Why Critics Hate The DC Extended Universe? (And How To Fix The Issues)

Source, One Franchise To Battle The Marvel Cinematic Universe
Suicide Squad is now showing, and no, I am still currently preoccupied with our upcoming examinations to watch the movie with my family. However, I do get the liberty of surfing through the Internet to find some interesting news bits surrounding the said film. And to my surprise, Suicide Squad is receiving a handful of negative reviews, which makes this movie the third consecutive DC Extended Universe movie not to be praised entirely. Although fans are loving the film, critics say that the story is incoherent and the editing is choppy, but the acting is on-point. Fans of DC Comics are critical about the outcome, and they even went as far as to actually start a petition to shut down Rotten Tomatoes, until the one who started the trend put a halt to the appeal.

Personally I have high expectations for Suicide Squad, and there is definitely no doubt that I will watch and enjoy the movie, just like what we did in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but there is no denying that there are some reasons as to why critics are often keen on lambasting DC Movies recently. For our first editorial in a long while, Dateline Movies will carefully analyze the roots of this outcome, from both a critic's and a moviegoer's perspective, and provide solutions that will address these concerns.

Source, Green Lantern is Probably Taking A Day Off
1. Too Much Focus On The Future (Rushed Story Arcs)

DC Extended Universe does have an interesting future that lies ahead of them, especially since that DC Comics has a large vault of jaw-dropping stories and potentially amazing characters that are just waiting to be adapted to the big screen. With Justice League and Wonder Woman just a few months away, fans are already hoarding their money just to see the flicks. However, if you are focusing too much on the future, then you are severely sacrificing the quality of your stories. Not simply just the stories, but the overall value of the movie. While I believe there is a necessity to set-up upcoming films, as well as to keep the audience's enthusiasm afloat, it really should not be much of a priority to begin with. This crime against rational storytelling is made unbelievably evident in the franchise's second installment, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice which, even though it is still entertaining in its own right, features not-so subtle set-ups. The movie lost focus as about a quarter of the movie is dedicated in debuting upcoming movies, including the Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman. DC, nevertheless, is not the only one committing this sin, as Marvel Studios has done this before in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The Solution: We propose a rather very simple solution to patch-up all the damages in the forthcoming installments. Keep the screenwriters heads "now-oriented", which means that they should put much more emphasis on fleshing-out their already established characters, and save the rest, including future villains, for further flicks. The movie Man of Steel received the most positive reviews among all three currently released installments because it remained focused on Superman alone. In addition, never assume that the audiences will simply accept the plot holes brought upon by the screenplay's unfocused narrative, because they will not.

Source, This is Not Your Typical Superman, Alright!

2. Being Really Dark Does Not Equal To Being Really Delightful

It is not a capital sin to make a movie serious or dark in tone, as the darkness that surrounds any movie will definitely give the viewers enough tension to root for the protagonist even more. A dark tone will also be good to instill thought-provoking moments, as through this, the audiences will want to see more until the very end. However, being overly serious is just like that pessimistic friend of yours who keeps on exploring the negative side, and constantly says "Life is bad. Period.". I learned from my Filipino Language teacher recently that every once in a while, you have to make a joke or two, and he is right. But this is not to say that every superhero movie has to be a comedy, because we all know how that feels. Remember, a lot of the audiences who watch superhero movies are youngsters, and it would be bad for business if about half of the audiences are alienated from your movie.

The Solution: I once read an opinion piece in a comment thread, where a DC and Marvel fan war is commencing, that DC should remember to "be dark, but fun to watch". Those are words to live by in the film-making industry. Although we are not advising to have every dialogue in DC's films to be exclusively corny one-liners, but there should be at least one enlightening line that does not affect the overall tone of the movie. Marvel has frequently done this in their films with the exception of yet again Avengers: Age of Ultron for putting a lot of boring quips.

Source, Jesse Eisenberg Better Fits As The Riddler
3. Inaccurate Portrayal of Characters (Questionable Casting)

One of the most important things to consider when adapting a comicbook to the big screen is how should the characters be portrayed, and more particularly, who would portray these characters. DC has had some very interesting and successful castings recently, including Ben Affleck as a brooding Batman, and Gal Gadot as an enigmatic Wonder Woman. Suicide Squad, as previously mentioned, has a spectacular cast. However, having Jesse Eisenberg, a fairly decent actor, portray a cartoonish, wise-cracking Lex Luthor, and having no resemblance to the comicbook character, was seen by fans and critics as one of Dawn of Justice's weak points. Man of Steel was met with some criticism for having Superman, who is noted for not killing his enemies, brutally kill General Zod at the ending, as well as having almost no regard for others. While it is not strange for a movie to create their own versions of certain characters (I actually see this as a unique portrayal, albeit tiresome), changing almost everything except the name is a timebomb waiting to detonate.

The Solution: Simply sticking to what is already established and notable is already a solution. Given that there are already a million pages worth of basis to understand the characters, why is there a need for change? It should be noted that DC and Warner Bros. is clearly attempting to create something different and unexpected, but at the very least they should have maintained the essence of the characters. As what my Dad would always say, "Why change something that does not need changing?", or in another quotation, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Source, Director Zack Snyder
4. A Lack of Writers and Directors With Prior Comic Knowledge

There is this quote that says "The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world", and it has some sort of connection to our topic. The two most valuable parts of a film-craft crew are the director and the writer. The writer is the one who creates the story, from start to finish, while the director is the one that leads the movie to the right direction. If both are either absent or useless, then the movie is surely doomed from the start. Zack Snyder, the director of Man of Steel, is hated by DC for not relying on the source material. While he is noted for directing other comicbook adaptations such as Watchmen and 300, Snyder is also known for focusing way too much on visual imagery over logical storytelling. To formulate a proper adaptation, a passionate set of members must be present, for this shows that all of those involved in the project know what they are doing.

The Solution: We are not in any way suggesting to expel Zack Snyder from the franchise, as he still deserves credit for one of the people jump-starting the entire universe in the first place. Instead, we suggest that Zack Snyder should make use of his intriguing visual tastes with proper comicbook knowledge. This way, he will get a better understanding on his craft. In addition, Snyder should learn to collaborate with those who actually know the characters he is handling, especially with the screenwriters. Having Patty Jenkins helm Wonder Woman, Ben Affleck in a solo Batman film, and James Wan in Aquaman is a very good start, as these directors know the characters by heart. Also, why not ask writers from DC Comics to pen some scripts for them, given that they are already writing stories for the characters?

Source, Smile For The Camera
5. A Lack of True Leadership (Corporate Meddling)

Do any of you still remember the major box office car crash that was the Fantastic Four reboot? Unfortunately, we all do, because not only are we going to be reviewing it in another post, the reboot is one of the few instances corporate meddling was very evident behind the scenes. Yes, we know that there should be at least someone to keep the crewmates in line, but it is an absolute "do not" as more meddling will mean more problems, and more problems mean inevitable critical disaster. When a studio removes the creative freedom of the director, who we previously mentioned is being the one to lead the project, and/or the writer, then the essence of the concept will be gone in an instant. Besides, what will be the point of hiring a director and a writer if you are just going to edit-out all of their efforts? Recent news states that a lot of Jared Leto's Joker scenes were removed under orders from the studio's head, and that the story for Suicide Squad was rushed for completion. This is a clear sign that DC Comics needs someone, not just anyone, who can lead the franchise at the correct course.

The Solution: Marvel Studios has only one public figure who mostly calls the shots, and that executive producer Kevin Feige. Through Kevin Feige, the schedule of all their movies, as well as other plans, are noticeably organized and laid-out properly. He does not do this alone, however, as he also has consultants and sub-division heads to keep the entire project alive and well. DC Comics is in dire need of someone who can set things in order, and who can prevent studios from editing-out their crafts. Through this, their movies will be able to avoid deleting crucial scenes from the theatrical cut, and the pure essence of the flicks will still remain intact. Releasing an uncut, straight-to-video version of their films is also a good alternative, as this can help with regaining lost profits and redeeming their fans' favor. However, this should not happen every after movie, as audiences will become more and more impatient to purchase these "Ultimate Cuts", and might possibly be considered a modus operandi by now.

Well that was longer than I expected. I hope that DC Comics will be able to get their head straight soon, and finally deliver another amazing cinematic universe. I just hope the movie is not as bad as they say, but I will still watch it next week. Up next, we will be discussing in another editorial a particularly hated reboot. You guessed it, it is Ghostbusters, and let us see why everyone hates it so much. We already said that we will be reviewing the Fantastic Four reboot, and a review shall come! Also, some interesting cancelled movies which we are hoping to complete within the month. I guess that is all for now, and before we leave, here are some Suicide Squad songs, straight from the movie. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!


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