In print, more than 80 years ago, DC Comics pioneered superheroes – while Marvel appeared as the awful kid of the 1960s, shaking up the genre by humanizing its costumed crime fighters and integrating with the new counterculture. Since the astonishing success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a superhero playground that has starred various mega-powered titans for more than a decade, DC Films has been playing catch-up on the big screen, even though mainstays like Superman and Batman made their way into multiplexes long before Iron Man, the Hulk and Thor. That image does not appear to shift anytime soon after it was announced that Warner Bros.-owned DC would switch even more of its content to the HBO Max streaming platform.
Four movies a year are now going to hit theaters, according to industry sources, and two are going to be released directly on the small screen. Although the move comes in the aftermath of the Covid 19 pandemic and its effect on theater chains, it is also somewhat close to what Marvel does on Disney+, where the studio brings many TV shows and movies over the next two years featuring its core MCU cast. Disney’s latest release, Wonder Woman 1984, will premiere on HBO Max and in theaters throughout the U.S., while the studio plans to introduce the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League to the streaming service in 2021 as a miniseries of four one-hour episodes. Theaters closed, movies delayed: how Covid-19 updated film in 2020
If that still persists after the original Justice League and films such as Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice missed the test phase, is it too much to say that the compulsion to produce for the small screen will iron out some of the worst quirks of the DC Extended Universe project? Although over the past two years, DC films have improved, mainly due to Warner Bros. allowing filmmakers to go their own way rather than being forced to adopt the Marvel-like formula of interconnected superhero stories, there is something about multiplex filmmaking that makes it simpler for films such as Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to exist. It is like eating a burger made with the cheapest cuts of meat butchered in delicious homemade dressings and put between beautiful handmade brioche buns along with the most excellent pickles made by a Michelin-starred chef to see these films in theaters.
In comparison, it’s hard to imagine the worst DC movies having an audience on TV, because when viewed at home on an iPad, the huge, special effects-laden sequences don’t perform well. Even Warner had the sense of splitting the Justice League of Snyder into series, a move that will ideally lead the studio to tone down its propensity to have a badass mega-battle between our heroes and the new hellish invention dreamed up by the guys in the CGI lab every third act (always set against the backdrop of a ravaged, fiery landscape, for some reason). Wonder Woman 1984, with all its flaws, shows positive signs that DC’s special effects team has realized that the loudest bang does not always produce a major throwback. But even though Diana’s final fight against Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah doesn’t degenerate into a pixel-fest, compared to Marvel’s impressive representation of Thanos in the later Avengers films, the digital work on the feline villain is a little bad.
I am not the only observer who feels that after being electrocuted in #WW84 pic.twitter.com/xVsl2uSikr- dulcedeleche (@gex2049) December 26, 2020, Cats.Cheetah is waiting outside for an unfortunate whiff.
What does a TV-made Wonder Woman movie look like? Without the high-tech upscaling that a theatrical release provides, we can only hope that the DC filmmakers go back to basics. With some luck, 2021 might also usher in a new age of adaptation of comic books and television, one in which the focus is on super-powered storytelling rather than the kind of theatrical experience of Snyder-esque heavy metal “spectacle.” that feels like we’ve been repeatedly hit over the head.