By Jack Dignan
DC have been a popular conversation starter as of late, and not in a good way. While they're killing it in the comic universe, their Rebirth titles being nothing short of excellence, their cinematic universe hasn't been getting quite the praise that they want. With Marvel now in their third phase of movies, DC are just getting started, and it's pretty fair to say it's been to mixed results. But things are looking up for the famous brand, especially after Comic-Con this past weekend, and I've got reasons why.
After the critically praised Dark Knight trilogy, DC released Man of Steel, a dark and gritty Superman for a new generation. It divided fans, but served as a gateway for the DC Extended Universe, which they followed up this year with Batman V Superman. While there was an immense amount of hype surrounding it, it got even worse reactions than Man of Steel did. Personally, I loved it, and I know a handful of fans who did as well, but there's no denying the negativity towards it that's all over the internet.
Last week, Batman V Superman arrived on blu-ray, and not too long before that, it was released digitally. The film was released with an extended cut, dubbed the 'Ultimate Edition,' and it added 30 minutes more onto the movie, which, having seen this version for myself, is a much needed 30 minutes. There are a lot of great character moments throughout, and plenty of the nonsensical plot-lines make a whole lot more sense now. Sure, it's still got its fair share of problems, but it's a big step up over the theatrical cut, and a lot of fans have jumped on board with this version of the movie. The film has gained a lot more popularity, and people have been starting to look at it in a positive light.
Not only that, but next Thursday sees the release of Suicide Squad, the highly anticipated film that features a group of super villains being forced to complete black ops missions in exchange for shorter prison sentences. It is, quite literally, the most talked about movie on social media, and it wouldn't surprise me if it ends up being the highest grossing movie of the year, or close to it. Early buzz has been overly positive, many claiming that director David Ayer has saved the DC Extended Universe. DC is starting to be looked upon more fondly. First, there was the Ultimate Edition, and now, we have this.
After Batman V Superman got unexpectedly negative reception, Warner Brothers strived to fix this, playing around with the creative forces behind the DCEU. Famed DC comic book writer Geoff Johns was brought in to become the head of the DC films division over at Warner Brothers, along with Warner Brothers executive Jon Berg. Johns is someone who's clearly very familiar with the characters and this universe, famous for bringing a breath of fresh air to characters such as Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Batman, Aquaman and so many others, including their team ups in Justice League. He's dabbled in almost everything, and bringing him on board to help fix up the movies was a genius move, in my opinion.
Not only is he the head of the film division, but he's also helping out with writing some scripts, as well as producing a great deal of the films. He's the screenwriter on the upcoming Wonder Woman, Batman and Shazam films, as well as scribing the plot for Aquaman. As he is such a talented writer with a career spanning a number of years, this gives me so much more faith that the DCEU is in proper hands. The characters are getting treated right, and even though he's not in charge of writing every upcoming film, the writers and directors announced so far are all incredibly talented. Things are looking up for DC. It's the start of their comeback.
At this point in time, there isn't a doubt in my mind that the upcoming DC films are going to absolutely kill it, but many fans remain sceptical, and understandably so. But over the past weekend, Comic-Con was held over in San Diego, and Warner Brothers got the chance to once again present at the beloved celebration of all things comics. They showed off new trailers for their upcoming films, such as Wonder Woman, Justice League and Suicide Squad. I did not watch the Suicide Squad footage as I am seeing it next Monday, but I hear it looks fantastic. As for the other two movies, I did get a chance to watch them. In fact, I've watched both of them several times, and it definitely looks like DC is getting things back on track.
With Justice League, Wonder Woman and Suicide Squad all looking brilliant, DC is receiving the praise they've been wanting since the release of Man of Steel three years back. Many have criticised the company for making their films overly dark and not fun. Dark, believe it or not, can still be fun, and these trailers have certainly proved that. The upcoming films are undoubtably going to have their dark moments, especially Suicide Squad as it's a film full of villains, and clearly DC have found a way to make this darkness appealing and entertaining. With the inclusion of Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman in Justice League, there's no way there won't be fun to be had. It's almost impossible when these characters are involved.
There has never been a better time to be a comic book fan. Marvel have been dominating the live action films for eight years now, and it looks like they've finally got competition. No matter how you feel about Man of Steel and Batman V Superman, the upcoming slate of DC films are going to be an absolute treat to watch. Their universe is finally falling into place, and after a bumpy start, it's evident that they're making a comeback, and I, for one, can't wait to see what happens next. There was a time where I was worried for this franchise, but that time has well and truly passed. Long live DC!