I know this is going to sound like fanboy wrangling but the signs do not look good.
Batman v Superman looks to be a moneymaker - and good on them - but the reviews - mirrored by my own opinion - were terrible. It was a grey, grim humorless experience with only a few truly good bits and a thorough misunderstanding of what makes its characters great.
Still, it ain’t gonna generate Avengers money. Heck, this year’s Deadpool - a movie that DOES understand comic books and humor - might even pass it once all the overseas returns are in.
Now there are reports that Warner Brothers is considering a change in tone for their movies. Maybe good, maybe bad. It depends on what lessons have been learned.
I would imagine WB will do exactly what their comic book counterparts did in the 70s: Hire writers and directors of successful Marvel properties. When they nixed a Wonder Woman proposal from Joss Whedon, he turned around, went to Disney-Marvel, and made the first billion-dollar movie in history. I think they’ll take his next proposal a little more seriously. And if WB hasn’t sent Jon Favreau a fruit basket lately, this might be a good time to do so!
Superman and Batman are two of the most popular characters on the planet. Superman especially. You can show the S symbol to anyone at random in the world and there are good odds they will know what it is. Because of this there will literally always be a new Superman or Batman movie at some stage of development at all times. Will it be in his current continuity? Probably not (most likely Justice League or the stand alone Batman movie will be the end of this current Continuity) but there will be another Superman movie after that at some point. Hopefully made by someone who understands and has affection for the character unlike Snyder (and I say that as someone who liked Batman v Superman).
BATMAN V SUPERMAN is currently ahead by more than a hundred million dollars, and as far as I can tell there’s only one country where DEADPOOL hasn’t yet hit theaters. That seems like a lot to pin a “might” on.
I don’t understand this obsession with having ‘humor’ in these movies. Comics, by and large, aren’t humorous. They’re soap operas. Barring a few exceptions (Deadpool being one) they’re melodramatic as hell. Why translating that to the screen is seen as some kind of misunderstanding of the genre, I just don’t get.
Silly hasn’t been the dominant tone in 30 - 40 years, though. Even the goofier premises have become more grounded in ‘plausibility’ or given more significant stakes. I’m not seeing how ‘action comedy,’ needs to be the default mode for these adaptations, or why they’re doing it wrong if they’re not.
There’s a couple different responses, but let me explain why some actual humor is so important: Because without it, the end result is a grim, painful experience[.
People use humor for a variety of reasons. They use humor when nervous, frightened, tense, or anxious. The movie doesn’t need to be a laugh-riot. But without some relief, the characters aren’t acting plausibly and the audience has no emotional escape valve. Additionally, humor can relieve the intellectual tension that accompanies some of the odder parts of the superheroic genre, though this isn’t remotely limited to that genre.
Let me point out that in the Justice League cartoon series, even Batman, possibly the grimmest depiction few the character ever, was able to deliver some good zingers and tolerated being the occasional butt of the joke. More to the point, the show understood how to use the contrast between characters or situations as an implicit joke. Sure, not everything was funny. But humor is part of being human. Even humans who fight supervillains while dressed in a batsuit.
As for DC movie universe, I have no idea where they can possibly go from here.
The 90’s Justice League of America – Guy Gardner, Gnort, Fire and Ice, Manga Khan – were some of the wittiest damn comics ever. They were still heroic, and still melodramatic, but they incorporated witty banter and wry humor.
Shortly after Superman “died” and came back, Booster Gold and The Blue Beetle were about to take on a risky assignment. One of them said, “We could get killed! Whatever that means.”
(And Batman taking out Guy Gardner with one punch! Comedy classic!)
Obviously, a good thing can be taken too far…but not having any humor at all makes a comic book – or superhero movie – stultifying.
The trailer for The Suicide Squad shows a sensibility that gives me hope that there’s more to it than doom and gloom. To a certain extent some of that may be the downstream effect of Guardians of the Galaxy - the Queen in the trailer sure smacks of that - but it seems to imply that they’re trying to improve on what both Man of Steel and BvS lacked.
Respect the characters and their history
Tell a good story
Don’t take it too seriously
This ain’t War and Peace or The Great Gatsby, here. These are, in the end, simple moralistic tales of right and wrong, good vs evil.
It doesn’t really matter. Super hero movies are not made for comic book fans, there are almost none of those left. They are made for super hero movie fans, and they prefer movies that understand how goofy the whole thing is and go with it.