I don’t really read comic books. They don’t appeal to me that much and most of the few that I have read are of the French “Asterix et Obelix” issues. But I have seen quite a few movies based on comic books and even though I don’t feel like I know the universes just because I have seen a few films, I definitely recognize how rich and artful the stories can be. The DC cinematic universe Is quite Versatile; most of the films might be superhero films but there are many films that are more dramatic in nature and show the true potential of comic book storytelling. Films like “V for Vendetta” “Constantine” “Road to Perdition” “A History of Violence” in my opinion show a great potential for expansion in their universe.
But of course when one thinks DC there are two franchises that always come to mind: Superman, and Batman. Superman started the comic book movie genre with “Superman” in 1978, even though it wasn’t the first one to come out. It was very good for its time and only after it came out did people start to see comic books as a viable source material to adapt movies from. Today it might seem very outdated and disjointed as a film but after 35 years it still manages to bring a smile and some thrills on my face especially when Superman flies through the air with John Williams’ game changing score. The next installments each had an exponential growth of sequelitis that eventually led to the horrible “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace”. They tried to make things right with “Superman Returns” but it didn’t really take off. Now with “Man of Steel” being the new version sadly there hasn’t been a Superman movie so far to really satisfy the fans that much.
Now Batman is another story. Superman was the only superhero on the big screen until Batman came along and took over the DC universe. Tim Burton, at the time was perfect for the job because his gothic style perfectly matched the character of Batman and it made for a very fun movie to watch. That was until the franchise suddenly gave the reins to Joel Schumacher. Anyone who has seen the two Schumacher Batman films knows exactly what went wrong. What to do now? Reboot it of course. That’s when Christopher Nolan Came along and gave everyone, fans and casual viewers, the franchise that no one knew they wanted. Tim Burton’s Batman was pretty well received by most fans so they didn’t really request anything better but when Nolan gave us the Dark Knight trilogy everyone praised him as a god. And he truly deserves all the praise because he kept DC alive. “The Dark Knight” is the Cadillac of comic book movies and whether you prefer Marvel or DC you have to admit that it still is a fair fight to put “The Dark Knight” against any Marvel movie.
So is batman the only thing that holds DC high enough? I am going to say no but even if the answer was yes I still think that “The Dark Knight” alone would be enough to keep DC at a close race with Marvel (At least up until now). So what else does DC have to offer? Well as I said before there are some very unique films like “V for Vendetta” and “Road to Perdition”. They stand alone and luckily they are good enough to be considered when listing worthy entries, but my favorite of the onetime films has to be “Watchmen”; a film that I think doesn’t get enough credit for how artistic it is, and gets way too much heat just for showing Dr Manhattans genitalia (something that Marvel Studios wouldn’t have the balls to do –No pun intended-).
DC movies are overall a great treasure to exist. Superman has some interesting entries, and hopefully soon some satisfying ones, Batman absolutely steals the show even though he does have simultaneously the best and worst movie of the universe, and each one of the one off movies is just as good as the next. Let’s just hope that the new Superman, Batman crossover film will do justice to both characters and finally put the actual “universe” on track.