For the past five years, Marvel has been comfortably handing DC its own rear-end on a silver platter (truth be told, it’s probably scraps from Tony Stark’s garage and, thus, more likely a titanium alloy platter), year-in and year-out, and DC has been struggling to make a comeback with little to no avail. Nonetheless, now is the perfect time to be a fan of anything and everything related to comic books, what with the popularity of superheroes at the box office. (Pro-tip: that still doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to run around the neighborhood in your Superman tighty-whities, not quite yet.)Back in 2008, Marvel took the first steps towards its grander plans for a “universe”, with the reveal of the “Avengers Initiative”Back in 2008, Marvel took the first steps towards its–as Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury put it in the end credits of Iron Man, when he approached Tony Stark in the confides of his dark, Malibu fortress–grander plans for a “universe,” with the reveal of the “Avengers Initiative”: a fancy way of saying “a lot of money for Marvel at the box office.” Following the success of Iron Man, there would be The Incredible Hulk, an Iron Man sequel, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger, all of which led into The Avengers, the highly anticipated culmination of Marvel’s “Phase 1,” which was followed by a third Iron Man film, conveniently titled Iron Man 3 (and which is still enjoying worldwide success at the box office after being released only a month ago). With Iron Man 3 comes the start of–you guessed it–“Phase 2” of Marvel’s cinematic universe, which is set to wrap up on May 1, 2015 with The Avengers 2, after which “Phase 3” would begin, starting with Edgar Wright’s eagerly anticipated Ant-Man on November 6, 2015.
While we’re still in the early stages of “Phase 2” and won’t see a second Avengers film for almost two years, there’s plenty to look forward to in the meantime: in addition to sequels for Thor and Captain America, there’s Marvel’s version of Star Wars, The Guardians of the Galaxy, to look forward to in 2014, in addition to plenty of other Marvel films that aren’t produced by Marvel Studios. For starters, there’s this summer’s The Wolverine, next summer’s sequel to Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man reboot, in addition to X-Men: Days of Future Past (an X-Men film that is designed to undo the events of X-Men: The Last Stand) and a Fantastic Four reboot in 2015. You don’t have to be a mathematician to see that all of this adds up to a healthy roster of Marvel superheroes hitting the big-screen in the next two years, with plans for the following two years already being put into action by Marvel’s President of Production, Kevin Feige.You don’t have to be a mathematician to see that DC is at least one whole “Phase” behind its rival.Now, you also don’t have to be a mathematician to see that DC is at least one whole “Phase” behind its rival, with its only successful franchise of the last few years being Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, whose box office total can’t even get a fingernail deep enough to scratch the box office ravaging of Marvel. While all of Nolan’s work has received almost universal acclaim, they aren’t meant to lead in to anything in the same way that any of Marvel’s films are. Nolan very clearly dictated that his films are meant to stand-alone, and that his version of the Caped Crusader doesn’t exist in a world of Kryptonite and other super-powered beings. Batman, much like Jason Derulo, is ridin’ solo.
Well, anyone who knows anything about comics, or superheroes, for that matter, knows that Batman, just like his billionaire, Marvel counter-part Tony Stark, also belongs to a team of superheroes: the Justice League. This league of people who have an affinity for justice includes the likes of the Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Aquaman, the latter of which is about as threatening as a Magikarp but is still a force worth reckoning with…if you don’t want your sushi to choke you while you’re swallowing it. But, Aquaman’s lameness aside, all of these heroes would, much like the Avengers, be spectacular to see on the big screen. They would, undoubtedly, be a box office draw, and the film could give the Avengers, whose film grossed more than $1.5 billion last summer, a run for their money. Instead?DC’s lack of faith in its non-Batman, non-Superman heroes is rather disturbing.For starters, DC’s lack of faith in its non-Batman, non-Superman heroes is rather disturbing. The Flash, for instance, is a notably popular character among the comic book community (and, by extension, anyone who watches The Big Bang Theory) but DC has made no attempt in getting their red speedster onto the big screen. And while DC has been contemplating whether or not they should–after the success of Marvel’s films and Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy–make a move on bringing Barry Allen to the big screen, Joss Whedon, the unofficial overseer of the Marvel films, announced that he would be using Quicksilver (Marvel’s version of The Flash) in The Avengers 2. So, at this point, if DC decides to use him, people would only ridicule them for copying Marvel once again, even though they’ve claimed time and time again in the past five years that a Flash film was in the works.
DC’s only made two ventures into bringing its heroes to life: one in 2011’s Green Lantern, a love-story that could have been written by Nicholas Sparks and just happened to conveniently feature a superhero (for maybe 17% of the film), and another in CW’s newest television series, Arrow, which has been lauded by both critics and ordinary-people alike. While DC is hesitant to revisit Green Lantern (despite hinting at a sequel with a post-credits scene), it has teased that Arrow will feature more characters from the DC universe in its second season and may be used to tie-in to a Justice League film. Of course, with DC saying that, you can bet that $5 bill and stick of gum in your pocket on them only using C-list characters in the series; but at least they’re making some sort of an effort, right?
With Man of Steel being released in just under two weeks, we can most definitely expect some sort of announcement from Zack Snyder, director of the film, and DC on the future of a potential cinematic universe to rival that of Marvel. Assuming the film does well at the box office, it would only make sense for DC to greenlight a Justice League film: a Justice League film that’s had the likes of Ben Affleck, Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder and, at one point, Marvel’s Joss Whedon attached to direct it, much to the tease and dismay of fans around the world. But is that really the wisest decision?One thing is for certain though: Man of Steel has to live up to the hype it’s generated in the last year and a half.Marvel set up The Avengers over the course of four years, with countless tie-ins, quality films and a little bit of Robert Downey Jr.’s charm, it would be foolish for DC to jump right into a Justice League film, especially if the Nolan Batman films aren’t connected to that universe. But, if they can find a way to tie it in, bring Christian Bale to star alongside Henry Cavill’s Superman, bring back Ryan Reynolds to respires his role as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern, and then tie all of that in to CW’s Arrow, then maybe, just maybe, DC might have a shot at a silver lining in all of this mess. One thing is for certain though: Man of Steel has to live up to the hype it’s generated in the last year and a half.
Honestly, you would think that a company like DC, short for Detective Comics–the keyword here being “Detective”–would’ve figured out that the best way to make money at the box office is by releasing films. Short story long, keep an eye out for announcements from the studio in the next few weeks, because there’s a good chance that a DC cinematic universe featuring the Justice League will be greenlit after Man of Steel flies on to the big screen on June 14th.
Do you long for a DC Universe on the big screen? Let us know in the comments below!