Written by John Hussey
If you read my recent article talking about the current stability of the DC Extended Universe, then you should know my basic view-point on this ambiguous franchise. With controversial films, mixed-bag reviews, problems with character adaption, rushed scheduling, inability to keep a creative team, and an indecisive fan-base, it’s far to say that Warner Bros. Pictures plan to topple Disney and Marvel Studios has failed miserably.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice should’ve been a no-brainer, in that it should’ve broke box-office records and defeated Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, but instead it was just a statement with no substance. Man of Steel was a good film, it wasn’t a masterpiece but at least you could enjoy its clear three act structure. But ever since then the DC Extended Universe has become an indecisive mess and has yet been able to find its footing, let alone its designed structure.
I mean I wasn’t exactly excited for this planned shared universe in the development stages but I soon grew past these biased views and opened up to the potential it had to offer, but sadly these few potential ideas have been drowned out by Zach Snyder and Warner Bros.’ mad suggestions and constant interferences. On top of this there’s been the shaky future of the DC Extended Universe due to Warner Bros. being unable to keep directors aboard their bandwagon, which is on the verge of derailing.
But, after much deliberation, The Batman finally seems to be on-course. Things seemed questionable after Ben Affleck (the Dark Knight himself) decided to quit his role as director, after many months of dedicating himself to overseeing the project as its creative leader. Then came the question of, “Will Affleck be leaving the project entirely due to the DC Extended Universe‘s current predicament?” But thankfully the stressful train has finally left the station, replaced by the calm train, promising us hope towards a better tomorrow.
It has been rumoured of late that Matt Reeves (director of Cloverfield and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) was in negotiations with Warner Bros. to direct the project. But these were contradicted by him supposedly leaving the project due to creative differences, which seems to be the same reason that each leaving director has quit the DC Extended Universe.
However, it has now been confirmed that Reeves will in fact be directing The Batman, and by the sounds of things he’s a great choice due to his passion for the character and his mythology. Reeves promises to give us a gripping action story that focuses on the emotional conflicts of the characters and what they stand for. So hopefully this gives all us Batman fans hope that The Batman will become the definitive Dark Knight experience that we’ve long deserved (perhaps finally toppling The Dark Knight).
The other DC Extended Universe news comes with the announcement that there will be a Nightwing solo-film added to the DCEU line-up, with indications that Chris McKay is attached as director, whilst Bill Dubuque acts as script-writer. Now at the moment I’m not entirely sure whether this is good news or bad news. Sure I want to see more of the Batman mythology explored within this shared universe but the current track record of the film’s quality and execution hasn’t been very good.
Plus, this is the fourth new spin-off film announced in recent months, following a sequel to Suicide Squad, a Black Adam solo-film (featuring Dwayne Johnson), Gotham City Sirens (which was originally intended as a Harley Quinn solo-film featuring Margot Robbie), and a Deadshot solo-film (featuring Will Smith).
Warner Bros. seems to be announcing sequels, and spin-offs, left, right, and centre but without any clear trajectory. They need to start focusing more on where they currently stand and cleverly plan out their franchise before it completely crumbles in on itself. Start tying all the dots together and develop your universe with care. It needs more development, it needs more connection, and better still, purpose. Don’t just push films out for the sake of it. Have a point. Build-up your characters and connect their stories in order to warrant having an expansive universe.
Hopefully The Batman will be a success under Reeves care and start building upon at least one of the character’s backstory and universe, which can hopefully then pave way towards the Nightwing solo-film and help with its groundwork. I really want to see the DC Extended Universe turn itself around and succeed, and I just really hope we start seeing that happen sooner, rather than later.