The Current State of the DCEU – Part 2:Movies
Thanks for coming back! Remember to catch up on Part 1, if you missed it.
Let’s talk movies! There are so many superhero movies out now. Sometimes it is really hard to choose what to watch and when. Is it worth catching them all in the theater or is it okay to wait till they hit Netfllix or Redbox or some other streaming service? Amazon Prime, DC Universe, Disney’s upcoming service, Redbox, Netflix, Hulu, and a myriad of other apps and sites that stream movies, TV shows, and various other things suck up the bandwith of our time and money. Who has time to go to the theater anymore?
THE FANS! Right? And more, obviously, judging by the mass appeal of all things super hero in the last 10 years or so.
So, let us take a look at the history of the DC Universe on the big screen.
I know that the DCEU “officially” started in 2013 with Man of Steel, the relaunch of the Superman mythos, but, to truly understand the history of DC Comics in film, we need to jump into the Wayback Machine.
Thank you, Mr. Peabody. As I was saying, we need look back in time to the early 1950s. The first official DC Comics based movie was Superman and the Mole Men released as a pilot for the George Reeves-led Adventures of Superman TV series. So, the first DC movie was directly tied to the TV series. Cool idea, right?
Now, jump ahead a decade with me, to the groovy 60s, as Adam West and Burt Ward bring us an awesomely campy version of Batman and Robin that has a special place in many people’s hearts. Also, there was a movie! Same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel? Well, it had the same actors and characters and was a story that fit in the world of the TV show, so, yeah.
Another decade passes. Now we enter the waning years of the 1970s. Superman returns to the Silver Screen portrayed by Christopher Reeve, no relation to his predecessor, and would go on for a total of 4 films!
Between 1978 and 2013, DC comics characters appeared in a total of 22 movies, and various TV shows. But, wow, 22 films? There were 5 different Superman films and a Supergirl movie. Don’t forget about Swamp Thing in 2 films, John Constantine had his appearance played by Keanu Reeves. Steel, Catwoman, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, Green Lantern, Jonah Hex, and some other guy… who was that? Oh, yeah, 7 films about some guy that dresses up like a bat? Seven different Batman films where he was played by Keaton, Kilmer, Clooney, and Bale. Sounds like a law firm.
Checkered is the word I would use for the past of DC’s cinematic universe. All the years they have been making films, many of them amazing, but no consistency or adherence to a central universe, just a bunch of Elsesworlds stories.
Finally, in 2013 with the release of Man of Steel, DC decided that they would create a cohesive cinematic universe. Since that time, they have released six films with six more on the way.
Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were dark introductions to the two powerhouses of DC’s universe, Superman and Batman. Maybe a little too dark? They went a little lighter with Suicide Squad, but not much, and Wonder Woman was set during wartime, nothing fun about that at all. Justice League and Aquaman seem to have finally moved out of the shadows and into a bit more consumable fare for the gen pop.
This new year, and beyond, offers a real mix of movies that, in my opinion, really stretches DC and pushes them to somewhere they have not been able to go before… into the realm of comedy. Shazam looks to be a fun, light-hearted story with a real comedic slant that is reminiscent of the 2002 Spider-Man film.
Fear not, DC fans. There is plenty of dark and broody to go around in the future films. Birds of Prey, Joker, The Batman, another Wonder Woman, and a second Suicide Squad are sure to satisfy those of you who want to hide behind your cowls and frown at the world. Exciting? Sure. Original? We hope.
There is a whole facet of the DC universe of entertainment that I did not even touch on, and that is mainly because it has a life of its own. The Animated film/series universe. DC has done a great job with their animated properties in the past and continues to produce quality stories. check out the amazing list of films in both worlds by clicking over to this page.
Thanks for hanging around. I hope I have at least whet your appetite for the buffet of entertainment that is the DCEU. If not, just hang tight, I am sure there will be some new announcement coming right up.