Warner Bros And DC Extended Universe: The Story So Far
With its fourth film on the way out, the DC extended universe is in full swing. With Wonder Woman around the corner, let's take a look at the films that have come so far.
The First Try
As of now, three films have been released that fit within the DC extended universe: Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad. This was the second attempt to get a cinematic universe off the ground to challenge Marvel Studios. The first was 2011's Green Lantern, starring Ryan Reynolds. Originally that was meant to be the first in a new universe, but the film was met with a largely negative response at release.
Despite what looked like a good team in front of and behind the camera - at least on paper - the film just didn't deliver what people wanted. From the abundunce of CGI to a very uneven script, it didn't launch a universe the way Warner Bros. wanted. Reynolds would have to wait until 2016's Deadpool before bouncing back, fully, from the film. Warner, on the other hand, let the idea of an extended universe sit on the side, letting Nolan finish his Batman trilogy before revisiting the idea two years later.
A 'Super' Effort
The next film Warner turned to was 2013's Man of Steel starring Henry Cavill. This new take on Superman, directed by Zack Snyder, gave the character a darker edge than he had in the past, forgoing the "Big Blue Boy Scout" angle usually associated with the character. This was also the first cinematic take on the iconic character since Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, so a new take was a long time coming.
Overall, response to the film was mixed, but tended to lean more on the positive side. While general complaints centered on the dark tone Snyder applied, there were Easter eggs aplenty that hinted at a larger universe. Cavill was also very much accepted as a new Superman. From there, work on Man of Steel 2 would begin, but would quickly evolve into something else, something bigger.
Day vs. Knight
More than a month after the release of Man of Steel, Snyder took the stage at San Diego Comic-Con to talk about the next film they were working on. What followed was actor Harry Lennix reading a piece of dialogue from Frank Miller's classic The Dark Knight Returns, and a teaser video of Batman and Superman's first on-screen meeting.
Roll the clock forward three years, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice released, starring Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck. The film pit the two iconic characters against each other in a battle for the ages, but it may not have lived up to expectations.
At best, the film was a mixed bag for most people, feeling even darker and gloomier than Man of Steel. It had an uneven script, which may have been too long. And don't forget Jesse Eisenberg's "different" take on Lex Luthor. However, there was still some good to be found, with Ben Affleck's Batman getting most of the consistent praise from critics and fans, minus the killing.
It also gave fans their first taste of Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot, who also received a fair amount of praise. The film saw some improvement when the extended cut was released a few months later on Blu-ray, but also had people wondering why that wasn't the one released to begin with.
Warner would still strike while the iron was hot, shining a light on the villains of the universe.
Worst. Heroes. Ever.
The third film in this universe would be David Ayer's Suicide Squad, starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Viola Davis. The film would follow the titular team of supervillains who are "recruited" into Task Force X, a government-sactioned black ops team formed by Amanda Waller.
Smith portrayed Deadshot, the world's deadliest assassin, and Robbie played Harley Quinn, The Joker's infamous girlfriend, along with a merry band of misfits that include Joel Kinnaman's Rick Flagg and Jai Courtney's Captain Boomerang. While it was one of the most anticipated films of summer, 2016, again, it may not have lived up to expectations.
Again, the film got a mixed response from fans, while getting a largely negative response from critics. The general consensus was that the film felt like a mess, and as more stories came out about the somewhat rushed production and multiple cuts floating around, it came as no surprise. It did very well at the box office though, with a sequel in the works.
What Lies Ahead
Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see how things shape up for this cinematic universe. Wonder Woman is next on the docket and may be the first overall success of the universe. November will then see the release of Justice League, which will unite Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman with the likes of The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg, played by Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, and Ray Fisher respectively.
Warner also hasn't been shy about changes to the release schedule by pulling, moving, and delaying certain films. As of now, Aquaman is the next film in production, with a release date set for next year. The other members of the League also have standalone movies and sequels in place, but because of fan response and a desire to shift direction, Warner has added a few films that people may not expect, like Gotham City Sirens and Nightwing.
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