Marvels interlinked superhero movies transformed industry thinking, but now rival studios are increasingly reverting to simpler, old-school storytelling
It’s never easy to change the habits of a lifetime. We spend much of our existence watching the more outwardly successful each member of our society and trying to shift our outlook subtly in order to be only a bit more like them. To exert more; to eat less. To expend more period reading works of fine literature and watching cult movies; to spend less time on Facebook and reading the gossip pages or football transfer news. Yet we often find ourselves reverting to type, because these are the tiny vices that get us through the day.
Something similar seems to be happening in Hollywood right now when it comes to comic-book movies. Rival studios such as Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox have noted the hugely successful Marvel Cinematic Universe( MCU) model and would quite like their own piece of the pie. But try as they might, they cannot help but revert to older film-making models that have served them well in the past- and involve rather less joined-up thinking.
The big geek news of the past week is that Warner, the studio behind the DC Extended Universe( DCEU)- launched in 2014 with the presumed objective of competing with Marvel’s MCU- has decided it might also be quite nice to begin building superhero movies that have absolutely nothing to do with the aforementioned series of interlinked cinemas. Hence, we are hearing talk of a Joker origins movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio( and produced by Martin Scorsese ), which will be entirely separate from the DCEU movies featuring Jared Leto( who must be absolutely chuffed to bits at the news) as the clown prince of Gotham.
In its latest piece on the studio’s schemes, the Hollywood Reporteralso quietly mentions that the upcoming Matt Reeves-directed outing The Batman may no longer superstar Ben Affleck as the caped reformer, and may also operate outside the DCEU with a different performer as the dark knight.
Let’s reflect on that bombshell for a second. You’ve just spent hundreds of millions of dollars setting up a shared cosmo for your much-heralded superheroes to occupy, and your next move is to start make-up movies about the same characters that have nothing to do with the main tale. What explanation could there possibly be for such apparently muddled reasoning? Will audiences not be enormously confused at the sight of Affleck playing Batman in the main DCEU, while another actor solely pulls on the cape and cowl for solo jaunts?
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