Written by Erik Jaworski
Edited by Nick Jurczak
During my break between classes I was browsing on Tumblr. As I was scrolling through posts I encountered an interesting illustrated graph that lists upcoming movies from both Marvel and DC Comics. For Marvel, it listed famous titles like the Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and even an Avengers: Civil War, not to mention other films like the Fantastic Four reboot, The Sinister Six, the Amazing Spider-Man 3, and much more. There was going to be about 3-4 movies per year with their expected releases all the way until 2018. DC’s lineup was inferior to Marvel. Not only are there 1-2 films coming out per year, but there’s no indication what each movie is going to be. We know that they are working on movies aside from Batman vs Superman film like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Shazam, and even Justice League. However, there hasn’t been full confirmation nor any significant progress for each project. It occurred to me that this graph seemed to reinforce the idea that Marvel is beating DC Comics in the movie industry.
I suppose it’s probably because Marvel has carefully planned adapting it’s universe into live action. In the short documentary Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe, the creators had the intention of creating an Avengers movie ever since the first Iron Man. However, they needed to work backwards by creating films for each hero’s origins. This would allow viewers a chance to learn about the heroes before they assembled together. The heroes were separated into different projects with different directors while still under the same team of producers, including Stan Lee, Jon Favreu, Patricia Whitcher, Jeremy Latcham, and others. This allowed a film to be released every year, with the same formula and thus allowed the films to feel affiliated with one another. After the Avengers' release, Marvel continued the heroes' stories and even brought them back together for another adventure.
While Marvel has shown tact within the film industry, that isn’t to say DC Comics hasn’t produced great films over the years; however, most of DC’s films were focused on Batman and Superman, which wildly limited their palate compared to Marvel. Other films, like Green Lantern, Catwoman, and Jonah Hex, just seemed to be part of a different universe making it seem like DC had a lack of continuity. There was no team to keep the films unified. It was only over the past year that DC Comics has been attempting to mimic what Marvel has done. They want to assemble the Justice League, however they are taking an opposite approach. Instead of starting with the origin stories, DC is attempting to throw as many characters into the Batman vs. Superman movie such as Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg and work backwards, giving individual characters their own movies after the Justice League has been established. I am reluctant to view this process. I’m afraid we won’t have decent character development. We won’t have time to associate with each character’s personality and characteristics. Not to mention that though Zach Snyder has been assigned to direct the upcoming Batman vs. Superman film and Justice League, which will keep the films associated with Man of Steel, it’ll delay the release date for these and future films. My thought is that DC Comics is too desperate to copy Marvel. They are trying to rush everything, which will most likely be unfaithful to the source material and not be as heartfelt as the Marvel films.
Though DC Comics hasn’t been doing well in producing movies like Marvel, they have been taking a different approach when it comes to television. A couple years ago, DC Comics released the live-action TV show Arrow on CW. The story focused on the origins and adventures of the superhero Green Arrow, who has never had a live action portrayal. Coming up on their third season, the show has received great reviews for its story and real action. I personally feel that television is the best approach for these live action adaptations. Like a comic, there would be a new adventure for the hero every week. You get to see Oliver Queen learn what it takes to be a superhero and try to become a better person. It presents wonderful character development. With any number of seasons, the television show gives tons of exposure to help expand its universe by introducing characters into the show’s universe like Deathstroke, Red Arrow, Black Canary, Deadshot, and even Amanda Waller. There was even an important character that appeared in the show: Barry Allen, aka the Flash. Not only did Barry play a part in helping Green Arrow, setting up his origin, it sparked a spinoff show. CW’s upcoming show the Flash has the same team of producers as Arrow, which is Greg Berlanti, Jon Wallace and Andrew Kreisberg. If the Flash will be like Arrow, it’ll help expand the DC universe by adding new characters, including Flash villains like Captain Boomerang, Mirror Master, Gorilla Grodd, Captain Cold, and of course Reverse Flash. I’ve already seen the pilot episode, and I can’t wait to see what’s to come. Hopefully they’ll create another spinoff show to increase the universe.
Fortunately, the Flash is not the only DC live adaption coming this season. Fox is going to be airing a new TV show called Gotham. As the title suggest, the show is focused on Batman’s mythos, but not exactly on Bruce Wayne/Batman himself. Though events occur during and after the Wayne’s death, the creators wanted to focus on stories that haven’t been explored around this time. They will present a young Bruce Wayne dealing with the grief of his murdered parents, the start of a young Detective Jim Gordon and his difficult partner Harvey Bullock, and the origins of infamous villains like Catwoman, Poison Ivy, the Riddler, and Penguin. From what I’ve seen in stills and specials, this may be an interesting show. I’m not sure if it’ll be in the same universe as Arrow and Flash, though, since they don’t have the same producers. Either way, it’ll be an interesting adaption.
As of now, we don’t know what the future holds. These upcoming movies and TV shows may either be excellent with the source material or get totally botched up. We must all take consideration the huge pressure that these creators face. They know thousands of fans are watching and judging every action they make on these projects. They need to create something exciting and new. With this in mind even if we criticize some of their works, we should still recognize the hard work hundreds of people are doing to keep us entertained.