Since the DC Movie Universe started in 2013, there has been a bitter taste in a lot of people’s mouths. Of course, not everyone had this same reaction; there is still a huge audience for these films (including myself), but compared to their biggest competitors, The Marvel Cinematic Universe; it has not been so smooth. This is a huge shame, as DC comics are extremely popular and has thousands of fantastic stories and some of the best characters in any medium, ever. There are literally millions of fans of their comic universe going back over seventy-five years, although it would be impossible to please everyone, the reaction has been far from what Warner Brothers expected.
When it was announced that Warner Brothers were going to create a universe similar to Marvel’s, everyone was extremely excited and even after Man of Steel’s mixed reactions, there was a bright future for the DC Universe. Then in 2016 Batman v. Superman Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad came out. The bitter taste in everyone’s mouths was now turning sour. It felt like they were trying to cram too much into every film and didn’t know what they were really doing.
The saving grace of this was Wonder Woman released in 2017, which was a brilliant superhero film; which started bringing audiences back. This has now collapsed though, Justice League has failed its targets at the box office, Ben Affleck is very close to quitting Batman and no one knows what the future for the DC Universe will be.
This is where I come in, in this article; the first part is going to pitch what I would have done when creating this universe. The second half is a theory of where the Universe could go. Each part is going to be broken up into different movies and remember this is only my opinion in what they should have done and my theories on what should happen.
Movie 1: Man of Steel
Man of Steel is arguably DC’s strongest movie. It has a solid story, didn’t cram too much about the rest of the Universe and is overall a good film. The main complaint about this film though is Superman. The Superman from the comics is the perfect man, always making the best decisions and will go out of his way to save anyone that he can and has an excellent intellect. The Superman that we got in Man of Steel was the “Dark Knight” version of him, he was dark, conflicted and didn’t always make the right decisions. It made for an interesting and more realistic take on what Superman could be, but that isn’t what all the fans wanted, Henry Cavill was perfectly cast, but did not have the material to show it.
There is obviously the big complaint about the end fight as well where he and General Zod carelessly fight through the city and probably kill hundreds or thousands of people. So the only real change that this film could have committed to was just making Superman a more light-hearted character and still have these dark elements and things happening to him, but showing how his strong will and positive attitude fought against these awful things. Man of Steel is a movie, where in my opinion has very little things that would need changing and could have still been salvaged in sequels, as this was Superman’s origin; so let’s go into the next movie where things get a bit more interesting.
Movie 2: Batman v. Superman Dawn of Justice
Although I like the Ultimate cut of this film, the film should not have existed. Instead, I would have created this movie:
Batman and Superman: Dawn of Justice
There will be similar story beats from Batman v Superman, I will be taking the best parts from the film; that I think should be in the film, but create the story how I think it should have happened. I am keeping all the casting choices, except for Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, he can be played by someone else.
The beginning of the film, let’s keep that exactly how it happens, we see what the public saw in Man of Steel and what Bruce Wayne witnessed in the battle. Superman is struggling with what he did in Man of Steel and changes his ways, he becomes more light-hearted and never wants the same thing to ever happen again, he helps everyone and becomes a public figure in society and is praised by nearly everyone as a hero.
Batman is not an old, miserable Batman, he in his prime. After experiencing what he saw from the Man of Steel fight, he realises that he cannot stop that kind of threat level on his own and wants to find out everything he can about Superman and a lot of the film is him discovering and investigating Superman’s past, learning about the planet Krypton and he is the one that goes into Superman’s ship and discovers everything there is to know about him.
Batman is going to be more like his comic version, he won’t be gullible enough to believe that Superman is evil, he understands that he was trying to help and he won’t be fooled by Lex Luthor that Superman is sending him messages. Both Batman and Superman encounter each other a few times while they are both trying to stop crime and they struggle to understand each other’s ideologies, Batman who beats criminals to a pulp and lives to cause fear; and Superman who is trying to keep peace and wants everything done the right way. Superman just wants to help Batman, but he refuses every time, as he hates the fact Superman never wants to bend the rules where they might have to.
Lex Luthor is a mastermind like he is in the comics and is building an empire. He see’s that his biggest threats are Batman and Superman, but knows they will not work together because of their different beliefs. He finds out who Superman is, the same way that he does in Batman v Superman and invites him to his party like in the original film. Wonder Woman will also be at the party similar to how she was in the film. While Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent are at the party, Lex kidnaps Martha Kent and Louis Lane and puts them in a room full of Kryptonite.
Superman asks Batman for help, Batman agrees and they go to the hideout, here we get a fight similar to the warehouse scene in Batman v. Superman. Batman’s job is to find Louis Lane and Martha Kent. He finds them but Lex Luthor has created a suit (like in the comics) made from Kryptonite. He starts fighting Batman and knocks him away, Superman comes in but is unable to beat Lex, because of the Kryptonite, Batman then uses his intellect and great fighting ability, removes the suit and throws the Kryptonite far away. Superman starts losing his temper because of Louis and Martha being kidnapped and wants to beat Lex to a pulp, Batman seeing this, now understands Superman’s more peaceful methods and tells him it is not the right thing to do, thus both Batman and Superman now understand and respect each other’s ideologies.
The end of the film will be Batman and Superman creating a base in the Batcave and say they will look for others to create a team to stop any threats ever happening to the world. In my opinion, this would have been a much better introduction to both characters and would have opened the universe up to countless possibilities.
Movie 3: Suicide Squad
I wouldn’t have made a Suicide Squad movie this early and if it had to be done, definitely not the way that David Ayer had done. All the trailers for this film were amazing and had me as well as millions of people excited for it. When seeing this film last summer, I was instantly disappointed. The acting was brilliant (except for The Enchantress), the film was shot well and that was it. The story was all over the place, the villain was dreadful and worst of all the editing felt like it was a trailer; probably because DC actually had a trailer house company edit it!
There were two ways I would have made this movie, firstly not have the Enchantress as the villain, instead have the Joker. Having Enchantress as the main villain was an awful mistake regardless how badly acted she was played, it made little to no sense that a group of B rate villains would fight someone who is a Justice League level villain. Also, there’s the fact that there was no point in making them the team, they made the team for no reason and then it was Amanda Waller’s fault having the Enchantress come out anyway. This would have been easily fixed by having Joker as the main villain, have him be the reason they come together and concentrate on his and Harley’s backstory throughout; instead of having a few minutes (badly edited) attempting to fill you in their backstory.
If they didn’t want to go through with that idea, then I would have literally adapted and expanded upon the movie, which I class as the true Suicide Squad film, Batman Assault on Arkham. The plot of this movie was easy to follow and very entertaining and makes for a far better Suicide Squad movie. Let’s hope the sequel is far better, but let’s move on to arguably DC’s best film.
In all honesty, I would not change anything about this film, it was almost perfect. All apart from the ending, it was far too CGI heavy, just change Ares to practical effects, instead of a weird flying fight, have an epic sword fight, apart from this though, I would not change a thing.
If you read my last post, I quite liked Justice League, I thought it was a fun, but flawed film. That being said, there are many things which could get changed from the already filmed project. Make Superman have the black costume, make it a two-parter; having Darkseid as the main overall villain, improve the visual effects and lastly don’t cut and change it so much.
Now let’s pretend that my version of Batman and Superman Dawn of Justice had happened, Superman is not dead, he and Batman are already friends, how would this effect this film? I believe in a great way. Let’s keep Steppenwolf as the main villain, just expand on his story.
We could have had Superman and Batman looking for the heroes, first finding Wonder Woman and then the rest, this would have kept Batman in his character; he doesn’t like working with others, but Superman would convince Bruce to bring in these heroes into the team.
This would have brought in the team dynamic earlier on, Superman would build a relationship with most of the team. The other change I would have done is have more mention to Darkseid and bring the immediate threat of him from the first film, through stories about him; so that when the next Justice League film happens we already know of him and know how big a threat he is; very similar to how Marvel has handled Thanos.
Where my Universe would have headed
In this section are films that I would have then done after this film and a brief sentence explaining what happens in these films.
Aquaman – keep the same plot as the movie coming out soon.
Flash – Have a Reverse Flash story.
Batman -Long Halloween story plot (doesn’t have to be early on in his career like the book) but adapt this story, it’s easily one of Batman’s best.
Justice League 2 – Darkseid comes and the film introduces the Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter.
Man of steel 2 – the death of Superman Storyline. This affects the DC universe and causes it to go darker for the next few films.
Wonder Woman 2 – Cheetah storyline.
Batman- follow the Arkham Asylum graphic novel storyline, as now the Universe is darker because of the death of Superman.
Flash – tries to reverse time to bring back Superman, it will be an adaptation of Flashpoint.
Justice League- the return of Superman storyline.
These are the films I would have personally done, if I was Warner Brothers, sadly they did not do this, so this last section is how I would fix the universe they have created for themselves.
The Future of the DC Universe?
So you’re Warner Brothers, you have one critically well-received film and your “big” film Justice League has done much worse than expected at the box office; where do you go from here? Answer; you run with it.
Comparing them to their biggest competitors Marvel. Marvel didn’t always have a great list of films. There have been more than a few average films made in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. DC may have had a rocky ride, but 2017 has shown improvements to the universe and shows a step in the right direction for the future of the DC Universe. The box office may not be showing this, but if they allow creators flow with one vision and play their cards right, they could potentially still fix this Universe. I just hope that they learn these lessons and hire the right people to be in charge of these projects.
All DC needs to do is follow the improvements that I have set out for Justice League and maybe do some of the films that I previously mentioned in the future. Hopefully, in the near future, DC will be as popular as the Marvel films and a DC fan such as myself can live happily knowing they are bringing justice to their ever-increasing universe.
Written By Luca Palumbo 05/01/2018