DC Comics And Their Movies
I am sure a lot of people have sat and pondered why DC doesn’t share as much success as Marvel when it comes to the silver screen. Recently they have done well with the Batman franchise, directed by Christopher Nolan with Christian Bale at the helm as Bruce Wayne alongside a stellar cast. I’ve thought about this issue so much that I’ve actually come up with a theory for success when it comes to movies but I don’t deserve the credit, as the theory involves both Mr. Nolan and another actor.
So let’s rehash the Marvel movies real quick just to bring everyone up to speed. Marvel’s cinematic universe begins with Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, also with a great cast. Praise, nothing but praise from the critics and insiders when it came to Robert Downey Jr and his take on the character of Tony Stark. For three movies we’ve seen this man play Tony Stark, HE IS, Tony Stark, he might as well just change his name legally. Following the amazing continuity that Marvel follows with it’s films (with a couple of exceptions) they had a pop culture icon, a genuine star at the front of their franchise as a whole.
Now with Marvel, the company has always done such an amazing job explaining why “X” (being a power) happens to “Y” (who ever has this power) and why “X” does “Z” (what they do depending on being a hero, villain or anti-hero.) The best explanations come out of the X-Men franchise and the pseudo-science involved with mutants. Of course Marvel’s cinematic universe still did a fantastic job of this as well. You saw why Iron Man was Iron Man, how Captain America came to be, why the Hulk was and learned more about Thor. The company also did a great job of not taking to much time explaining the origins, they were very concise and quick leaving plenty of room for the rest of the story.
DC hasn’t done this at all with the exception of Nolan’s Batman. And the only reason why Nolan’s Batman worked, is because Batman isn’t a superhero by normal standards. He is simply a wealthy, extraordinary human being with a vast intelligence and a keen observant eye. Zack Synder, with Nolan’s help, tried to pull off the same kind of shine on Superman in “Man of Steel” and while I liked the movie’s shimmer, it’s over all tone and while I do think it’s the best Superman movie to date, that particular gritty, dark sort of theme Nolan became famous for in his Batman trilogy, just did not do any favors for “Man of Steel.”
So, my theory for DC if they want to challenge Marvel any time soon, is use the Nolan Effect to their advantage while not forgetting about the RDJ Factor. The Nolan Effect is simple, if they have no superpowers, call the Nolan brothers and ask David S. Goyer to pound out a script. How about something dealing with the entire Batman family or the Green Arrow? What about The Question, Blue Beetle or Nemesis? There are plenty of well-known characters under the DC banner that would work under the Nolan Effect, including an entire movie series based SPECIFICALLY on Batman Inc. I mean, c’mon, Batman, the many Robin’s, then Nightwing, Oracle for a while, the Batgirls, their many allies and the whole plethora of villains to choose from. Take your pick, DC you have a ton to work with.
The second part of the theory has to do with Robert Downey Jr. As of yet, despite Christian Bale’s beautiful attempt at owning the cowl, there has not been a single actor who really, genuinely wanted to own a role, then there has Robert Downey Jr with Iron Man. That man made the character his own, he really disappeared into the role and I see that DC is trying to find their RDJ Factor in Ben Affleck. And why not? The last ten years Ben Affleck has been on a roll, “The Town,” or “Argo” ring any bells?
Ben Affleck cast as Bruce Wayne is probably the best thing DC has done for themselves since casting Mark Strong as Sinestro. Did you honestly think that someone like Henry Cavill, someone barely anyone really knew about prior to the movie Man of Steel, was going to be at the front of DC’s attempt at a cinematic universe?
It’s easy, if they’ve got powers, find another route, if not, use Nolan, keep Synder and use the team of Nolan, Goyer and Synder as your personal Joss Whedon and don’t dump over these characters. They’re great characters, and they’d do well in the movies, if you just, took the time to ensure a proper translation.