Warner Bros is trying to regain lost ground, and it’s working so far. After the debacle of BvS and the tonally messy Justice League, a shift has happened, and now, DC films are looking very different. After the recent Oscar wins for Joker, is it likely that the WB will continue to delve deeper into the weird, one-off films that give directors and writers a bit more freedom? With Shazam 2 on the way, Wonder Woman 1984 getting closer by the day, and the new Matt Reeves’ Batman movie already starting to drop teaser footage, what does the future of the DC universe look like?
Wonder Woman 1984
This is the film that will give some clues about the future direction of the WB/DC plan. Still regarded as one for the better DC films of recent years, despite that clunky CGI-loaded third act, Wonder Woman has consistently been the best part of the DC output for a few years now. Even her appearance in Dawn of Justice wasn’t totally horrible. Director Patty Jenkins clearly has a lot of love and respect for the character, certainly more than Snyder or Whedon ever had, and that bodes well for 1984.
As shown in the research conducted by CashLady, Batman films are among the most popular in the world. The hype has already started, and poor Robert Pattinson is once again being tormented on all sides by fans and journalists. You’d think he’d have had enough of massive franchises after Harry Potter and Twilight, but he’s already donned the Batsuit and started getting in shape. This is the film that is most likely to confuse general audiences. They’re inevitably going to ask where Batfleck is, or why Aquaman doesn’t show up. This standalone film (for now) has a great cast, including Colin Farrell and Zoe Kravitz, and with Reeves hot off the back his Planet of the Apes films, there’s a lot to look forward to for fans of the caped crusader.
Repercussions of Joker
The success of Joker must have taken WB and DC by surprise. Not only did it make over a billion dollars, with MarketWatch confirming that it’s the first R-rated film to do so, it also earned two Oscars (and was nominated for eleven!). While that’s great news for everyone involved in the film, and for every fan that loved it, the worry is that WB will take that as a sign that they need to keep doing the same. There are already rumors that director Todd Phillips is planning to sign up for a sequel for what was supposed to be a standalone film. Other rumors are circulating that WB is looking at making origin story films for more of Batman’s rogue’s gallery, with Mr. Freeze and Scarecrow both being mentioned more often than not.
As the DCEU looks like it’s dropped Batfleck, and Henry Cavill’s Superman remains in limbo, the next big impact is going to be The Rock’s Black Adam or James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. How the mess that is the DCEU will attract casual moviegoers is yet to be seen, but WB keeps making missteps. Let’s hope that as they move forward, we see more originality, more consistency, and more trust in the creative process.