There was a time when I thought that people were overreacting about the negative press and treatment that the DC Extended Universe was getting, especially on the Internet and social media. Yes the movies always got bad reviews, but they were still making millions of dollars and there were still plenty of people I talked to in person that liked them a lot.
It has now been ten full months since Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released in theaters and among all of the good news about the DCEU like this:
There still seems to be an alarming amount of clickbait assumption concerning upcoming films within the DCEU, like this:
I've read all of these "articles" on the subject and they all have the following things in common:
- No source on the record. Always "an insider" or "a source close to."
- Opinions instead of facts from the writer on how much it kills the DCEU.
- Assumptions made about the DCEU's expectations.
- A commentary on how "unfunny" and "boring" the DCEU is.
This has been going on for almost a solid year now, and I've already mentioned before how it's not affecting the DCEU's box office in terms of success. Just as a reminder:
But still the ridiculous piling on continues, and now we prepare for an eleventh month straight of it with this opening salvo from a LEGO Batman fan:
Let's move past the part where she clearly hasn't watched a DCEU film to see any of the extremely coherent plots, the in-depth character arcs with both Superman and Batman and the strong female representation from Lois Lane, Faora, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Amanda Waller and Katana just to name a few. Why are you even compelled to say something like this in a tweet? Here's why:
Clickbait, of course. We all know it well, but why is it so prevalent and why is the DCEU one of the most popular targets for it going on almost a full year straight? Well for that answer, we don't need to look any further than Denzel Washington's viral comments to a reporter at a screening of his latest movie Fences back in December:
Now, when Washington said all of this he was talking about a much more serious subject than movies but that doesn't make his point any less spot on in this instance. Bloggers, critics and even trade publications are no longer interested in being true about their stories anymore, which is why you get the massive amounts of unsubstantiated clickbait and speculation passed off as fact posted on social media. If there was anything substantial to report, then it wouldn't generate as much attention. It would just be news and that's not what brings the audience right?
So laziness on the part of people reporting assumptions is there for sure. There's something else at work here, though that no one seems to want to admit. Case in point, when this news was reported recently:
And the clickbaiters turned it into this:
Yet somehow, astonishingly THIS story comes out:
And the clickbaiters do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING with it:
No panic, no anger, no fear......except with what the DCEU is doing, apparently.
And that's the other component of this whole affair, a decisive amount of fear that is not only being tossed at DCEU fans by others, but is also dictating the clickbait postings in the first place. To spend 10 months straight and soon to be more taking potshots at one film franchise while almost nothing overtly negative is posted about the other is more than just the simple "they know what they are doing so there's no complaints" excuse. No, that might explain some of the bad press about Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad which have already been released, but not preemptive negativity against Wonder Woman which is still being musically scored for it's June 2 release date and Justice League which is still in massive post-production mode for a November 17 release. Attacks like that come from a place of fear, no doubt.
Fear of what, exactly? What does a multi-billion dollar franchise like Marvel Studios have to be afraid of at all? Perhaps things like this:
Oh and let's take a closer look at that click counter:
"THERE'S A NEGATIVE MCU ARTICLE! YOU HYPOCRITE!" Yes, one post about problems in the MCU among the movies that already exist and speculates nothing about any that are coming out. It hardly comes close to even invalidating my point.
I've read that piece from Screen Rant and even though I enjoy the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I completely agree with their entire list of reasons. The thing is, those reasons became clear to me and a lot of other people when the MCU finally started getting some competition from the DCEU and it doesn't matter what the critics say about either one. The audience is going to see what it sees and there are distinct differences in what both franchises do on screen, enough for one to point out the other's flaws very easily and it doesn't all just flow the DCEU's way.
I wouldn't expect much of this to change much in the next year as Wonder Woman and Justice League are released, even though they both have stronger chances to be well received by critics than their predecessor films to this point. The good part is that despite the culture of fear and laziness that prompts these silly attacks on the DCEU, the fanbase for the franchise is resolute and loyal and will make certain that the movies succeed at the box office, whether the haters like it or not.