Hey! Justice League comes out this Friday. Y'all excited about that? I know that I am. Sort of. Well, it depends. To an extent. Possibly.
Let's just say that I'm excited for parts of Justice League. I'm excited to see Wonder Woman do her thing again. I'm excited to hear Jason Momoa yell "Yahoo!" a lot. I'm excited to see J.K. Simmons play Complete Nutrition Customer of the Year Commissioner Gordon. I'm excited to hear Danny Elfman's score, especially after he claimed that Batman had only one theme, and it was the one he wrote. So suck it, everybody but Danny Elfman.
And that's about it. Honestly, it's kind of hard to be excited for Justice League as a complete movie, even if it's supposed to be the culmination of what the DC Extended Universe has been doing up to this point, since all five movies in said universe have technically rebooted it in some way. Justice League is not so much a huge moment as it is just one more dart at the board for DC.
Every movie DC makes feels like an experiment trying to answer the desperate question "What do you people want from us?!" Man Of Steel was released in 2013, a Superman reboot that apparently heralded a new age wherein Superman spent most of his time grimacing at sections of land with all the color drained out of it. Then Batman v. Superman came along, signaling that this was no longer a solo series. This was a movie universe in which a lot of superpowered people existed at the same time, and goddamn were they pissed about it. Batman hated Superman. Superman hated life. Wonder Woman hated computers. Everything was grim and everything was interconnected, and it made you miss the joyous neck-snapping of Man Of Steel.
Then Suicide Squad rolled in, blaring Skrillex and throwing down the new rules for the DCEU. Sadness wasn't working, so how about some lightheartedness? Lighthearted interactions shoved into every nook and cranny of the script, no matter how little they fit the tone of the rest of the movie. Long, serious sections that would raise the dramatic stakes? Those are for grandpas and lame-o's. At this time, Wonder Woman rose from below the wreckage and announced "Nay, for this is not how you do things. Put your self-awareness and your nihilism aside and focus on the standalone good in the world. Focus on the superhero as a force of positivity, rather than as a force of exhausting moral ambiguity. Now follow me into the light."
Justice League was in the middle of becoming a completely different movie from what it is now when it heard Wonder Woman's message. Like a kid who wants to be a cowboy until they read that astronauts exist, it pulled sharply on the wheel, hit the gas, and barreled down the highway in the opposite direction. This was no longer the culmination of a series of movies. It was the culmination of responses to the reactions that the previous movies got.
And after Justice League, the DCEU will be changing the whole way it's structured. No longer will it try to be Marvel. Instead it will be so NOT Marvel that it will barely be a universe. Batman will get a trilogy that takes place on the same earth, but ignores the rest of that earth entirely. The Joker is getting a solo movie that apparently takes place in Brooklyn, so unless Batman is the dark defender of Park Slope, it might have nothing to do with the Caped Crusader. But fear not, fans of Jared Leto's Joker and Jared Leto. He will be returning as well, because when Warner Bros. heard "This Joker isn't so good," they felt that the only logical solution was to make there be twice as many Jokers.
Every film in the DCEU might have ties to the previous ones, but they are not sequels. They are simply attempts to appease a very angry and dissatisfied audience. "Oh, you had problems with the last film? Well here's a new one WHERE EVERYTHING IS OVER-CORRECTED." The DCEU is that friend who takes every criticism as a slash-burn campaign on their whole being. You told them that they had a bad haircut? They shaved themselves bald. You told them that they needed to exercise more? Now they're the one who shows up shirtless to every party. You told them that their movie series needed fixing, and voila! They just made it into a different series. Over and over and over again.
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