The DC cinematic universe has taken a proverbial kicking from critics and fans alike in recent years, going back as far as Man Of Steel, the level of naysay and critical judgement levelled at the DCCU output has been nothing if consistent. In the last few years, big hitters like Batman Vs Superman and Suicide Squad have taken critical maulings and a great deal of joy has been taken by some corners of the fan community in pointing the finger at the likes of Zack Snyder to shoulder the blame whilst trumpeting the continued success of the Marvel cinematic universe. The comparison is nothing but striking when seen side by side, Marvels hit rate is consistent whereas DC have struggled to maintain a benchmark of quality in the eyes of some.
I’ll get this out there, I am not one of the DC naysayers, I found personal enjoyment in Man Of Steel, Batman Vs Superman and Suicide Squad respectively however I can’t deny DC’s penchant for dark and gritty may be a factor in their fall from grace. Look at any Marvel film, it’s bright, vibrant, the scores are triumphant & hopeful, it draws you closer, it inspires awe. DC’s need for their films to carry a heavy thematic darkness with them results quite often in washed out, bleak palettes set to booming, brooding scores that subconsciously keeps those all but fervently onboard the DC train, somewhat distanced, the cinematic equivalent of walking with your hood up and your headphones on, back off!
Studio intervention also I think plays a big part in DC films receiving lacklustre receptions, the WB seem to have a lack of faith in the people they entrust with these films, particularly after the muted response to BVS that prompted last minute rewrites and a number of cuts from Suicide Squad. They are hiring people with proven track records in what they do, why change scripts? Why insist on thematic cuts in footage at the expense of narrative cohesion? The recent arrival in cinemas of Wonder Woman goes to show that a little faith in a relatively untested director and a belief in the picture goes a long way.
The release in this last week of Wonder Woman in cinemas and the largely positive reviews it has received I can only hope signals a turning point for DC. Some of the things that have dragged them down on previous films have pretty much unanimously been set right and I can only hope this means the same for Justice League when it hits our screens later this year because it could well be a breaking point for the DCCU, a sink or swim moment, the end of their phase one output, gearing up to present us with more standalone films for each respective character over the next few years. If the lessons learnt from prior films and the faith shown to Wonder Woman is anything to go by, there is some much needed light at the end of the tunnel.