In less than a week Marvel Studios releases the hotly anticipated Captain America: Civil War. The latest chapter in the Marvelverse saga looks to build on the success of the twelve films that have come before it, and the early word and advance ticket sales guarantee this will be a critical and financial bonanza.
By stark contrast, the DC Movieverse feels stuck in first gear. Batman vs. Superman underwhelmed at the box office while receiving a critical and fan drubbing that threw Warner Brothers plans into chaos. Yesterday it was announced that Seth Grahame-Greene has stepped down from directing duties on The Flash due to “creative differences” with the studio. Meanwhile Birth.Movies.Death is reporting that James Wan is having serious reservations about moving forward with Aquaman.
All of this begs the question why Warner Brothers doesn’t cut their losses and fire Zack Snyder before he sinks their flagship properties any further? After Man of Steel and BvS it’s obvious that Snyder’s vision for these characters does not jive with what fans want to see. Snyder’s vision for Superman contradicts everything that makes the character such a beloved icon. Snyder’s films heap scorn and ridicule on the ideals of heroism while portraying Superman as burdened by his gifts and conflicted as to whether he owes it to help mankind. It wouldn’t be out of line to posit that Snyder flat out hates the character. Why else turn him into such a whining, ineffectual mope after two films?
The Justice League movie is starting to ramp up its production. Warner Brothers hopes that this will serve as the lynchpin film that all future DC films will flow from. However, with Snyder stepping into the director’s chair for the third time while also serving as the overseer onWonder Woman, The Flash, and Aquaman, fan enthusiasm seems to be nil. If Snyder continues to paint the DC world with colorless palette with dour, joyless heroes, it could serve as the death knell for Warner Brothers superhero visions before they ever get a chance to take flight.
Firing Snyder just as Justice League begins filming would throw the picture into chaos, no doubt. Making the move just as Marvel stands poised to shatter box office records with Civil War would be a public relations black eye. But if making the move rights the ship in the long run, then it’s the best move to make. Push the film back and allow Wonder Woman, The Flash and Aquaman to be stand alone films that build to the eventual formation of the Justice League.
As it stands now, DC is a distant second behind Marvel. You could make the case that Fox Studios with the X Men Films and the break out smash that is Deadpool have eclipsed Warner Brothers in the comic book movie wars. While Marvel has Kevin Feige overseeing Marvel’s slate of projects with a steady hand, Warner Brothers backed the wrong horse with Snyder. While I have no idea what it’s like to be in a production meeting with the man, I imagine it involves him doing set after set of deadlifts while shouting Ann Rand quotes. If Warner Brothers wants to have any chance at turning things around, they have to make the bold step to sever ties with a man that has a fundamental misunderstanding about what makes superheroes so iconic and thrilling in the first place.