DC comes to the dark side…I hope

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Ever since Marvel took the gamble that created the ultimate comic book team movie, it seems as though DC has been tripping over themselves to match the competition with a big screen version of the Justice League. The idea, I can only assume, is that if it worked for Marvel, it’ll work for them. This mentality couldn’t be further from the mark. An argument can be made against a big budget team movie*, but more than that is the fact that DC’s heroes are just…well, different.**

I don’t want to see Nolan’s Batman interact with Snyder’s Superman. The two worlds exist in polar thematic universes, it just wouldn’t feel right. My advice to DC and Warner Brothers is to focus on good, stand alone films that feature your big characters. You shouldn’t dilute the power of each character for the sake of a team movie. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Flash should all be able to carry their own series. Each of them. By themselves. Seriously.

One of the reasons that DC and WB have been freaking out is that blockbusters have become so expensive that they can ruin careers, studios and viable properties if they flop opening weekend. With this climate of shoveling money at a properties hoping for a pay off, the studios have become insanely irresponsible with their dollar. Remember Blade? A lot of people forget that Blade was the first movie to get the ball rolling for comic book related films. It wasn’t a blockbuster, but it was successful enough to show studios that these stories could work on the big screen. And the first and second films in that series are pretty good. It’s also clear that these films work well within their budgets to deliver economical movies that also entertain. This model worked because Blade was unknown to movie going audiences, giving the filmmakers wiggle room to play with the character. If DC really wants a team movie, they shouldn’t look to the big heroes, they should look at the second stringers by investing in Guillermo del Toro to deliver a film based on Justice League Dark.

And they are.

imagesGuillermo del Toro has been working on this project for a while, and I can’t imagine a better fit for something like this. A film like JLD, focusing on the little known occult characters in the DC universe, would give everyone involved the freedom to deliver a film that is both interesting and fun to watch. By not using the first tier characters, the filmmakers can stretch their creative muscles and have more freedom to deliver the unexpected. The focus on more intimate storytelling, and practical effects would put it in different territory than its big budget brethren. This approach could also be financially more responsible and give del Toro the creative freedom to tell an occult related story, that he may not have been able to tell otherwise.

How cool would it be to see Zatanna, Deadman, Frankenstein and John Constantine all the big screen helmed by the creator of Pans Labyrinth and director of Hellboy 1 & 2. You have to admit, seeing Ron Perlman in a Swamp Thing costume would be pretty boss. What do you guys think? What project do you want to see?

 

*While I loved Iron Man 3, I couldn’t help but wonder why the Avengers weren’t helping Tony out. This is a big problem. One that would have certainly never arrived without the release of The Avengers. Tony should be able to carry a movie on his own and now that the world has been expanded, you can’t go home again.

**Mark Pacis did a cool examination of Snyder’s Superman remarks, and Alger Alama put together a great piece on the Marvel/DC flamewar. Check ’em out.

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