4 Signs DC Comics Has No Clue How to Make Superhero Movies

Back in 2008, DC Comics had massive success with The Dark Knight. And now that Marvel's space opera about a low-vocabulary tree-man is the highest-grossing movie of the year, DC is more than eager to hop back aboard the hype train, unaware that they've aimed it squarely off a cliff. Their main problems?

#4. DC's Doing the Exact Opposite of What Made Marvel Successful

DC can't just copy Marvel's film formula, so they're contrasting. Namely, DC's embracing the gritty overtones of the Christopher Nolan Bat-trilogy -- which printed a shit-ton of Bat-dollars, reactions to The Dark Knight Rises notwithstanding -- instead of Marvel's pop superheroics.

Also, DC is flip-flopping the structure of The Avengers. In that film, Marvel took an armful of superheroes -- most of whom had prior films to establish their characters -- and tossed them all into the same darn movie. If you hated Thor, it didn't matter -- you could ignore that character and instead relish Iron Man's banter, Captain America's befuddled good looks, or Hawkeye's, uh, Hawk-stuff.

Marvel Studios
This was a nice dessert after a well-made meal. Justice League is just a high dive into a swimming pool of ice-cream headache.

DC wants a piece of The Avengers' 1.5-billion-dollar pie, except they don't have the time or patience for all that universe-building claptrap. For 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the strategy appears to be "let's make a bouillabaisse out of all our intellectual property." Batman v Superman's seemingly pulling an Amazing Spider-Man 2 and throwing in new and unknown versions of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, and presumably the first big-screen appearance of Lady Cop.

DC Comics
"Can we give her pants?"
"She's Lady Cop, not Harlot Officer!"

So what's the problem with this strategy? Only after DC has raked in the requisite $2 billion with both Batman v Superman and 2018's Justice League will we likely see Wonder Woman or Aquaman in their own films. This, of course, assumes the inevitable scene where Aquaman castrates a humpback whale doesn't cause audiences to cry themselves to sleep. And whatever do we mean by that?

#3. DC Mistakes "Dark" for "Realistic"

It's not just the plots that have to be super-serious with DC -- it's the outfits as well. Zack Snyder "tried like crazy to keep the red briefs" on Superman's outfit. Ultimately, they were cut from the film, because a biologically impossible humanoid extraterrestrial in a blue jumpsuit is fine, but if you can see his underwear, that's just too far.

Similarly, the new Wonder Woman has lost her red, white, and blue garb, because nobody in the real world wears colorful clothing. Now she looks like she lost a fight with a bronze factory.

Warner Bros.
Xena: Warrior Smelter.

Compare this with Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel embraced the campiness of a talking raccoon, which allowed them to sneak some surprise pathos in. Meanwhile, DC is obsessed with making their films "realistic," apparently unaware that the entire concept of Superman is completely fucking ridiculous. (Nobody's particularly surprised by rumors that DC has a "no jokes after Green Lantern bombed" policy on the books.) And while we're on the topic ...

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