During the opening credits rolled on ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ Will Arnett’s Batman can be heard speaking over the credits. One of the things Batman said was “DC, the house that Batman built. Yeah what Superman? Come at me bro. I’m your Kryptonite,” when the DC Comics logo appeared. This was one of the many funny things that happened in ‘The Lego Batman Movie.’ Now that we are seeing more and more news come out about the DC Extended Universe, in particularly when it comes to The Batman movie, this line is showing truer than ever.
As Variety reported at the end of January, Ben Affleck stepped down as director to focus on just being Batman for the upcoming solo movie. In his official statement Affleck said “Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give………….Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film.”
While this was seen as bad news for the upcoming solo Batman movie things looked to be going in the right direction after it was reported Matt Reeves is an early talks to direction the movie. As the director of Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes, Reeves is an excellent choice to helm The Batman solo movie.
But just as this positive news made the rounds the pedulum good news direction as now Collider Movie Talk’s John Campea claimed Affleck is looking to exit the Batman role all together. In his YouTube show Campea said “He doesn’t want to be Batman anymore………I have been told that Affleck is talking with Warner Bros. in an attempt to get out of being Batman.”
Now, as Campea said in the video, this report has not been officially stated by Affleck, DC or Warner Bros and should be taken with a giant grain of salt. But even though this has not been confirmed, it once again shows the power Batman holds over the DC Comics brand for Warner Bros. While Will Arnett’s Batman opening comment about DC Comics is funny all this news just shows how real that the joke is.
Even in an year where Wonder Woman releases in June followed by Justice League in November the only movie people keep talking about is Batman, which is reported to come as early as 2019 and even that isn’t official. While both movies had been given their promotion since Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice premiered it’s hard to remember any of it since everyone’s attention is on Affleck’s solo movie. This only speaks to the ineffectiveness of the DC Extended Universe so far to build stars beyond Batman.
As a fan of DC Comics I do see how much potential the DC Extended Universe actually start showing that it’s not being wasted. This does not only mean making good movies. That is definitely part of the equation but to make the DC Extended Universe resonate they have to do more.
DC and WB don’t have to look too far to see what they need to do. Just watching the recently released Avengers: Infinity War teaser it reminded me of how much Iron Man, Spider-Man and Star Lord’s reach goes beyond the big screen. Not only have Robert Downey Jr, Tom Holland and Chris Pratt brought these characters to life on the big screen they have also embraced them in the real world. Everything from appearing in costume in promotional videos to visiting children’s hospitals in character, the Marvel Cinematic Universe actors are helping establish that the Marvel brand is not just on one character’s shoulders.
This is the mentality that DC and WB’s need to start having their actors embrace. Because even though we have had two movies with Henry Cavill as Superman you would hardly know it since we don’t get any news about him. The same goes for Margo Robby and Will Smith as Harley Quinn and Deadshot. Though they both have big star power things have been silent in terms of building goodwill for these characters. Even if it’s just teaser video of actors in costume talking about the roles for upcoming movies, these things go a long way.
Now this type of visibility is not the only way DC and WB can turn things around but it will definitely be a big help PR wise. Because right now there isn’t a visible build on the goodwill these characters do have it is not surprising that almost all the news around the DC Extended Universe is about Batman. All that news just is not a good look as it all means that Batman is the only one that can drive the car everyone else is just a passenger on. And depending on where Affleck and those in charge decided to take Batman all of the other DC characters will follow along, even if that is off a cliff.
I hope for nothing more that the DC Extended Universe to be successful with all of its movies. Competition is good for every industry as companies can push each other to be better. Even though I didn’t like the direction and overall story of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice I still think Affleck’s Batman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman were great in that movie.
For the betterment of the DC Extended Universe’s lifespan everyone in charge needs to start changing this narrative around Batman. If not we will just see yet another franchise be Curb Stomped into the ground in the crowded world of Hollywood.
Sources: Variety; The Hollywood Reporter; Collider Movie Talk; NME