Has DC Films Accepted That They Have Deep-Seated Problems, Or Are They Shifting Deck Chairs? Part I

The jury is still out, though what makes the most recent reorganization of DC Films not a bad thing in and of itself in that Warner Bros clearly sees that there’s a problem with their organizational structure and are working to address it.

Unfortunately, it reminds me somewhat of rearranging desk chairs on a little ship that was supposedly unsinkable.

And we all know how well that went.

And I think one of the problems is the dual management system that seems in vogue at DC Films (and by extension, Warner Bros).

In this instance we have Geoff Johns as co-president of the shingle–and let’s be clear.  DC Films isn’t strictly speaking a film studio (like Marvel Studios).  They may have a physical location, but most of the heavy lifting in making a movie is actually done by Warner Bros–and someone to be determined due to John Berg’s departure from the position.

I assume Warners does things this way because Johns brings knowledge of DC Comics, while the second president brings deeper knowledge of Warner’s corporate culture and the knowledge to navigate it to direct resources and systems effectively.

And that’s not a great way to do things. What would be more effective would be a single president of DC Films –and  importantly one who’s well-versed in the comics, though their knowledge has to be by no means encyclopedic because there are plenty of people on DC Comics’ end to supplement it–though the ability to navigate Warner Bros (and the companies that deal with them being more essential).

And let’s look at a crucial reason why.

DC Films movies tend to be significantly more expensive than those from Marvel Studios.  Justice League, before the reshoots by Joss Whedon, had a production budget somewhere in the ballpark if $220-250 million, but can you see all the money on screen (despite the copious–or excessive, depending upon how you look at such things use of green screen)?

Thor: Ragnarök released a few weeks earlier, looks just as expensive, but guess what?  It clocked in at $180 million, which means it has a significantly lower threshold to profitability, something Justice League could really, really use.

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Namor The Sub-Mariner Rises?

I’m going to just come out and say it.  Aquaman is lame.  And sure, much effort has been invested by DC Comics to give the character just a bit of much needed edge in the past few years, though his corny past is never terribly far behind.

If your preferences ran toward water-based superheroes, as mine tended to do, Aquaman was never a character I could take particularly serious.

Now Namor, The Sub-Mariner?  Quite possibly the coolest king Atlantis ever had as well as one of Marvel Comics’ earliest characters. 

Though the oddest thing about him is that–when not being an arrogant douche–he literally spent an inordinate amount of time trying to conquer the surface world, and yet he somehow remained likable.

Namor was an ‘anti-hero’ before the word ever entered the popular lexicon.  

Though what’s the point of all this, you may be asking?  

That’s simple.  For a long time it was assumed that the rights for Namor were at Universal Pictures, along with those for the Incredible Hulk.

As far as Namor is concerned, that’s  apparently not the case, and Marvel Studios may be prepping a movie based on their irascible Prince of the Deep!

And to whet your appetite a little bit more–as if that were even necessary–here’s the opening to Namor’s cartoon, made in 1966.

Iron Fist Official Trailer

Marvel Studios was the first studio to create a interlinked series of movies– known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU–based upon preexisting properties (like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Hulk) that culminated in event movies (such as The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron) that featured all (or the bulk of) the characters introduced prior.  

Marvel Television?   A bit of a late bloomer.  Their first shows were Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, the latter of which lasted only one season.  

This is while DC Comics has made significant inroads into the television space with shows like Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends Of Tomorrow, with more on the way.  

Though a curious thing happened.  Marvel Television began developing Daredevil as a television series on Netflix and it did well enough to warrant a second season.  

Then came Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and most recently, Iron Fist

And since all the Marvel Television series were on Netflix, as opposed to regular television, there was less of a need to appeal to everyone so they possess a grittiness, an edge the Marvel movies can’t touch. 

Oddly enough, Marvel’s television arm seems to be employing a strategy that didn’t work too successfully for DC Entertainment on the big screen–which is building a more noir-ish world –but appears to be paying dividends on the small one. 

Iron Fist revolves around Danny Rand (Finn Jones) who reappeared after having vanished for over ten years to claim the company started by his parents, Rand Enterprises.

Though the people running Rand Enterprises have somehow become involved with the deadly Madame Gao, and she thinks Danny Rand needs to vanish again… 

Preacher – Teaser Trailer

Vertigo’s Hellraiser was a groundbreaker of sorts for DC Comics, which despite being adapted as a movie starring Keanu Reeves in 2005 and a television show in 2014 was never quite as successful as fans of the character would have wanted it to be.

Garth Ennis’–who also wrote Hellraiser for eight years–created Preacher, which was published in 1995.   Perhaps not surprisingly, it was of a similar vein to Hellraiser in many ways and also dealt with demons, angels and what it meant to be human.

And while it never quite–in comic form, at any rate–had the success of John Constantine, AMC apparently has enough faith in it that they’re willing to build a series around it.

It’s worth mentioning that there’s some validity to the perspective that, while cable series also have to deal with ratings, the threshold for success or failure isn’t quite the same as it is for network television.

Luckily for AMC they also have The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead, which are two of the most successful series on television on either regular television or cable, so even if Preacher isn’t all that they want it to be, they may have a bigger window for it to build an audience, unlike Constantine (which for some reason I refer to as Hellraiser, which is a Clive Barker-directed movie, as opposed to Hellblazer) which lasted only one year.

I actually have the first few issues of Preacher, but truth be told it was never one of my favorites (that honor goes to Shade: The Changing Man and Hellraiser, so I can’t tell how faithful the trailer is to the comic off the top of my head.

Four Reasons Why ‘Green Lantern’ Is DC Comics Most Successful Superhero Movie

Wha!?  “You have no idea what you’re talking about,” you’re probably saying to yourself.  The Dark Knight Rises earned over a billion dollars!  Man of Steel took in almost $669 million!  What do you mean Green Lantern, which earned almost $220 million on a $200 million budget”

Ok, if you’re thinking short-term, then The Dark Knight and Man of Steel were significantly more successful that Green Lantern, but long term…

  • The Christopher Nolan Batman Films Were Never Intended To Be A Template For An Entire Cinematic Universe

How do I know that?  Have I been hanging out with Nolan, discussing what he would or wouldn’t have done with Batman?  No, but what I do know is that the universe that Nolan created with his Batman was a self-contained one, with virtually no connections between it to the greater DC Comics universe.  I believe that that’s the case because Nolan treated the character in a semi-realistic fashion, which the polar opposite to any other DC movie characters (and I include Arrow, who’s depiction was very much based upon that Batman’s).

In other words, Batman, as defined by Nolan began with Batman Begins, and ended with The Dark Knight Rises.

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The Costume Of The CW’s New ‘Flash’ Is Revealed, And It’s ‘Meh,’ Part Deux

Flash CostumeAnd as you can see from this picture, “Meh” was being generous.  This image is from Screen Crush, and as you can tell, it’s a picture of the new Flash costume, and it.  Looks.  Pretty. Bad.

It also looks confining, when it should allow movement (I assume that the show’s producers will say that it’s designed as it is to protect him from friction).

What Colleen Atwood seems to have been missed is that the Flash is a character based upon movement, so why make him look so encumbered; almost the directly opposite approach from the way the character is treated in the comics.

Which is not to say that it’s terrible design, in and of itself.  It would just look better if it were repurposed for some other character.

We’ve seen Bryan Singer’s version of Quicksilver, who just happens to be another speedster, who looks worse.  My only hope appears to be Joss Whedon, who also plans for Quicksilver to appear in his Avengers sequel, ‘Age Of Ultron.’

‘John Constantine’ Looks Awesome!

Pictures courtesy  of "Slates  for Sarah"

Pictures courtesy of “Slates for Sarah”

Here’s a photo from “Slates From Sarah” Facebook page, where she has a picture of John Constantine from NBC’s upcoming series “Constantine,” based upon the DC Comics character.  I think it goes without saying that he has the look right (it’s so good that it almost looks like a parody of the character) though only time will tell if the other stuff, important stuff, like the storylines, are up to snuff.

Though with Neil Marshall directing, the odds are good that it will be the real deal.

And if I have to tell you which person in the picture is ‘John Constantine,’ then either you define the character by Keanu Reeves’ performance in “Constantine”–not the best possible portrayal–or you don’t know who the character is.