Despite a few fools, no one really likes DC’s cinematic universe. The DCEU started with a mediocre movie, followed up with a nonsensical one, then a trash one, and most recently has achieved (finally) a decently good movie. They haven’t been great, but to their credit, they keep trying—hence Justice League in a couple weeks. So, my friend Keith and I thought we should lend the company a helping hand and reform what should have been the DCEU’s plan from the start. Here are a few basic changes:
- First thing I’d do is call it DCU—the “e” is stupid.
- Next, shamelessly copy the MCU. They clearly know what they’re doing. Do whatever they did.
- Generally speaking, don’t make your movies too stylized. Maybe after your franchise has proven itself, you can do something a little more out of the box (kinda like Marvel). The occasional one-off where you bring on Snyder is fine, but don’t give him creative control of the whole franchise.
- Avoid origin stories for Superman and Batman (I’m looking at you Man of Steel). The rest of your characters are obscure enough to the general movie-goer that you can get away with an origin story—but not so with the big two.
Boom. We’ve just solved 80% of the DC[E]U’s problems. Now, the next issue is the release schedule for these DC movies. It’s common knowledge that DC was trying to play catch-up with Marvel, and that’s why their second movie was a crossover, similar to The Avengers. But, if we remind ourselves of rule #2 above, we remember that we need to copy Marvel, not catch-up with them. That means taking our time, setting up these characters, so when we finally do have our first big crossover (Justice League) it actually works. That said, here’s what they should have released—hold onto your butts:
Summer – Superman – The main villain is Parasite and we mostly skip the origin story. Now, a brief note about making a Superman movie (which—believe it or not—is a very hard thing to do). There are two ways to make it work: First, you can present him as a god and delve into the philosophical implications, ala Superman All Star. Christ-figure stuff. That was done most recently in Superman Returns, so go with option two: nerf him so he’s not indestructible. He should be on par with someone like Mr. Incredible.
Boom. People are interested, they’re buying tickets, Marvel is old hat. Moving on.
Summer – Flash – All right, it’s year two of our cinematic universe, and we’re rocking. Let’s keep it going with a stellar Flash movie. He’s cracking jokes, keeping everyone entertained. The only hard decision to make here is what villain to use. I’m going with the classic Captain Cold—a Mr. Freeze knock-off for the uninitiated.
Fall – Green Lantern – All right, we’re branching out now—it’s a Fall release instead of Summer; we’re starting to encroach on Marvel’s yearlong domination for blockbusters. Our other big move is make John (not Jon) Stewart our Green Lantern—we need some racial diversity in this franchise. As far as the plot is concerned, I’m generally fine with the 2009 Reynolds movie; however, our pick for the Lantern is a little more serious, so it may be a good idea to go ahead and introduce his friendship with Flash and make it a buddy-cop thing. You know what? That’s exactly what we’re doing. This is perfect.
Spring – Wonder Woman – The main villain is Ares, and basically just do what Patty Jenkins already did without the weird green-screen running.
Summer – The Batman – In typical Batman fashion, we’ll have two villains: Hugo Strange and Deadshot. This movie is make-it or break-it for our franchise, but seeing as we’ve been making-it for the last four movies, I think we have this in the bag. We got some low key villains, and we play up the grungy, detective side of Batman. We’ll be light on the jokes, heavy on the bad-guy beat downs.
Fall – Man of Steel – Here’s our second Superman movie, and everyone’s pumped to see the big blue boy scout back in business. Our main villain this time around will be Lex Luthor, who’s only been mentioned in previous installments, and he’ll be played by a middle age, B-list actor.
Spring – The Martian Manhunter – Now we’re getting weird, making movies for characters people don’t even care about. But after they see it—and they will see it—they’ll flip out over how amazing our mystery/detective thriller is with its main antagonist Professor Ivo.
Summer – Justice League – There are a lot of things you can do here, and my choice may be controversial. For its first big crossover, the MCU brought back its one good villain from a previous movie; we could do something similar with Amazo, which would have just been set up in the previous movie. But I say, Nah. Go big or go home. We’re fighting Aquaman and the entire civilization of Atlantis. Obviously fish-boy has to be one of the heroes by the end of the movie, so you need some rogue to take control of Atlantis that Aquaman has to team up with the JLA to defeat. Yeah, I’m just copying the “The Enemy Below” episodes from the show Justice League, so what?
Fall – Flashpoint – Is this the name of a famous Flash story in the comics? Yes. Are we going to adapt that story to the big screen? No. We’re gonna do some time-paradox, alternate-dimension non-sense, throw in his arch-nemesis Zoom, thank heaven it’s not a CGI guerrilla named Grodd, and call it a day.
Spring – Wonder Woman: Olympus Has Fallen – We planned out our franchise back before 2013, so there was no way of knowing there would be a movie with the same name. Super embarrassing for us, but oh well—our movie is better. This time around, the devil himself, Hades, kicks down the pearly gates but our heroine saves the day.
Summer – Batman: Contingency – People are losing their minds because it’s another Batman movie. Will it be as good as The Dark Knight? I scoff at your question—and ask in return, Is the pope Catholic? In this instant-AFI-top-100-classic, we do one better than Batman vs Superman; we have Batman take on the whole Justice League after he is accused of the murder of the Joker—yeah you heard me, we straight up kill the Joker in the first act. And you thought we couldn’t compete with Nolan.
Fall – Last Son of Krypton – You ready to cry? Because we’re about to have some real emotional experiences dealing with the growth (and demise?!) of this character we’ve come to love over the last four years. The life-defining battle is against Brainiac, the last semblance of his home planet, and by it, we learn what “family” really means.
Spring – I don’t know… some throw-away movie here.
Summer – Justice League: Beyond Thunderdome – Boom. The crossover team is back, and it’s way better than Age of Ultron. We can fight Darkseid or someone, do a Civil War/Batman v. Superman kinda thing, whatever works. Either way we’re making a zillion dollars.
…and go from there. At this point, Marvel is the dust beneath our boots, and we rule the entertainment world. It’s really unclear why DC didn’t just do this from the start.