Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

I mean if the US government was cool paying out $1 trillion because it owned up to Superman's actions, then great.  And if Superman was willing to work to rebuild (saving billions of dollars), then I'll stand corrected.


Changing gears a little bit.

The Ultimate Edition has really got my mind going regarding Bruce Wayne.  Because we get almost no context of what his character was pre-Superman, I have to wonder about what he was like before.

There are so many things about the character that are contradictory or confusing.  Was the Bat-branding something new, or is it only new that people are getting killed for it in prison?  The movie implies that it's new (with the newspaper coverage of it), but neither Bruce nor Alfred ever mentions it.  If it's new, it's something you'd think Alfred would be upset about.  But, again, he seems almost more upset about Bruce not having a girlfriend or a social life than any new parts of Bruce's behavior as Batman (he mutters something about Bruce's love/social life 2-3 times).

If the Bat-branding is new, why is Bruce so nonchalant about people getting killed?  Or does he not care?  Superman spends a lot of time investigating the branding, but the World's Greatest Detective doesn't even seem to notice it.

Speaking of newspaper coverage, Clark treats Batman like he's a brand-new thing.  "This Bat vigilante" is what he keeps calling him.  Batman is stated to have been active for 20 years - has Clark never heard of him in 20 years?  Or is Clark just being dismissive of him, thinking that if he calls him "Batman", he's legitimizing him?

Or is it something else?  Has Batman worked way under the radar for the entire time, and is the emergence of the Bat-branding a thing that has forced the media to finally acknowledge him as real?  Alfred mentions "exploding penguins" at one point so I'm assuming there was a time when the Penguin attacked Gotham with exploding penguins and Batman saved the day.  Did this all happen outside of the media's coverage?

But there's a Bat-signal?  And Gordon seems pretty chummy with Batman.  So he can't have been *that* underground.  Plus, Suicide Squad shows that Batman has no problem jumping on cars in the middle of active streets and driving his Batmobile all over town.  He's not exactly being overly stealthy.

Then there's the killing.  Is that new?  Has this version of Batman always been okay with casualties in his war on crime?  Even after the "Martha" scene, Bruce kills a handful of people without thinking.  He's in a hurry and against a clock, but he definitely uses lethal force a lot.  Alfred doesn't mention the killing either (at the docks or at the warehouse, where he leaves multiple bodies each) so I have to assume it's not new either.  Did he start killing after the death of Robin?  That's the kind of thing that would make Bruce go dark, I'd assume.  If the killing and branding has been around since the death of Robin, Alfred would probably be used to it by now and might not mention it.

Which brings me to my idea.  The DCEU seems to be content on doing smaller, less connected movies.  Aquaman is standalone.  Patty Jenkins says that Wonder Woman 2 isn't dependent on Justice League.  There's no indication that Shazam will involve anyone else in the DCEU.  The Harley/Joker stuff might involve Batman but doesn't need to.  And there's no Justice League 2 in development.  Whenever Matt Reeves talks about The Batman, he says it stands alone.  With Ben Affleck wavering on playing Batman again.....what if they decided to take the opportunity to answer some of my questions, while also getting a chance to re-cast.

What if The Batman is a prequel?

Cast a younger actor that looks enough like Ben Affleck to make it work.  Or, if Ben Affleck wants to do it, de-age him a bit (either with makeup and hair dye or slight CGI).  Show me what Batman was like before.  Either tell the Bat-Family story or the death of Robin story.  If there's a Nightwing or a Batgirl out there, explain what happened to them and why they don't talk to Bruce anymore.  If he didn't kill before, explain why he's okay with it now.  If the branding isn't new, explain what happened there.  Bring back JK Simmons and show his relationship with Gordon.  Show his relationship with the media. 

If you cast a new actor and it works, then you can bring the new actor into the world with Flashpoint.  If you cast a new actor and it doesn't work, Affleck can take back over as the older Batman.

Batman is crucial to this universe, but we have such a little understanding to how his character works.  Fill in the gaps for us, DC.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

There are some stories that I'd definitely like to see explored with Batman. A lof of the character in the DCEU is based on the fact that we're all so familiar with the character that is just kinda fits into the Batman place that's already in our brains. But to see all of those other great characters on screen would be really cool. I'd rather see it with Affleck, but I guess we have to live with whatever we can get. There are so many directions what the character and his movies could go. I just keep waiting for the studio to completely mess up the universe. I guess we'll see how the next couple of movies go.

I wonder how much of Justice League's box office performance can be attributed to the press coverage. Typically, you'd see a bunch of fluff pieces about movies like this before they come out. The fan excitement, and the geekiness and all that. However, I can't really remember any coverage of Justice League that was anything but negative. Even when they were reporting on things like casting, it seemed like they'd always throw in some line about how disappointing the franchise is and how Marvel does it better. And even the criticisms that we see of the movie are largely based on those behind-the-scenes reports from anonymous sources. Even the demand for a Snyder cut is based on those reports, so even the fans of the franchise are rebelling against the film! Then we had the whole Affleck #metoo report that kinda fizzled out after a while, but might have still had some sort of impact.

The movie seems to get better comments than a lot of the DCEU movies, which means that it should be less divisive, right? Yet the press is still horrible and earnings were down. I'm sure the movie still made money and will make much more when it comes to the home video release(s?), but the numbers were down. It's just a weird scenario.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

I don't know...I think the DCEU was behind the 8-ball even without the press.  I know, considering everything political, you're anti-media right now (and that's a discussion for another date and time), but the DCEU has been a mixed bag for a majority of people.

When you're talking about comic movies, you have to remember that the vast majority of the audience doesn't know most of these characters.  Most people know Superman and Batman, but even 1/3 of the DC Trinity (Wonder Woman) is a virtual unknown.  There was the show in the 70s, but that's about her biggest touch with mainstream America.  I'd guess most people would assume she's just a female Superman.

I'd say just about no one outside of the comic community knows who Cyborg is.  The Flash might have some extra reach because of the CW show, but I'm sure most people know he "runs fast."  Aquaman is a joke.

So here's where we get back into Marvel/DC.  The MCU has literally made billions of dollars on characters that are even less popular.  No one knew Iron Man, and now he might be one of the most popular/known superheroes out there.  People now know all about Captain America and Ant-Man and Dr. Strange.  Hell, Marvel has turned Rocket Raccoon into a household name.

And whether you like the movies or not, they play to a larger audience because they're simple premises with bright colors and lighthearted comedy.  From a box office standpoint, a mid-level MCU movie can compete with a DC movie for two reasons:

1. Children can go and see them.  Which means that parents go, and it often means that children and parents go multiple times.
2. Non-comic fans find it easier to go because they're more welcoming.

I dragged my fiancee to Dr. Strange because I wanted to see it.  Even though she'd never heard of it (and definitely not him), she ended up having a good time.  I did the same with Suicide Squad, and she couldn't get into it.  One was a fairly straightforward movie with the girl from the Notebook and a love story, and the other was a CGI explosionfest with a bunch of characters she didn't recognize. 

She's not a movie person, and she's definitely not a comic person.  She's one of those people who thinks that all comic characters exist in the same universe and wonders why Iron Man and Superman don't show up in a movie together.  And because Marvel makes movies for children and non-fans, she was able to understand and enjoy what was going on.

I don't think it's a coincidence that the DCEU movie that was the most successful was a) the story that was the most paint-by-numbers origin story and b) the one that you liked the least.  As far as a) is concerned, it made Wonder Woman the most approachable DC movie.

Because you can go see Wonder Woman without seeing anything else.  You can go see Spider-Man: Homecoming without seeing any previous MCU movies.  You might not know who Iron Man is, but the movie plays it pretty safe with his character.  Tony is a mentor character named Iron Man in an iron suit who leads a group called the Avengers that Spider-Man wants to be a part of.

The DCEU is much more stream-lined.  A lot of the character moments require you to understand and know each movie.  Man of Steel plays a huge part in Bruce Wayne's motivations in Batman v Superman (the movie shows that Superman was involved in the fight but it doesn't go into who Superman was fighting or why the collateral damage was explainable).  The scene with Kevin Costner could be confusing if you have no idea who he is, that he's dead, that he died tragically, etc.  The movie plays like a direct sequel to Man of Steel at times, but even team-up Avengers movies usually treat the audience like children when it comes to "this is (hero), this is who they are and this is what their powers are"

Then there's the tone.  The movies are too dark and too scary for young kids to go.  In BvS (the theatrical cut), neither Superman nor Batman are all that heroic or all that likable.  It ends up being a little like Batman Returns where it ends up scaring kids away.  And while Marvel movies are fun and exciting and funny, DC movies are more serious and real and dour.  So, again, you lose casual viewers who like the escapism of lighter movies.  My fiancee would be much more likely to watch a Pixar/Disney movie than a darker, action-thriller.  So she's more excited for me to drag her to Dr. Strange than a Suicide Squad.

(And, honestly, the same applies to Star Wars - those movies are safe and made for anyone to enjoy, regardless of age or awareness of the source material)

So the audience for Justice League shrinks.  BvS wasn't well-received, and Justice League looked like more of the same.  Kids weren't going to go, and they'd already lost a lot of the casual audience because of tone and story. 

Media probably didn't help, but decisions that the DCEU made had already cut out a large part of the audience.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

Yeah, that's all true. I think we've discussed those elements before, and it's fair to say that for a number of reasons, DC isn't going to be making the Disney money with these movies. From the style they're going with, to the fact that the audience is already way more familiar with these characters than the Marvel characters, I think it's safe to say that the billion dollar mark isn't realistic for these films. I wouldn't say that they're "behind" because of this. I think that if anything, it's because they're at a much more advanced stage of cultural awareness than Marvel is. I think it's wrong to really compare the DC movies with the Marvel movies (though I know I do it all the time anyway).

All of that taken into consideration, the DC movies have their following. They perform well on a consistent basis, and they do well in terms of both box office and home video sales. Even with the division amongst viewers, the franchise has proven that it has legs to stand on.

And I'm not calling Justice League a failure really. The franchise could be finding its sweet spot for all I know, but there was a noticeable dip in the box office sales between BvS (a more divisive film) and Justice League (a generally more well received film). So I'm just wondering how much of that is based on press and how much of it is just the franchise settling into its comfort zone in terms of box office.

The reason I'm down on the press isn't a recent thing or a political thing. I've been pointing out the lies and slanted reporting in news media for many years. I incorporated the subject into my writing before the term "fake news" was a thing, and long before Donald Trump was running for President. I've literally watched an actor friend appear on a "legit" national news program, playing a character. Basically, I know that the press doesn't just take the facts and put them out there for people to know and form opinions with. They are in the business of forming those opinions for people, and it's been that way for a very long time. I absolutely do see it crossing over from political coverage to entertainment coverage, and everything else.  I think it's interesting to understand the bias in news stories, and to identify the reason why that bias exists.

Generally, there is a certain approach to reporting for these franchises. The media tends to play to the fans, because the fans will visit their pages and click on their stories. They'll write a bunch of fluff pieces about the casting and filming process. They'll publish some interviews, hyping the movie. They'll publish some behind the scenes pictures, generating excitement for the movie.

With the DC movies, the reporting is usually different. Even in simple casting reports, I'll usually notice some jab at the franchise overall. They will talk about the failure of the franchise, or how disappointing it is. This was happening long before JL came out, and the reports didn't reflect either the box office success of any of the movies, or the general audience reaction (which isn't all A's across the board, but is far from, say Fantastic Four). The articles reflected critic reactions, and that's pretty much it. So the news outlets were pretty much generating their own stories at that point. Their critics down-vote the movies, and then their news coverage constantly references the critic reviews.

Then the coverage of the new movies will usually write from a negative angle. They'll constantly reference mysterious unnamed sources "close to production" (which could mean someone who was watching them film from a hundred yards away), talking about the chaos and drama behind the scenes, and how whichever movie they're reporting on is completely unwatchable. The panic! The desperation! They'll report on things that are standard for any production, but they'll talk about it as though it's a sign of sure failure for the entire franchise. Usually, they'll follow it up by posing the question of whether or not it's time for Warner Bros to admit their mistake and start from scratch.

When Justice League came out, the most vocal criticisms that I saw of the movie reflected the reports from those mysterious sources, nearly word for word, making the movie sound like one of those super embarrassing movies that studios produce just to hold onto the rights to certain characters, but which never see the light of day. The movie sounded like a total disaster, which worried me because I already had concerns about the movie.

Then I actually watched the movie. I knew about Joss coming in, but I didn't go out of my way to find a list of which scenes were his and which were Snyder's. I knew about the mustache thing, but I didn't go out of my way to study Cavill's face in every scene that he appeared in. I just watched the movie the same way that I'd watch any movie... and it was just a movie. It was a pretty good movie at that! Not my favorite of the franchise, but not my least favorite either. The mustache, which was so distracting that it totally destroyed the movie as far as the press was concerned was, I'm sure, apparent if you were looking for it specifically, but it didn't distract me at all. The "Frankenstein's monster" of a movie was really just a movie about different types of people joining forces. The panic wasn't warranted at all.

So, how much of the movie's criticisms or the lower box office can be chalked up to the press? I'm not saying it's all about the press. I have criticisms of the movie and I understand that the numbers were probably going to fall on their own either way. I'm not being unrealistic about that. However, we have fans of the franchise who refuse to even buy the movie on home video because they're demanding a Snyder cut that will probably never happen. Actual fans are refusing to support the film because they've been led to believe that Joss Whedon came in and was told to make the movie his own. They don't even seem to get that most of (if not all of) what Whedon shot was because it's what Snyder had planned and had been working on with Whedon. They don't seem to process the fact that Snyder wasn't booted from the franchise because the studio lost faith in him, he left because his daughter committed suicide and he needed to step back.

What we're seeing is a lot of the reaction to the movie being dictated by the press coverage of the movie. So now I'm left to wonder how much of the box office reflects the franchise itself, and how much of it reflects the media campaign against the movie. I'm not shifting blame for the movie's box office performance, or making excuses, but I am acknowledging another significant factor that should be taken into consideration.

And from there, we can ponder the question of whether there is some competition pushing this narrative, or if the negativity simply generates more clicks for those media outlets.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

It is weird.  If the chaos behind the scenes of the Han Solo movie had been for a DC movie, I think it'd be out of control.  But since it's Star Wars, it seems like the bad news is tempered a bit.

Does Disney pay off people to give them better press?  It wouldn't surprise me.  But I think the most likely case is that people want to hear about chaos at DC.  I think the public persona is that those movies are failures and the Marvel movies are successes.  So people will click to read a story about "behind the scenes problems at DC" or "will Affleck leave?  who will replace him?"  Right now, superhero films are the height of clickbait, and I think these sites are just playing to the crowd.

If DC films were more beloved and Marvel films more chaotic, I think it'd be swapped....Disney or no.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

Yeah, that could be so. Too much of news reporting is based on clickbait, with false or misrepresented information that's just meant to keep people riled up. With the DC movies, it seems like the press created their good guys (Disney/Marvel) and their bad guys (DC) and they play up those angles as much as possible.

The Star Wars movies make this interesting. The prequels are pretty much hated, so the new movies didn't earn any faith before they were released, and yet the drama was downplayed (along with their horribly flawed finished products). Many people thought that The Force Awakens was a bad rehash of the original Star Wars, but that didn't earn the franchise any negative press.

And even if the news stories are clickbait, the film reviews from critics should be a little more balanced, but they're not. So are the critics being told to feed I to the clickbait narrative?

I don't know whether I believe that it's a problem with the press Aline, or a campaign backed by Disney. But I do think there is a very serious problem here.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant … solo-movie

Just the concept of this movie confuses me so much.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

It doesn't really *confuse* me, since this sort of thing isn't new to comic book stories. Even now, there are two versions of Superman and the Flash out there.

If they do this, they need to make the separation clean, as with film and tv. Maybe make this a streaming platform movie? I don't know. At least call it "DC Multiverse: The Joker" or something like that.

That said, this sort of multi-dipping is what made it hard for me to keep up with comic books, and why I stopped reading them. I'm not sure that copying that particular comic book element is a great idea.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant … black-suit

It's hard to say if this was cut from Snyder's vision or Whedon's, but it's still cool to see the black suit in live action.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant … girl-movie

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

I was just coming to post that link!

I am in no way surprised by this. If anything, I'm surprised that there's a Joss comment at all, because I still believe that he was let go as soon as his ex-wife spoke out. He was already very passive-aggressive toward Justice League by the time it came out, which is not the tone of a team player who is still working with the company. They probably just didn't want bad press for JL, so they waited until after the home video release to make the announcement.

Just my theory.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

Now I'm wondering if we will get a new Batgirl director (probably a woman) or if they will put the character in one of the other upcoming movies instead. Nightwing, Gotham City Sirens, The Batman, or a Birds of Prey movie would all be options.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

Did anyone see the Batman and Harley Quinn DC Animated movie?  It was.....very bizarre.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

I have not seen it. Good bizarre, or bad bizarre?

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

Bad bizarre.  There were some good pieces, but it's got a weird sex scene at one point and a weird fart-joke scene in another.  And a couple different musical numbers.  It felt like a weird knock off movie, and Kevin Conroy's voice is the only thing that made me realize it was a legit thing.

I was on a plane and didn't finish it.  I don't know if I will.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

It's never good when you're on a plane and still turn off the movie. I will probably skip this one. smile

I'm interested in Gotham by Gaslight though.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

I didn't turn it off.  The plane landed and I stopped caring smile

If it were good, I'd probably have pursued the ending.  But there wasn't enough good to outweigh the bad.

So is the DC Animated stuff trying to aim to a more mature audience?

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

Seems that way. The sex scenes are always a bit weird for me to watch in the animated movies.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

Is it all new people running the animated division?  Is Bruce Timm still involved?  It doesn't seem like it from my (limited) research.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

Not sure. I haven't looked into that for a while.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

Bruce Timm is still writing and producing the animated films.

I just don't have the patience for DC Original Animated Films anymore. I saw everything up to JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR. NEW FRONTIER and GOTHAM KNIGHTS were excellent, the two GREEN LANTERN features were good, but the rest suffered from a terrible combination of medicore animation, weak production and poor adaptation.

The animation isn't outright *bad*, but there isn't a lot of camera movement and the motion isn't fluid. That's a problem for fight scenes because they never feel exciting or perilous; it's like watching a turn-based animatic in a video game. All the JUSTICE LEAGUE, WONDER WOMAN, SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN/BATMAN movies were devoted largely to 'epic' fight scenes that were slow and tedious.

NEW FRONTIER dodged this because it used very simple character designs that allowed smoother animation (much like the TV shows). The GREEN LANTERN films also had smoother animation, I'm guessing because they were set in space or on barren planets and there was less to animate.

Then there's the production problems. The BATMAN AND SON, BATMAN VS. ROBIN and BATMAN: BAD BLOOD features are focused on the relationship between Batman and his homicidal son, Damian. But, for whatever reason, it sounds like actors Jason O'Mara and Stuart Allan performed separately when recording their dialogue. There is no sense of them reacting to each other or playing off each other's performances. Bruce Wayne and Damian feel like they're in different rooms due to overlong pauses between exchanges and a lack of matching in their respective vocal presences. The BATMAN AND SON series creates no chemistry between Batman and son.

And finally, the adaptations make a lot of poor choices. ALL-STAR SUPERMAN offered a charmless adaptation of the comic without any of the story's wit and humour. UNDER THE RED HOOD adapted only a fragment of Jason Todd's story and it felt like an unaired pilot that never went to series. FLASHPOINT featured an alternate universe story that failed to first establish what's going on in the original universe (as it had no continuity with previous features).

I think everyone who works on these films is very talented, but for whatever reason, the budget, production schedule and development process is leading to material that's mediocre.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant

For me, the stand out of the animated films is Gods and Monsters.  By all appearances, they were just letting Bruce Timm be Bruce Timm.  There was no “adapt this” or “help us sell a comics reboot” or “make it rated R”.  Instead it seemed like someone finally said, “Hey Bruce!  You got any cool ideas?”

DC didn’t need to change the tv formula for their cartoons; it was working fine.  The only change was format to DVD.  Maybe the new, upcoming change of format (to a streaming app) will get them back on track since it feels more like tv.  They have a good start at it with a Young Justice revival by the original people.

Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant … challenge/

Good read. And finally, this conversation is becoming larger and less petty.