least, especially for someone who thinks nothing should change with the DCEU.
So when the announcement of Geoff Johns and Jon Berg being named as co-runners of DC Films was made recently, I was immediately not happy. In fact, I was pretty upset. No, I was downright pissed about it and it had nothing to do with Johns or Berg in the slightest.
What made me angry as hell was this:
"...hopefully can emulate the way Marvel Studios has produced its films..."
Great. Just great. Here I am a happy fan defending the DCEU for being a sobering breath of fresh air to comic book movies and now they are going to turn it into a Marvel clone because all the critics and fanboys skewer it on a daily basis. What a joke.
I voiced my displeasure on the Internet again, railing off in comment sections about how I felt and reposting the announcement report for friends to see. Again, I wasn't mad at Johns or Berg for being brought in, I was mad about the idea that the DCEU was going to change to be more like the MCU and I don't want to see the same thing with both franchises. Just because Marvel's formula has worked extremely well over the last eight years doesn't mean that their way is the only way to do it successfully.
So the irony of this whole situation is that the very comments sections that were the subject of my lunacy in dealing with uncompromising fanboys, is what actually calmed me down and helped me to see reason in this decision by DC. One of the things I had said for awhile before Dawn of Justice and others have also been saying is that unlike Marvel, DC didn't have a force at the helm of the entire team to guide the vision of the franchise, like Kevin Feige has been doing for Marvel since 2008. Many of us had talked about the idea that DC should get a Feige-type to run the DCEU because at the very least you need someone at the helm to steer the ship and keep everyone on course.
Well, that's exactly what DC just did with Johns and Berg. Together, they are the Feige equivalent for DC Films.
Fans in the comment sections that saw my concerns about them changing tone now with the DCEU remarked that the move was likely made structurally and not in terms of content, which is true considering that the next three DCEU movies are all in some form of production and can't exactly be changed on a large scale unless delayed. This hasn't stopped news sites and blogs from speculating about a content change, but fortunately as the day went on, this popped up:
And that was my biggest concern of all, that this move had been a reactionary one from Warner Bros. as a result of not only Batman v Superman's less than phenomenal box office, but also because of what Marvel was currently earning with Captain America: Civil War. I think that while a big box office haul should have been expected for Dawn of Justice, it was still a mistake to compare it to the Avengers movies or major team-up movies like Civil War because Marvel has eight years of movies under their belt to work with in terms of building the shared universe and developing all of its characters and events. It took four years and five movies before Marvel reached $1 billion at the box office with The Avengers, their sixth movie. Dawn of Justice is DC's second movie. Total.
Oh, and the movie features a new Batman played by Ben Affleck, who still draws ire for his casting in some circles, and Henry Cavill as a Superman who was introduced in a Man of Steel movie that is still polarizing for fans. To have expected it to easily cross the billion-dollar mark when the DCEU has barely earned the unilateral trust of the audience was more than bit shortsighted.
Nevertheless, DC has made the move and now it presses on with Suicide Squad due out on August 5th, and Wonder Woman next June before the first big team up movie in Justice League, Part 1 in November of 2017. Johns has used the words "hope and optimism" to describe his vision of the DCEU, and all those who have called for Zack Snyder's head on a platter are now outlining plans for just how Johns and Berg can "right the ship" that apparently was so waywardly off course.
All I have for Geoff Johns is this: I'm one of many loyal DC fans that loved the direction the DCEU was taking with these first two movies. Unlike the detractors, I don't need Superman to be what he has always been, I don't need Batman to not kill and I don't need another family-friendly comic book cinematic universe. If you understand that and wish to stay the course, I'm behind you 1000 percent, but if you change course drastically and turn what was promising to be a very different and more hard-hitting cinematic universe into another chain of corporate controlled assembly line movies, then I will be gravely disappointed in you and everyone else at DC Films.
I'll totally understand if you don't hear my concerns, I know it's about the money and the public appeal. You have to do what the masses and the critics want you to do, and when that happens, fans like me get screwed. It's the nature of the beast, though. I'll still watch it all and hope for the best.
You've got the benefit of the doubt from me right now, Geoff Johns. I hope you don't let me down. After all, as a lifelong Wolverine......I'm taking a big risk trusting a Sparty on this one.