Warner Bros. made a huge splash today with tons of new details about Justice League, the fifth movie of the DC Extended Universe that is currently filming in London and will be released in November of 2017. Likely the biggest splash of news conveyed by the writers and bloggers spilling the beans was feelings about the movie's almost complete tonal shift from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Whereas that movie has been criticized and vilified by many for its darker tone and almost deconstructionist approach to Batman and Superman, the reports are that Justice League is the complete opposite, featuring the lighter, hopeful and more humorous tone that general audiences seemed to be hoping for:
This all comes on the heels of bloggers and writing describing sneak peek scenes of the movie itself, noting the comedic timing of Ezra Miller's Barry Allen AKA The Flash, and the lighter more relaxed tone of the set and cast in general.
All of this is being attributed by many to one thing: the negative reaction and press surrounding Batman v Superman. Clearly, after seeing the vitriol and hate spewed at that movie's dark tone and serious nature, Warner Bros. wisely decided to make changes and go for a lighter more "Marvel-esque" tone.
Those aren't my words at all, they've been posted on the web already:
Ok......so much wrong in these posts to address. Let's slow down and start from the beginning.
In the first place, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released on March 25. Admittedly, the scathing reviews started to come out a few days before that so we'll say March 22 is when the bad press really started. Justice League started filming on April 11. So that means that WB completely changed course on the tone of the DCEU just two and a half weeks after the release of the movie that garnered the negative buzz that inspired the tonal change? Yeah, that's not how movies work. At all. Script rewrites and reshoots happen all the time on big budget movies, but usually not right before principal photography has started and definitely not in response to two and a half weeks of negative press over a previously released movie.
Ok, so maybe they started changing things tonally within the shooting schedule. After all, the decision to put Geoff Johns and Jon Berg in charge of the DCEU was made in the middle of the Justice League shoot, right? Except we haven't heard anything about writers being brought in to change the script or rewrite anything. All we've heard are bogus rumors about how previously scheduled reshoots for Suicide Squad, due out on August 5, were because of tonal changes as well, including a completely bogus report that all of the humor in the movie was in the trailers and that was it. The truth was later revealed that the reshoots were action pickups and support for the movie's big set pieces.
So Justice League as far as we know hasn't been re-written and Zack Snyder AKA Most Hated Director on Planet Earth, is still directing it, yet now these bloggers and reporters that have seen clips and been on set are remarking how much lighter in tone the movie is and how DC seems to be learning from its mistakes and now taking the Marvel approach to their movie. How is this possible?
Here's an idea: This was WB's plan for the DCEU in the first damn place. Boom.
Let's go back to Batman v Superman as a movie for a second. Combined with Man of Steel, Snyder and company painted a dark, realistic picture of our world. Wars, famine, violence and everything else you find watching the six o'clock news everyday. Then "The Superman" as he put it so eloquently at the beginning of BvS shows up, and now humanity is dealing with something it never has dealt with before: the idea of a super-powered being on Earth that actually brings the promise of a bigger, better and brighter future with him. On top of that, he has been Earth-raised, meaning he understands our world better than any alien ever could and desperately wants to make it better.
Enter Batman, the angry, bitter human crimefighter that has spent twenty years seeing the worst that mankind has to offer. Think about what he's already been through: The death of Robin, likely his third counterpart since it was confirmed to be Jason Todd as the canon has it, The Joker and his brand of chaos and crazy, all the villains we are about to see in Belle Reve prison like Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Deadshot, Enchantress and the like, and then the general scum of crazies like Lex Luthor and his band of thugs. As far as he's concerned, humanity is toast and has been for a long time and where he might have seen a light at the end of a very dark tunnel, now all he sees is pain and punishment for those who oppose him and the law. He sees himself as a weapon, not a beacon of hope or justice anymore. 20 years of hell have jaded him away from that......until he meets Superman.
The jaded skeptic in him immediately sees Superman as a threat to be dealt with, because just as others have in the past, he can turn the evil switch on at any time and humanity will be powerless to stop him. It's not until he brings Superman to the brink in the infamous "Martha" scene that he realizes the good that Superman represents and personifies. Add to that the fact that his recent contact with Diana Prince and the discovery of who she really is and the presence of other meta-humans in general is now opening his eyes to the fact that his world is even larger than he may have even thought in the first place. By the time the movie is over and Superman has sacrificed his life to take down Doomsday, Batman is not who he was at the beginning of the movie. He's still older and grizzled, but now he sees the glimmer of hope in the act of alien raised on Earth by human parents laying his life down in the name of humanity itself, a sacrifice that Batman himself would gladly make and consider noble.
That sentiment by the way, seems to be clearly represented and shared by WB as shown in the synopsis for Justice League:
So just as in the current line of DC Rebirth comics now being released, the DCEU itself is embracing the "rebirth" concept by showing us a darkened, dreary world that is about to be galvanized into a specter of hope by the greatest heroes it has ever seen: The Justice League. This rebirth idea is only going to be further enriched by the next two movies, Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman, the latter due out in June of 2017. To this point, we have seen Kryptonian villains in Zod and Doomsday and the megalomaniacal human villain Lex Luthor. Suicide Squad will up the ante of villainy, showing us just how bad the rogues on Earth have really become and introducing us once again to the worst of them all, The Joker, played by Jared Leto. After that, we will take a trip back in time to see the origin of Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman and she will shed light on her line from BvS that speaks volumes to this rebirth idea as well:
Which led to Bruce Wayne's also crucial response to her:
So in spite of the overall dark tone and nature of BvS, it ends with our titular heroes sharing a sense of hope and optimism in the wake of their hopeful friend dying, shedding the biggest light on how "not dark" Justice League was always going to be.
Then there's the most damning evidence of all for this being WB's master plan for the DCEU, and that is a quote from screenwriter Chris Terrio in a Wall Street Journal interview two weeks BEFORE the release of BvS:
There you have it. No surprises, no grand and incredible learning experience from "the masters at Marvel Studios," none of that crap at all. This is what WB and DC have been planning for their cinematic universe from the beginning, and with the positive buzz already surrounding Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman and now Justice League, the train is certain to only keep rolling on its own from here on out.