I am sure that by now many of you have seen the trailer for the forthcoming “Justice League,” and based on that trailer and the trailers for “Suicide Squad,” releasing this weekend, I must say, DC your Marvel penis envy is showing.
The DC Cinematic Universe has always been far more controversial than the Marvel Cinematic Universe, both “Man of Steel” and “The Dawn of Justice” have been divisive among the fans of superheroes, comic books, comic book movies, Superman and Batman. Hell, those movies were controversial for fans of movies in general. “Man of Steel” and “The Dawn of Justice” are both fine movies. “Man of Steel” was a great way to bring the Superman mythos into the 21st century. While “Dawn of Justice” – the version that Zack Snyder should have released in the first place – expanded that Superman mythos and gave us a terrifying vigilante version of Batman that has been mostly missing from the Cinematic Batman.
The reason why these movies were controversial was their dark tone. These films were trying to capitalize on the kind of tone that Christopher Nolan had used in his “Dark Knight” trilogy to commercial and critical acclaim. It seems only natural that DC would want to continue using that tone to distinguish themselves tonally from the MCU. Many criticized these movies, especially “Dawn of Justice” for not being fun and lacking humor and levity. Honestly, that is a minor criticism at best. A criticism that has little or no weight on the quality of the overall movie, “Man of Steel” and “Dawn of Justice” were just fine sans humor.
Now we get to “Suicide Squad” and “Justice League.” Based on the trailers released for these movies it appears that DC has gone to the opposite end of the spectrum from “Man of Steel” and “Dawn of Justice,” by doubling down on the humor and being more like the MCU. Marvel does not own humor and levity – Marvel’s parent company Disney just might.
It is in the “Justice League” trailer where DC’s penis envy is proudly on display. Most of that trailer is essentially the scene that takes place between Tom Holland and Robert Downy Jr. in “Capitan America: Civil War,” replacing Downy Jr. and Holland with Ben Affleck and Ezra Miller. It is pretty much the same scene.
That “Justice League” trailer raises red flags for the future of the DCCU because the DCCU is no longer tonally consistent. It is true that the MCU has many different types movies in their universe because of the genre diversity that they created within the MCU. The universe, as a whole, is still tonally consistent. The DCCU, on the other hand, is going from the Nolanesque dark and brooding superhero, to the light and humorous superhero akin to the MCU. Based on the trailers this shift appears to be a complete 180-degree shift.
For the sake of the DCCU I hope those trailers represent only a small portion of the total product, and that the tone shift represents more of a 90-degree shift instead of an 180.