What does it take to make a superhero movie?
A new age is upon us Across the landscape of cinema, the superhero formula has taken hold by the roots Nearly every major actor or director worth...
A new age is upon us. Across the landscape of cinema, the superhero formula has taken hold by the roots. Nearly every major actor or director worth their salt wants to make a superhero movie and why not? Look at the success superhero films have had since 2008 when Marvel decided to launch their Marvel Cinematic Universe with ‘Iron Man’, a B-grade character made with an actor that was all but shown the door from Hollywood. The unusual combination struck gold and its 2018, and Marvel is now the uncrowned champion of superhero cinema thanks to Kevin Feige, the architect behind the cinematic universe.
When it comes to comics, two names emerge as a fan favourite, Marvel and DC, yet DC has not had the same success with its films when compared to Marvel. Some of their most highly noted characters like Batman and Superman are worldwide phenomena yet ‘Man of Steel’ had an average run at the box office and what was touted to be the clash of the century, ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’ was a colossal failure. It managed a measly 27 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, a website that is popular among moviegoers for reviews and scores. It would seem like DC would halt the breaks and get back to the drawing board but too many things had already been set in motion.
‘Suicide Squad’ directed by David Ayer was supposed to be DC’s answer to ‘Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy’, their own band of misfits but while ‘Guardians…’ by James Gunn was welcomed with roaring reviews, ‘Suicide Squad’ was another failure in DC’s bank and it did not help the director David Ayer, who at a press conference said “F*ck Marvel’’. The CCO of Marvel, Joe Quesada made a tweet saying “Hey Marvel faithful I know you’re upset but cut @DavidAyerMovies a break, it was all in good fun. Can’t wait to see SS, best of luck David! (sic)”.
After ‘Suicide Squad’ came the break that DC desperately needed, Wonder Woman. Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, this was the first DC movie that fans embraced fully. It was fresh, colourful and had its own DC trademark to it. Fans thought all that was wrong with the company had been corrected but that was not the case.
‘Justice League’, DC’s Avengers, was supposed to be the blockbuster that fans had been waiting for since ‘Justice League: Mortal’ (a movie planned by DC in the early 2000s had failed in its inception stage itself) but ‘Justice League’ was a disaster.
Riddled with issues right from the production stage itself to very public controversies regarding Zack Snyder, the director’s replacement by Joss Whedon, the director of ‘Avengers’ and ‘Avengers Age of Ultron’; ‘Justice League’ was a movie that was doomed from the start. It made a passing run at the box office and quickly faded into oblivion.
It seemed that DC had finally managed to seal the coffin on its fate but fans who had been holding on since day one were at long last rewarded by the company at Comic Con 2018, where trailers for three of their upcoming movies were released along with the announcement of their exclusive streaming service, which would be showcasing brand new shows like ‘Titans’, ‘Doom Patrol’, ‘Swamp Thing’ and many more.
‘Shazam!’ directed by David F Sandberg and starring Zachary Levi in the titular role gave the fans exactly what they wanted, the superhero right out of the comic book. Levi manages to capture the swagger, charm and innocence of a child, who with one word can transform into an adult blessed by the powers of the gods in the brief trailer showing the world that DC is still a force to be reckoned with. And to top that already high bar came James Wan’s first-ever reveal of the ‘Aquaman’ trailer with Jason Momoa, which once again sent the audience into a frenzy as they explored the depths of Atlantis.
Many people likened the setting with that of ‘Black Panther’, a city with futuristic technology and a man who comes back to claim his birth right, the throne. Wan quickly pointed it out on Twitter that history gave many more examples of some fantastic stories being told with similar settings and that nitpicking would get one nowhere.
‘Wonder Woman’ had already managed to wow the crowd with its first run, the trailer of the sequel promises more of the same fun but on a much larger scale, the trailer has not yet been released online but DC will make an official announcement for it in the near future.
DC’s current run in the TV universe can only be attributed to the Arrow-verse on CW and Gotham, whereas Marvel has already managed to bag networks like ABC, Hulu along with a streaming partner like Netflix. But soon after the announcement by DC, Marvel too unveiled plans of an exclusive streaming service by their parent company Disney, which would have exclusive Marvel content thereby confirming the rumours that the company’s agreement with Netflix was soon approaching its end.
‘Titans’ launched the DC streaming service with its dark, bold and edgy trailer including Robin, Batman’s side-kick saying, “F*ck Batman” after barrelling his way through an alley of thugs. Other members of the team are shown as well and judging from the audience’s reactions, DC is sure to have another hit on its hands.
Despite its many failures and constant negative media surrounding it, it seems like DC has finally managed to turn it around. It, however, remains to be seen whether the movies make do on all the promises made by the trailers cause after all even ‘BvS’ had trailers that were considered truly remarkable making fans excited for nothing at all.