Crisis in the DCEU
DC and Warner Bros. need to get it together
I wanted to give DC and Warner Bros. a chance – another chance – at building their DC Extended Universe on the big screen.
Sure, “Man of Steel” was a boring slog that I regularly forget exists. But the casting was excellent and some of the action was cool.
Sure, “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” was an overlong mess where characterization and logic are thrown out the window for what director Zack Snyder thinks looks cool in the moment. But I’ll be darned if it didn’t look pretty cool in those moments and Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot turned in great performances as Batman and Wonder Woman, respectively.
Sure, “Suicide Squad” was an unmitigated disaster of a film on almost every level: a rushed script, no consistent tone, flat characters, incompetent editing, etc. But heck, if I didn’t still find myself enjoying the film on some level; a level I may not be proud of, but still.
Sure, I don’t have much faith in a Snyder-helmed “Justice League” film scheduled for this November, but there’s still a Flash solo movie in the works, a Wonder Woman movie being released in June with a very solid trailer and the pièce de résistance: a solo Batman film written by, directed by and starring the Oscar winning Ben Affleck.
OK, so the Flash lost its writer/director in pre-production. It got an even better director in Rick Famuyiwa who made 2015’s most under-appreciated film, “Dope.” Famuyiwa has proven he can do heart and energy, two key ingredients in a Flash story, that’s perfect. Oh. Oh, wait. Famuyiwa left the project over creative differences. That’s not good for a film slated to hit theaters in March 2018.
Well, at least you have a solid script that has been under the pen of Phil Lord and Chris Miller of “The Lego Movie” and “21 Jump Street” and Seth Grahame-Smith of “The Lego Batman Movie.” A script is the foundation of any movie and while a director’s vision is important, Warner Bros. clearly knows what they want out of the film just bring in a new talent or established journeyman to bring the script to life.
But just last month Warner has hired a new writer to do a page-one rewrite of the script.
OK, let’s call the Flash film a loss. At least “Wonder Woman” looks promising and it is the first major superhero film to star a female character. There is no way DC would mess this one up. But in August and just this past January, two sources have separately called what they have seen of the movie “discombobulated” and “a mess.”
Maybe that is true or maybe it isn’t, similar rumors surfaced about “Batman V. Superman” and “Suicide Squad” before their releases. Maybe “Wonder Woman” won’t be the superhero movie we deserve.
Surely, surely Ben Affleck’s “Batman” will be able to carry this rotting carcass of a film franchise on its back. Affleck – who had such career resurgence after the disaster that was the early ’00s, who gave us “Gone Baby Gone,” “The Town” and “Argo.”
All last year, in interviews, Affleck spoke on how he really wanted to get this movie right and how he would only direct a movie he knew was going to be good.
Cut to Affleck announcing that he will no longer be directing “The Batman,” citing the stress of both directing and starring in a major action picture. He wants to be able to give everything he has to his performance as the Caped Crusader.
Okay. That is a bit disappointing, but understandable. The director tapped to replace him, Matt Reeves, has turned in great work in the past with “Cloverfield” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” And Affleck will still be starring in the film, giving the iconic role the undivided attention it deserves and he will still be involved heavily in the production.
As I type this column reports have surfaced, stating that Affleck is looking to drop out of the Batman film completely…
You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, darn you! Darn you all to heck!
David Tunis-Garcia is the arts editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org