On Fixing the DC Cinematic Universe

I am incredibly concerned about the new DC movies. I know, I know, they’ve only had one movie out so far and all we’ve seen are some trailers and photos of the next two, but I think concerns are justified here. For all the articles and comments that circle the drain of “Well, we were wrong about Heath Ledger, so it’s a waste of time to get worried about these!” I die a little inside.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Heath Ledger was a great character in the Dark Knight Trilogy, but the Joker? Not on your life. You know how we’ve been giving credit to Marvel about how much the actors they’ve picked are able to portray pretty comparable versions to the comics? Iron Man is kind of a smarmy a-hole, Captain America is super-righteous, and Thor is an arrogant snot? I love that they do this, and I think most people are on their side there. DC hasn’t learnt this lesson yet, so they’re continuing to go “off-book”. Heath Ledger got a ton of credit for the character he played, but the Joker was not what we saw. First off, I’m a big fan of the juxtaposition between the normally friendly clown and the monster inside. In The Dark Knight, there is just a really scary clown, effectively skipping the classy friendly look. We also got a character who was a psychopath, but not enjoyably insane. There was no giant pie, no flower with acid, no gun with a flag that says “Bang” on it. Again, it’s about the juxtaposition, where nice looking things are deadly and deadly things are harmless.

Tim Burton’s Batman movie got it right. You had a hand buzzer that electrocuted people to death or a gun with a barrel that was absurdly long. Nolan’s movie had a guy who had some jokes (who didn’t laugh during the pencil magic trick?) but he was basically a crazy eccentric. You wipe off the clown paint and you’ve got a completely different character. Joker was always in it for the laughs, but Nolan’s Joker was kind of depressing to me. I feel the same way about Nolan’s Batman, as it was pretty much just a guy in a less effective Iron man suit. Batman was supposed to be a freaking Ninja who swung his way across the city in a nightly patrol. Nolan’s Batman didn’t feel very ninja-y outside of the League of Assassin’s scenes. I enjoyed these movies, but if I’m asked who the best Batman or Joker is, my answer is never going to be Bale or Ledger.

Now that I’ve alienated everyone by laying all my cards on the table, let me go on to suggest a course of action to fix the DC cinematic universe. I’m of the opinion that they’re going the way of Spider-man here. From the look of Leto’s Joker, I’m saying “Spider-man 3” and not “Amazing Spider-man 2”. My fixes would allow the money they’ve spent on the movies to not be lost, but to effectively further the story.

First off, we need re-shoots of Batman v. Superman immediately. We start by fixing every scene to turn “Bruce Wayne” to “Thomas Wayne”. Thomas Wayne was Bruce’s father who died in Crime Alley and set our hero on his path. In this altered version, Thomas survives along with Bruce but his wife is killed causing him to go on the Batman bend. Bruce finds out, becomes Robin (because “reasons”) and is killed in the line of duty and causes Batman (Thomas) to hang up his cape. This would give us a reason for why there is a Robin Costume in the cave, why Batman is so old, and why Batman was gone for a stint. Then we add a scene at the end where Lex Luthor is looking up at his father’s image or at his grave, and it is revealed that his name is Lex Luthor Senior (implying that the one in the upcoming movie is Lex Luthor Jr.).

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This would be enough to generate buzz and interest in the series, because the fanboys will know that we’re viewing an “alternate” Earth. We go through Suicide Squad where the main villain is the Joker who is trying to get his hands on a device that Wayne Corp. built that allows travel to alternate worlds (as a lonely Thomas Wayne wanted to see his family again in another dimension, or some such). Suicide Squad stops him, but he causes damage that destabilizes machine (and the knowledge of it leaks to Luthor, let’s say).

Luthor has escaped the law and is desperate to avoid doing time for his actions, so he breaks into Wayne Corp and begins to mess with the Dimensional Machine Thomas has made. He succeeds in what he is doing, despite the heroes gathering to stop him, and they get transported to Earth One.

Earth One is in the middle of an invasion, and the Earth 2 heroes help out, some of whom eventually sacrifice themselves. Part Two deals with the problem of the machine, and we have a mini-crisis where the two earths merge. We can keep some of the changes (Wonder Woman, some of the Suicide Squad, Aquaman) but we lose “let the children drown” Superman and Thomas Wayne (and most definitely Hot Topic Joker).

Is this idea perfect? Nope, there are a ton of problems and it probably won’t do great, but I have no doubt it will be better received than the mess we’re currently seeing come out of the DC. Please let me know if you have any changes or adjustments you’d make to this plan, or if I’m jumping the DC ship way too early.

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