A Pessimistic Look at the “Worlds of DC” Direction

I was never a fan of the name, “DC Extended Universe.” I understand the idea of calling it that to make it a part of a grander entity. But to me, the name was irksome as the name itself signified that it wants to be connected to the greater universe DC has created with the comics. It makes it sound like it desperately wants to be part of something bigger instead of being its own thing. It turns out that the “DC Extended Universe” slogan wasn’t coined by DC or Warner Bros. but by the greater Internet populace. It was just adopted and it became the standard name of the masses and DC just didn’t bother to correct them.

During the recent Comic-Con event, DC opened up their DC Films with the phrase “Welcome to the Worlds of DC.” Fans immediately took this to mean that the “DC Extended Universe” name was being killed off, so to speak. Fans postulated that DC was finally going to give their films the official moniker of “Worlds of DC” and immediately theorized that this naming convention would symbolize a new rebirth for the DC movies, which fans have been clamoring since the abysmal Justice League live-action film. In actuality, DC never said that they were calling the movies “Worlds of DC.” It was just a line of text that appeared during the Comic-Con panel. Nothing more.

Note the lack of quotation marks to signify an official title.

Even with this revelation, fans can’t help but speculate that this does signify a turning point for the DC film franchises. It does help that the trailers for Shazam! and Aquaman did look good as they apparently got the tone right. Also, there’s also some speculation that DC will go a different direction from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and concentrate on more standalone films, such as the upcoming multiple Joker films that are rumored to be in the works, that do not have any connection to the current DC movie continuity. This will supposedly allow filmmakers to be more creative as they don’t have to follow any rules of continuity and this allows the possibility for Elseworlds stories to be made into feature length films.

I do admire their optimism in this regard but there are always two sides to the coin. So, while many other websites regale the possible positive outcomes of the “Worlds of DC” theory, let me delve into the predominant side of my personality and tell you the pessimistic future of the “World of DC” film franchise.

First off, it’s easy to say that the trailers for Aquaman and Shazam! look good and, yes, I will agree with you on that. The Aquaman movie appears to be telling Geoff Johns’ “Throne of Atlantis” storyline, with Orm/Ocean Master waging war on the surface world. From what I understand, that story was great. However, after watching the Shazam! trailer, I will say I am looking forward to that a lot more since it looks like it got the feels right. I mean, it captured the right kind of emotion that any kid would have if they all of a sudden got superpowers!

The most important thing is these films seem to ditch the entire “grimdark” tone that started with Man of Steel and has plagued the DC movies ever since. Even Wonder Woman, which everyone, including myself, adored still had that rather muted color palette throughout most of the film. I get that the scenes in Paradise Island/Themyscira were bright and colorful and the toned down colors were used to show the horrors of war. Still, that does mean that the film was mostly dark, right?

But back to the Aquaman and Shazam! trailers. Yes, the trailers looked good and they made the film look like they’re going to be great. You know what other DC film had a funny and bright trailer but failed to deliver? Suicide Squad. Everyone had high hopes for Suicide Squad because of the first trailer. It really looked like the movie was going to fun, containing some smart jokes and cool action. Then the actual film was released and, to everyone’s disappointment, it sucked hard! This does prove that DC can produce a good looking trailer that can make a terrible movie look good. I’m really worried that this may be the case for Aquaman and Shazam!

Another way the Internet is giving a positive spin on the “Worlds of DC” so-called announcement is the possibility DC will bring some of the Elseworlds stories to the big screen. Or, at the least, Elseworld-like tales that are not connected to the main DC movie universe. For those who haven’t the foggiest about Elsewords, I take it you’re not comic book fans. Well, simply put, the Elseworlds are stories involving DC’s popular superheroes that fall outside the official continuity. Think of them as “What If” scenarios. DC dabbled with imaginary stories in the past, being one-off stories, such as what would happen if Thomas and Martha Wayne found baby Kal-El’s ship instead of Johnathan and Martha Kent. But later on, more mature stories like Kingdom Come and Superman: Red Son were being published by DC. And comic book fans ate them up.

Hardcore DC comics fans dream of seeing these epic and more adult stories come to the big screen in one form or another. But for the regular Joe moviegoer, they don’t care! In fact, it may just confuse the heck out of them! Oh, people who read Gotham by Gaslight would love a live-action version of that story, with the dark mystery, the grisly murders and all that but the “normal” person who’s has no idea about the prolific comic won’t!¬†Would they understand the story where Batman goes hunting for Jack the Ripper in a Victorian aged version of Gotham? They’ll just wonder what the heck is going on!

Also, the idea that they’ll just make various stories without any relevance to any continuity, well, they’ve been doing that for the longest time already! None of the previous Superman movies had any connection with the Batman flicks. In fact, that’s precisely the reason why the folks at Marvel seemed to be these great geniuses that figured out that having one long-running continuity with characters that would cross over to other films would be fantastic! That was something that hadn’t been done before, which is why that iconic rotating shot of all of the Avengers showing up in the film is so memorable! Seeing all these heroes that came from different movies in one scene was unheard of before! It may seem like DC is “trying their own thing” by doing the opposite of what Marvel did but that’s old news!

But the biggest problem regarding the entire “Worlds of DC” scenario is the people at DC aren’t acknowledge it. What I mean is that it’s like business as usual and they are not acknowledging the missteps of the past. Comic-Con was the perfect opportunity for DC to admit that, yes, their films left much to be desired. They’ve learned their lesson and they’re going to show that the “DC Extended Universe” that we know is now in the past and they’re moving forward with “Worlds of DC.” Heck, they still haven’t given an official name to their movie continuity!

This is why fans were so excited for “Worlds of DC.” Fans thought it was a promise of a brighter future instead of the grimdark movies DC has made so far. They have to acknowledge that most of their previous outings were not up to snuff and reassure fans that they’ll do better. We thought “Worlds of DC” was that promise but it wasn’t; it was just fans grasping at straws.

Oh, and Titans looks awful. That’s proof enough that DC still needs to learn from its mistakes.

What do you think of the entire “Worlds of DC” situation? Do you think DC will do better in the future? Let me know in the comments section below!

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