Love or hate the DC Extended Universe, you have to admit that it's been a bumpy ride, so far. Behind the scenes, we've seen a lot of creative confusion and conflict, while on the screen, we've seen versions of DC superheroes, anti-heroes, and villains that both hardcore and mainstream fans have found problematic.
This year, DC Films and Warner Bros. are making a concerted effored to turn around the DCEU and make it into something fun and satisfying for as many fans as possible. The studios has two powerhouse milestone films to launch this year (Wonder Woman in the summer, and Justice League in the fall), but that impressive lineup is not the only good sign of what's to come.
Here Why The DCEU Could Win Big in 2017.
The first reason that DC movies will likely win big in 2017 is because the bar for doing so isn't that hard to clear: fans have been complaining that the more somber and narratively-tangled films that have come along (Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad), so in order to fix that problem, all you need is more straightforward narratives that have a lighter and more fun tone.
So far, both Wonder Woman and Justice League look like they will be more in line with what fans expect and enjoy from the superhero movie genre. Even if they don't turn out to be the greatest superhero movies ever, they'll still win by simply sticking closer to genre convention and nailing down the basics.
Heroic characters worth rooting for; easier storylines and conflicts to follow; and a sense of both grandeur and fun. This year's DCEU films have the best hope of any to pull all three off, and win back some favor.
The Right Star Power
If there is one thing the DCEU doesn't have trouble with, it's finding star power to make its movies shine.
Whether it's making stars like Ben Affleck and Will Smith shine bright again - or making breakout stars like Henry Cavill, Margot Robbie, and Gal Gadot fulfill their potential - DCEU movies are proving to have the right actors carrying them.
That's especially true of the 2017 lineup: Wonder Woman will see finally capture the spotlight that started to shine on her in Batman V Superman - before she partners with Ben Affleck's Batman for a major event that is Justice League. Meanwhile, the DCEU characters getting ready to make their debut (Ezra Miller's Flash, Jason Mamoa's Aquaman, Chris Pine's Steve Trevor - and all the many supporting characters we'll meet) have much more positive buzz surrounding them.
By the time 2017 is done, the fully-realized DCEU will be full of big names that will carry the universe forward into its next phase.
One thing that the DCEU is doing (before Marvel Studios can), is diversifying its brand.
It's Wonder Woman that will be the first female-led superhero film in these new cinematic universe franchises (with an international star leading it). Meanwhile, the Justice League heroes consist of figures like Ray Fisher's Cyborg (an African-American hero getting his own major film), and Jason Mamoa's Aquaman will be drawing on the actor's Polynesian heritage and culture for his DCEU adaptation.
By the end of 2017, the DCEU may achieve the feat of selling a variety of new superhero characters to the masses, in some diverse lanes (females, minorities, international audiences). It's a smart way to get ahead.
DC Comics fans have been waiting to see two components of superhero action within the DCEU:
- Satisfying action sequences and choreography.
- Battle tactics and motivations that actually feel heroic and make sense for the characters.
Each DCEU film so far has managed to check one of those two boxes - but at this point, fans need to see them consistently achieved in each release.
So far, both Wonder Woman and Justice League have shown off some exciting action footage - without revealing so much that it seems like the trailers contain the only quality material. Indeed, 2017 could be the year that the DCEU finally achieves its full potential for showing off characters who are (in some ways) more powerful and dynamic than their Marvel counterparts.
More DC Movies
Justice League: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes-Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash-it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.