Why DC failed and what they did right
Man of Steel had a few skeptics. Batman v Superman could have been better if they focused more on the main characters (Batman and Superman). And Suicide Squad …..well I don’t know what they were trying to do there. So with all the missed approaches including “mustache-gate” and Bat-fleck bailing out, is the DC Universe just a hot mess that can not be fixed?
I was sitting back watching Justice League and have to admit that despite my initial issues I actually see some upswing there. In fact some of that upswing actually started with Wonder Woman. This have me thinking that there may be some way of fixing what is broken.
All this talk of reboot with Flashpoint will mean nothing if there is not a real plan. And the plan needs to get back to what works. And what works is solid storytelling and character building. DC spent so much time trying to play catch up with Marvel that they failed to try and introduce people into this world. Ironically with DC having a fanbase familiar with the characters from the Justice League cartoons, they managed to create a universe unfamiliar to any of their fans. Meanwhile Marvel had to bring many of their characters unknown to the pubic into the mainstream. Groot, Rocket, Guardians of the Galaxy, and even many of the Avengers (including Black Widow and Hawkeye) were unfamiliar with the public. This forced Marvel to spend time flushing out each character so people would feel the gravity of the situation when they got to Infinity War,
10 years of building with some stumbles upon the way allowed Marvel to create a gem out of heroes many did not even know. Meanwhile on the DC side they had a library of content to fallback on. It wasn’t like DC was unfamiliar with success. They had the Nolan Universe that was loved by fans. On the animation they had Batman TAS, Superman TAS, Justice League, Young Justice, Batman Under the Redhood, Batman Superman, Superman Batman World’s Finest, and I can go on.
DC need to go back to the basics of telling great stories with their iconic characters. Stop worrying about what Marvel is doing and remember what DC has in its vaults. They have a library of stories for may of their main characters that people would line up to see. And despite Justice League not doing as well as the Marvel movies it could be on the right track to righting the ship.
Learn from the Comics
DC Comics did a light reboot from the New 52 to DC Rebirth with a few minor changes. Having similar resources they could forego Flashpoint and use Dr. Manhattan as a way to justify the minor changes. Keep what works and get rid of what didn’t. What worked was Wonder Woman and the warehouse fighting scene in Batman v Superman. What didn’t work was an older murdering Batman, a Superman that snapped necks and was destroying buildings in a fight. Take this time to recast Batman as well as his rogue gallery. In fact it wouldn’t be a bad idea to kick it off with “A Death in the Family”.
A Death in the Family would give DC a chance to get Batman and the Joker right. Also in the same year do something like “Lois and Clark” or “All-Star Superman“. A basic Superman story that introduces us again to the Superman we love while establishing a better Lex Luthor.
Slowly build each DC character in their own story using Justice League to promote the lesser known characters. With all the resources DC have they can turn this universe around quickly. They had to do it before after Batman & Robin and they can certainly do it again now. The market is primed to see iconic stories brought to the big screen and DC certainly have a lot to pull from. The question is if they can find the leadership that can bring it altogether before the well dries up?