I know this is going to be a bit late, but I really had no idea what to write until this morning while I was in the shower. So – in trying to make the self-imposed deadline of Thursday, this might appear a bit scattered. All I really have to go by is a hastily scribbled outline and a crack-pot idea. Y’know…Thursday afternoon.
I was in the process of showering up and thinking about going to go see a movie on Friday when two ideas hit me. One is for the novel I am (perpetually) working on, and the other explains how the Marvel Cinematic Universe got so prominent as it is today, and why the DC Cinematic Universe seems to be lagging way far behind.
When the MCU was getting put together, Marvel had a bit of a problem: their two big properties for the movies: Spider-Man and the X-Men series were not Marvel properties. They were owned by Sony and Fox respectively. Remember those days when Fox was its own entity and not in the tightly gripped paw of the House of Mouse? Well, apparently Marvel had some problems keeping the lights on. If you watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., they’re never referred to as ‘mutants’ (Fox owned that word…seriously) but ‘enhanced individuals’.
With their big money makers tucked away in the arms of others, Marvel had to do something, so they got creative. They reached way back in the back of the catalogue. They had the makings of the Avengers, which was something they could work towards, but they needed filler. This was a huge gamble for Marvel. While Iron Man isn’t a third-tier character like Mantis from Guardians of the Galaxy, he wasn’t Wolverine either.
This set-up forced Marvel to work on the world and the storylines that would become the Phases. It was a gamble to be sure, but it was one that would pay off spectacularly. Big enough for Sony to loosen its grip on Spider-Man to allow him to have a place in the MCU.
We have the exact opposite problem with the DCU. They have the heavy hitters: Superman and Batman. Like Marvel, they have an extensive world already put together. This should have been as easy as plugging in a lamp. Why did it collapse in two films? Why is the DCU seemingly now getting their feet back under them.
Because they relied on the aforementioned heavy hitters. They rushed where Marvel took their time. Thinking that they could throw up a film that treats us to another origin story and everyone would run to it unthinking, and then giving us what should have been the midpoint movie in the first arc to prelude the movie that should have ended it is a face palming offense. I’m not saying the movies are bad, but just not well placed.
However – the DCU has shown that they can learn. Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Shazam get it right. We get to meet characters that were rarely given time elsewhere. Remember when Aquaman was the butt of many jokes? I do. Heck – thanks to Jason Momoa’s performance, Marvel can’t release a Sub-Mariner movie without getting the inevitable comparisons (and the Sub-Mariner is two years older!).
I must admit that I don’t know a whole lot about Shazam, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying a film about a boy finding both family and purpose. I can’t wait to see how they treat other properties. Could Cyborg be the DCU’s body horror tale – injecting some much appropriate terror into the series? Can we Jordan Peele to direct? Can the Flash be as humorous, I hope? Having Barry and Leonard trading quips while hashing out a gentleman’s agreement while in the middle of a bank heist would give a little humor to a universe that seems to take itself a little too seriously at times. As much as I am a Marvel fan…I like what they DCU has given us so far. I just hope they can keep it up.
Well – that’s my opinion. Maybe next time I’ll delve a little further into how I would have worked the DCU’s first phase.
If you’ve liked what you’ve read and if your last name rhymes with Schmigey – hit me up on e-mail. I work cheap and fast (and I know that I can be afforded. I mean – what’s a few hundred grand between friends, right?). Also please consider checking out the book links on the right.
Have a good day, and I’ll see you next Thursday.