The DCEU is in trouble. How much trouble depends on who you ask, but almost everyone agrees that not all is well in the house that Batman built. They need someone or something to step up and deliver a solid win in their movie franchise. A win like they haven’t seen since Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. A win they’ve been wanting while watching their competition, Marvel, have success after success. Simply put, the DCEU needs a hero. Or maybe a heroine. Wonder Woman is that Heroine. She can deliver a film that connects with existing fans while expanding the fan base further into the mainstream.
Why is the DCEU Struggling?
One area in which Marvel has succeeded is bringing these characters much more into the minds of the masses. Yes, people had heard of Thor and Iron Man and especially Captain America, but they didn’t know their stories. Not that well, anyway. With Iron Man, a whole new audience was introduced to Tony Stark, and then the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel found a way, with a great cast (especially RDJ), a solid director and a story that worked. It was an origin story that no one knew. It felt fresh and new and different. They had similar successes with Captain America and Thor, and then told another origin story with The Avengers. All of these films told a story of how these characters came to be, the most successful type of superhero story. Each one brought the MCU characters more and more into the toe collective consciousness.
Another area of success for Marvel was that they made these films family friendly. The term family friendly has negative connotation sometimes, because it usually means not grown up entertainment friendly. Or grown up boring. Following the trends of a recent entertainment, like Pixar and Disney and Dreamworks, Marvel made films that you can comfortably bring your kids to, but you will still be entertained. In other words, anyone and everyone will like the films. Your marketing base is automatically larger when you try to appeal to multiple age demographics at once, if you successfully pull it off. It’s important to mention here that I am referring to the main MCU films, not the X-Men films and certainly not Deadpool or Logan, which appeal mostly to a much more mature audience. Or the Netflix Marvel shows.
A third area where Marvel succeeded was in how each character in each film felt different, but they all fit. Iron Man and Captain America and Ant-Man are all very different from each other, but they all still feel like Marvel characters. Guardians of the Galaxy is a very different style film than The Avengers and both of these will not be like The Defenders, but they all still fit in the same universe. They’re like a family that way. Each of my kids is very different, but they all belong together.
The DCEU has failed in each of these areas to varying degrees. Mostly, DC has focused on its two top characters, Batman and Superman, and retelling their origin stories again. Yes, they did Suicide Squad, hoping to piggyback off the success of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but even Suicide Squad seemed like a Batman spinoff. Dc has also established a much darker, more mature universe, that I am not always comfortable taking my kids to, thus somewhat limiting their base audience. Each of their films have felt very similar. Superman is much darker, fitting into the darker Snyder-verse that DC has established. The tone and feel of Man of Steel was more similar to The Dark Knight than to the 75 plus years of Superman comics. That’s fine, if that’s what they want to do, but it hasn’t translated into a lot of success for DC, or at least, as much success as Marvel has had.
How Wonder Woman Can Help
This year marks Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary. Almost as long as Batman and Superman, and this is her first stand alone theatrical film. Other than the fact that it is a long time coming, this also means many mainstream fans are less familiar with her origin than they are Batman’s or Superman’s or Spider-Man’s. What’s even better is that her origin story is pretty cool. This is a good thing. Wonder Woman could end up being DC’s Iron Man. Plus, the look and feel of this film, at least from what we have seen from the previews, is not very Snyder-esque. That is a very good thing. It still looks serious, and not campy, but it doesn’t look dreary, gloomy, or dark, despite taking place during World War I. All of this may be exactly what the DCEU needs leading up to what will be their tent pole film, Justice League.
Wonder Woman is so much more than a primer for Justice League, though. One thing I think Marvel has yet to get right in the MCU is doing a stand alone film featuring a female protagonist. How long have we been looking for a Black Widow movie? How many more years is it before we will see Captain Marvel on the big screen? This is the one thing DC can do before Marvel in the cinematic universe world. They are beating them to this punch, and frankly, it could be a knockout blow. Wonder Woman has always set the standard for the female superheroes. She’s the original, much like Superman is the original male superhero. It is great that her film is the first female driven superhero movie (No, Catwoman and Elektra do not count). This could be huge for DC, which is quickly establishing itself as the comic book company that appeals to girls and boys, whereas Marvel is stuck in the Disney Boy/Girl model- Boys like action, girls like princesses, and there is little overlap. With Wonder Woman, the DCEU may be breaking that mold. I have a son who is just as excited as my daughter to go see this film.
With Patty Jenkins directing and Gal Gadot starring in the lead role, Wonder Woman is poised to become the first really big hit for DC, not starring Batman or Superman. From what we have seen in the trailers and previews, it looks like it is going to be a fantastic film. As a result, it may just restore hope to DC fans everywhere, who have been waiting for DC to step up to the plate and hit one out of the park against Marvel. Wonder Woman could be that home run. I hope it will be. I felt like Gal Gadot was the highlight from Batman v Superman, and I cannot wait to see how this film turns out.
What do you think? Will this film save the floundering DCEU? Or will it be another massive disappointment? Are you excited to see it? Let us know in the comments either here on the site or on our Facebook page. You can also send your feedback to me directly at [email protected]. The pictures in this post are sharable. Feel free to spread them about the internet, we just ask you link back to our site.
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All the quotes for the pictures in this post came from this post at Movie Quotes and More.
And here is the final trailer: