I really want Wonderwoman to be good. And I don’t mean that the other DC movies have been necessarily bad. I loved Suicide Squad and I Batman v. Superman has its moments. There is a lot I’d change, but overall I liked ’em.
What I mean for Wonderwoman is I hope they find a groove with their directors and writers. A strong, well liked commercial success. The DC Cinematic Universe (DCU henceforth) isn’t going so well. Man of Steel was mixed overall, Batman v. Superman wasn’t liked, and Suicide Squad was hated by most critics (although I can’t find a single person who didn’t like it).
What I think troubles most writers and directors is that the DC universe has stronger, more memorable characters while the Marvel Universe has better, easier events.
Civil War was an amazing Marvel Universe event that effected super-heroes the world over. Secret Invasion was an amazing surprise event. The Infinity Gauntlet that linked an entire universe worth of heroes. House of M shook up the X-men in an awesome way. World War Hulk was just complete bananas.
Those events translate better because they were meant to involve a handful of characters with a massive supporting cast.
In my opinion its harder for the the DCU to do the same. Big universe spanning events are tough because they’re events deal with the abstract, parallel universes, keeping track of different teams, and knowing your superheroes all the way back from the Silver Age.
I love a lot of those DCU events, but reading the comic volumes takes longer than watching a movie. So what hope do they have of condensing it? They usually revert to taking the themes from famous comic books and trying to convert that to the big screen.
That sounds great in theory. We get some really cool bits like this:
The image on the left is the cover from the Dark Knight Returns. And Batman v. Superman took a lot of ideas and scenes from it. But its too much to pump into a live action movie so they adapted ideas. But if you want to adapt these ideas to the screen just make the movie as laid out by the source. You want to have some cool Dark Knight Returns scenes? Just make that a movie! Why adapt it to something else? Especially when you are writing a different story and are hamfisting these tropes into it?
The directors and writers have this idea that comic book movies need to be crazy action thrillers. But as I said before- Marvel has great events while DC has great characters.
So you need to play into those characters. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy was well panned because he took inspiration from famous comics instead of borrowing tropes and scenes. He wasn’t adapting a comic as much as he was respecting the source materials.
The writers and directors for Batman v. Superman did this instead:
When people think of Batman, most people know a couple of his rules. He doesn’t kill and he doesn’t use guns.
Batman is not meant to be an action hero. He’s not meant to always just go in guns blazing. Batman is slow, methodical, cunning, and quiet. Yes, he does beat the shit out of people in the comics but usually in a rescue or an interrogation. His martial prowess is a product of his need to find evidence.
So how do we fix it? Lets make a formula for a great Batman movie.
When writing a Batman story you need to start with a mystery. He’s a detective. Batman solves crimes when no one else can. Don’t even worry about picking a villain. Pick the one that fits the crime. He has such varied cast of villains to pull from.
Equally important- it doesn’t need to be some world ending challenge. Batman defends Gotham. He doesn’t always jump out to defend the world. He’s part of the justice league but Batman focuses on the city that birthed his identities.
The city is a character in itself, and without proper dues to that you aren’t writing a Batman story. Batman knows the city like he might know a child. The trends, the people, the criminals, and the mysteries.
Would you people believe me if I already told you we already have a perfect Batman movie? That isn’t The Dark Knight?
Guy Ritchie took a famous crime fighter, wrote an amazing mystery he has to solve, and had the movie revolve around the act of solving it. The action makes sense when its needed, the visuals are focused more on the characters, and everything feels justified. The action isn’t about Sherlock being the strongest man alive- he evaluates his situations. He doesn’t come to epiphanies, he has to figure it out with his supporting cast.
And don’t even tell me that Irene Adler isn’t the Catwoman.
You could literally change the characters to Batman and Robin and the Penguin and it would be a dead ringer for a Batman movie. Instead most people think about the broad strokes of what it means to be a super hero movie and they apply those tropes in their minds eye.
The DCU needs the writers and directors to be passionate about the stories and characters. The characters need more respect long before they write a plot.
So please. Ben Affleck. Do it for he crowd. Do it for Batman. But most of all, do it for me.