We’re witnessing a trend in Hollywood right now, and to the dismay of some its comic book movies. Trends in Hollywood, like anything else, come and go. The studio bulldozing the path for this trend in recent years has been Marvel Studios. With their 2008 release of Iron Man they introduced us audiences to a shared cinematic universe inhabited by superheroes. Iron Man was a hit both critically and financially. Since then the Marvel freight train has yet to slow down. Every movie they’ve released has been profitable and well received by the fans and critics. Throughout their continued success they’ve announced a slate of movies up to the year 2020 and are soon-to-be in production of three films a year. Unfortunately, not every movie studio can churn critically and financially successful films one after another. Arguably the studio with the most intellectual properties that have yet to be explored is that of DC Entertainment, owned by Warner Bros. Excluding the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy, Warner Bros has misfired a few rounds and is sometimes disregarded or forgotten. In 2012, Warner Bros released Man of Steel, which launched them into the shared cinematic universe competition. Following the financial success of Man of Steel, a sequel entitled Man of Steel 2 was announced as was a whole slate of movies up until the year 2020. I believe the only difference with Warner Bros as opposed to Marvel is that, this sequel has to work and be a success both financially and critically.
The previously titled Man of Steel 2 sequel was changed a few summers back to the now titled, Batman V Superman. Everything about this movie to me looks exciting and I personally can’t wait to see it, however I have to try really hard to not be naive when examining Warner Bros current situation. They’re coming off a Man of Steel movie that profited well for them, but was met with mixed reviews and to this day divides fans. Before Man of Steel there was the giant cloud of brown poo known as Paralax, oops I mean Green Lantern, and not long before that was the snore-fest Superman Returns. For some, it seems if the name Christopher Nolan isn’t attached to a DC comic book movie adaption it’s almost viewed as taboo or destined to fail.
Batman V Superman is now the second film in Warner Bros newly created shared cinematic universe, and for their universe to continue on this movie of course has to be profitable but more importantly it has to be well received and liked. Why? I’m glad you asked. There are people who see Warner Bros as having continued progress in this cinematic universe as long as Batman V Superman is profitable. These same people believe that regardless if it’s the worst film ever made the universe will continue on because people will flock out to see it. While I don’t doubt that this movie will make enough money to power a crowd-funded Gotham City for decades, money doesn’t guarantee a long life span. For example, allow me to cite the turd-bomb that was Sony’s’ The Amazing Spider-Man 2, a movie that made the studio a ridiculous amount of money, but was hated by critics and fans alike. As a result, Sony imploded their “spidey-verse” and is rebooting via partnership with the previously mentioned Marvel Studios. While money is almost a forgone conclusion when talking about comic book movies it in no way is a full-proof path to longevity.
Warner Bros can’t afford to have Batman V Superman panned by critics and fans alike, if so they have to consider starting over. Whereas Marvel Studios biggest bullet in their chamber is The Avengers, aside from a full-blown Justice League movie, Batman V Superman is the biggest bullet Warner Bros has. There is no coming back from this if they miss the target. They’re guaranteed a stupid amount of box office receipts, but if their second film in a row comes out and is anything less than “good” they should keep the panic button close. They have a movie with the holy trinity of superheroes and sprinkled in are the likes of The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. They’re throwing all their chips on the table right out the gate and they can’t afford to have it bust. Especially considering how invested they already are in the future of this universe, because Suicide Squad is in post-production and Wonder Woman is currently shooting. What happens to these projects if Batman V Superman falls short and turns out to be a total misfire? All we know for sure is Warner Bros can not afford to find out.
In no way do I mean to attack Warner Bros or proclaim my fanboy residency in the city of Marvel, but the situation speaks for itself. I love of Man of Steel and I consistently argue with friends
who are a lot smarter than me about why I think its incredible and honestly I have no shame when it comes to defending it. The hard truth though is that not every critic nor did every other fanboy see Man of Steel in the same light I did. This makes the next step all the more crucial for Warner Bros and the future of the entire universe is sitting on the bench hoping their number will still be called.
In the end, I personally think (hope) Batman V Superman is going to kick ass. Excluding the last trailer, I’ve loved every bit of news and marketing from this movie. I want nothing more than for it to blow peoples minds and finally usher in the rich DC cinematic universe we’ve been waiting for. However, I do believe that Warner Bros will be a nervous come release day no matter how much ass people like me or even the studio themselves believe the movie will kick. They know they’ve delivered stinkers in the past and they have more recent ones than other studios. Batman V Superman has everything in front of it to be amazing and give us nerds the gasm we’ve been wanting our whole lives. The ugly truth looms though, Warner Bros needs this movie to be a success in more ways than one. I believe they’re more than capable but if they drop the ball, we may be seeing a whole new team of players come in the mix via reboot. Again.