2016 will see superheroes face off against superheroes. It will bring us the battle of the Marvel Universe – Iron Man vs Captain America in Civil War. There is also the small matter of Superman and Batman facing off too – not just the first time they fight on the big screen but the first time they have ever shared the big screen.
Why is it then that I am more excited about Civil War than I am about Dawn of Justice? Everything points to the fact that Dawn of Justice will deliver what the DC fan and huge Batman fan in me wants to see – a new Batman, another big screen adventure for the Dark Knight and a battle between the two biggest superheroes of all time (sorry Marvel, its true!) I think I can blame my apathy on the misjudged way in which they seem to have brought Superman, Batman and eventually the Justice League to the big screen.
Civil War is the culmination of years of storytelling through a very ambitious plan. We have now seen and lived with Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr’s versions of Captain America and Iron Man respectively. When these guys face off and have their first big screen fisticuffs, it will be huge. These two characters are friends, allies and heroes: They shouldn’t fight and that is why it is so much more exciting.
All I have from DC so far is Man of Steel. I have met DC’s Cinematic Superman and while the film itself left me quite underwhelmed, Henry Cavill’s version of the Boy Scout was ok. We have yet to meet Batman so there is no tension. We don’t know anything about the character that will try to take down Superman other than what we will piece together from shared knowledge and speculation. No tension – just curiosity.
This is got me thinking about how I would have approached the DC Cinematic Universe had I had the chance. I am going to be blunt – I would have fully and without shame copied Marvel. I wouldn’t have gone straight in with my Justice League plan from beginning but slowly put the pieces in place – leaving the inevitable big reveals for much later. It’s not like DC aren’t already copying Marvel – they just think they can jump straight to the billion dollar movie with none of the groundwork.
Volume 1 (because we can’t call it phase – we can’t copy Marvel that much!)
Man of Steel
Justice League: Darkseid
So that is my proposed line-up. I wouldn’t introduce Batman at all yet and just introduce and establish three big heroes first. We get our first female-led superhero movie (before Marvel) and another look at Green Lantern. It works too because they are three very different movies which won’t generally overlap. Wonder Woman can be set in the world of Amazonian (if you are going in that direction with her character) and Green Lantern could predominantly be set in space.
I would then have Justice League bring those three together along with Aquaman getting his first proper appearance in this movie too. Darkseid is a big enough villain to bring them all together and is very beatable!
The post-credit sting – Batman of course. Unhappy with these aliens and non-humans destroying his planet!
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Justice League: Batman vs Superman
This makes so much more sense to me. Introduce Batman’s return in his own movie. This would be his preparation for taking on the new heroes. It is also in this movie that I would introduce some of the rogues for Suicide Squad – a proper look at Joker, Deadshot and of course our first glimpse of big screen Harley Quinn.
Suicide Squad would offer something different; as would Aquaman, a film set largely under the sea in a whole new world we haven’t even touched upon yet!
Then we get the big one. A justifiable battle between the humans and the “gods.” One side would have Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern – the other would be Batman, Green Arrow (not from the tv show) and Flash (again, not the tv show version – that comes later). We could even bring in some of the extended Bat-family if we needed too.
Man of Steel 2
Wonder Woman 2
Justice League: Crisis
This is where we get ambitious. Two sequels and then a new hero in Shazam. It means waiting a bit longer for The Rock as Black Adam but if anyone is going to tip the balance of anticipation into DC’s favour – it’s Dwayne Johnson.
The third Justice League movie could finally bring in the strongest franchise DC have – the television show. By this point we will have Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, another Suicide Squad and even a Supergirl. This would be the perfect opportunity to bring it all together in one of the biggest events DC have done. If you wanted to get really clever you could even go bigger – introduce Ryan Reynold’s Lantern, Keaton as Batman, Bale as Batman – hell, see what Adam West is doing! We could even put Tom Welling in the tights properly and there were other versions of Cyborg, Flash and Aquaman in all those different shows.
Overall, my plan for DC starts fairly conservatively and safe but then gets to be more ambitious and fan serving with every “volume.” Silly, crazy cameos for the third Justice League aside, there is definitely something in taking time to get to know and develop the characters further – rather than rushing to try to match what Marvel are doing.
I’m free whenever you want to call, DC!