Earlier this week, DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns gave an interview admitting that the current DC Extended Universe won’t be a rigid continuity like its arch-rival, Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nelson said:
“Our intention, certainly, moving forward is using the continuity to help make sure nothing is diverging in a way that doesn’t make sense, but there’s no insistence upon an overall story line or interconnectivity in that universe. Moving forward, you’ll see the DC movie universe being a universe, but one that comes from the heart of the filmmaker who’s creating them.”
Geoff Johns further added about the creativity of the filmmaker involved rather than over-used theme of an inter-connected universe. A profound problem that looms over the current superhero industry. Johns added:
“Some of the movies do connect the characters together, like Justice League. But, like with Aquaman, our goal is not to connect Aquaman to every movie. The movie’s not about another movie.”
However, the news of a sparsely inter-connected universe didn’t seem to settle well with fans and critics round the globe. While DC’s arch-rival Marvel has banked its entire success on the inter-connected Marvel Cinematic Universe, the news of DCEU approaching an entirely different manner has surprised many. But, Geoff Johns cleared the speculation of a shared universe, or lack thereof, on twitter.
It 100% is. pic.twitter.com/CIxSh59x1r
— Geoff Johns (@geoffjohns) October 1, 2017
Earlier this year, director Matt Reeves announced that his take on The Batman would be a stand-alone approach instead of a movie which relies heavily on a shared universe. But soon enough, he cleared the air by tweeting The Batman would obviously be a part of the DCEU.
The news of a less rigid shared universe might sound unsettling for now, but a bit of introspection would actually help in taking this sign as a good omen. The multi-billion industry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has relied heavily on inter-connectivity of every film and numerous post-credit scenes. A shared universe bestows a prominent effect on every single movie. Nevertheless, the downside is hard to be neglected. For a system to work flawlessly, each and every part of it is to be fleshed out with immaculate precision. To carry out the task of joining seemingly disjoint movies is a Herculean task in itself. Often resulting in the creation of a new problem which the successful Marvel Cinematic Universe undeniably suffers from; becoming generic. While a lot of fans might not share this sentiment, but lately, Marvel movies have been becoming frustratingly generic.
One might argue about the churning out of generic movies by the Marvel juggernaut. Yet a deeper introspection makes the case even more unsettling. Take the case of the very first Marvel movie, Iron Man (2008). Excluding Richard Donner’s Superman and Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, the first Iron Man movie is considered a gold standard. A gem, when it comes to superhero-origin movies. Similarly, James Gunn’s Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 1 and Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man are considered as one of the finest superhero-movies which balances humour, sentimentality and action with precision. The common factor between all these movies is the lack of an impeding weight of the shared universe.
Instead of focusing on continuity, these movies focus on linear and cohesive plots devoid of other characters of the universe. Considering the case of Deadpool, a R-rated movie which smashed records throughout the globe. It led the path for Logan, which didn’t really care much about continuity and the shared universe of X-Men.
So is it good news or bad news?
It’s almost impossible to make a compelling case against the generic movies churned out by Marvel. Considering the profits they rake in every year, it’s hard to point out flaws. Yet movies like Deadpool, Logan and Wonder Woman have a refreshing take on the superhero-industry and hardly can one sweep their success under the rug. It is better not to limit one’s abilities to suit the universe envisaged by a single creative head. A good filmmaker serves better when allowed to use his/her own creativity to present a movie. Even if it means replacing a time-tested formulaic Captain America : Civil War with a polarizing Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice.