Currently, there is no more divisive subject in mainstream cinema than the quality of the Warner Bros.’ movies set in the DC Extended Universe. Ever since Man of Steel rebooted the Superman franchise back in 2013, the merits of each successive movie in the DCEU (as it’s referred to) have been subjected to the critical equivalent of a full-scale autopsy. On the one hand you have fans of the DCEU who rail against any notion of these movies being anything other than entertaining, excellent examples of modern superhero movie making. On the other hand you have the naysayers (fans or otherwise) who decry these efforts as dreadful, cynical money-making exercises. There’s very little middle ground, although there are some folks out there who are able to voice more constructive opinions, but these opinions aren’t really being heard in the maelstrom of vitriolic arguments that seem to be the only response DCEU fans and their “opponents” can muster when confronting each other.
There are as many fans and detractors on the Marvel front. The air of superiority that Marvel fans lord over DCEU fans, and which stems mostly from Marvel’s continued dominance at the international box office, can often lead to the same arguments that dominate the DECU debates though. This movie is bad, that movie is better, they should do this, the movies would be better if they did that. Everyone except for the writers and producers and directors seems to know what will make these movies work. (Already, and with nearly a year to go before its release, Wonder Woman has been referred to as “a mess”, as if this is of any relevance to anything. Think about it.) With so much time and money and effort involved in making these movies, you’d hope that the results would be better each time, but there’s clearly something wrong with the DCEU movies that isn’t happening (as much) with Marvel’s output. Which makes this week’s Question of the Week a simple one:
Why do the current spate of DCEU superhero movies still inspire such devotion and passion when they’re clearly not working to their full potential – or is that the point?