Earlier this week, the Internet was all abuzz, as Variety published some massive news for fans of the Marvel Studios movies, announcing that Robert Downey Jr. would be appending his deal with the studio to add another film beyond Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Avengers 3. However, it wouldn’t be a fourth Iron Man as everyone expected…it would instead be Captain America 3, as the film wing of Marvel Comics attempts to bring a version of the 2007 series Civil War to the big screen.
Understandably, die hard fans, both of the comics and films rejoiced, as did the bank account of the Downey family, as he’s walking away with $40 Million.
While the news has yet to be confirmed by Marvel themselves, we’re all generally running with this information as fact – similar to the delay between the trades confirming Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch’s appearance in the Avengers sequel, and Marvel’s official announcements. One could argue that this is precisely the type of announcement that could have been saved for, example, San Diego Comic Con 2015’s Marvel Studios panel – since the 2014 edition shows that while they may announce many release dates in advance, they wish to focus on what’s immediate as opposed to far away. Is that actually a solid plan? Look no further than yesterday’s announcement from Warner Brothers, unleashing their entire DC Comics Movie Universe film slate through 2020.
That’s right – after picking a batch of release dates earlier this year, Warner Brothers issued a press release announcing every single DC Comics film through the rest of the decade – along with dates for 3 more LEGO movies, and an entire Harry Potter prequel trilogy.
In case you missed it, the movies announced are…
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, directed by Zack Snyder (2016)
- Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer (2016)
- Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot (2017)
- Justice League Part One, directed by Zack Snyder, with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams reprising their roles (2017)
- The Flash, starring Ezra Miller (2018)
- Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa (2018)
- Shazam, starring Dwayne Johnson as villain Black Adam (2019)
- Justice League Part Two, directed by Zack Snyder (2019)
- Cyborg, starring Ray Fisher (2020)
- Green Lantern (2020)
Yeah, that’s a LOT of movies to announce, and the press release also mentions forthcoming solo films for Superman and Batman – so let’s call that a full slate of twelve DC comics films over the next six years. Two a year, matching Marvel’s own plans…although, they have a three movie year or two in the mix.
I’d like to officially say at this point that I was wrong.
Last April, I took WB/DC to task in text (and I’m sure they cared!) for their seemingly half-assed efforts to push towards a DC Cinematic Universe. I wanted them to start announcing movies and dates and showing a plan.
Be careful what you wish for, right?
With some minor exceptions, such as the out of the blue Suicide Squad film (which I feel like is going to be based on the Batman related New 52 edition, not the classic 1980s series) and the inspired casting of Dwayne Johnson in Shazam, this feels like such a random mishmash of choices to make films.
Perhaps I over-estimate the minds at Marvel Studios, but it always strikes me that Kevin Feige and crew pick and choose each piece of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as if they’re putting together a jigsaw puzzle, deciding how each new element will add to what’s been presented before. Meanwhile, the Warner Bros/DC picks seem to be what happens when a kid is given an assortment of random LEGO pieces.
I don’t think the DC Universe will work with four films as done through the eyes of Zack Snyder (and yes, I enjoyed Man of Steel). I don’t think Cyborg is an interesting character that people will want to see. I don’t think that a solo Green Lantern film is a wise idea – even with the nine year buffer between this proposed film and the Ryan Reynolds bomb. Heck, announcing a brand new version of The Flash as the latest version is no more than two weeks old? That just puts a countdown clock on the TV version. Suddenly, Agents of SHIELD looks like a good idea…
I understand, competition is hard, and maybe Warner Brothers wanted to have a great showing to their shareholders as they start to make some very difficult financial cuts – but when you miss the opportunities to promote your films in the right ways (this would have been a killer farewell to New York by DC Comics at NYCC last weekend), you look like you’re just treading water.
All of that said – it’s early. We’ve had one film. Warner/DC could stick the landing. But as it stands, the war movie fans will care about will be between Iron Man and Captain America – not between Marvel and DC.
I know who I am – I’m going to be there for all of these movies day one, but as it stands, they feel like an obligation, a box being checked – not a moment of excitement. Make me wrong Warner Brothers.