When Marvel unveiled Iron Man in 2008, and set pop culture on a course of holding its collective breath for the next film from Marvel. After a few successful outings, namely The Incredible Hulk, Iron man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger, all of which take place within a week of each other, and aiding Marvel in setting up the billion dollar blockbuster that is The Avengers. At this point, someone in DC Comics realized they had missed the boat on this, and needed to kick start their own cinematic universe. The first move, whether or not it was intentional, was Man of Steel, which rebooted the Superman franchise with a heavy dose of reality, a la Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. DC decided to parlay the success of Man of Steel into a full-fledged cinematic universe, but running it backwards, by introducing Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and a few others in one big movie: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Let’s face it, though, if it flops, everything falls down with it.
More worrisome, though, is the threat to the superhero craze that Marvel, DC’s chief rival, has been carefully cultivating and sustaining. Marvel’s steady, but cautious pace, has kept there from being too many superhero films out in a given year, although I probably ignored some of them because I had no interest in them admittedly. In any case, DC entering the arena with a similar game plan as Marvel, we could see some years swamped with superhero films; for instance, next year will have Captain America: Civil War, the aforementioned Batman vs. Superman, and Suicide Squad come out in a four month span. Three films, three massive ensemble films to boot, could overwhelm the market, which is a serious issue considering that DC has films pre-planned until 2021, and Marvel until 2028. It is a fact that every pop culture craze eventually subsides; boy bands, the Latin explosion, the recent teen bop crap that the music industry kept churning out until America finally screamed “NO MORE!!”; the executives at both studios should maybe re-think their strategies, although I doubt that would happen until at least 2018.
However, the market could adapt; fans may embrace the competition and everything will work out fine; maybe Marvel will see their box office returns decrease a little, and DC will have re-adjust their own expectations, but both franchises will flourish. Of course, it makes one wonder what the rest of Hollywood will do in response; will the only superhero films come out of DC and Marvel? The other houses may just merge in with the two of them, creating a dichotomy not unlike our current political system. Maybe major studios will try and create their own original superheroes, although I doubt that given how low originality is on the list of priorities there right now. I’m probably just paranoid because I view the Marvel Cinematic Universe as one of the great filmmaking achievements of our time, and don’t want to see it destroyed because of ripples from its own success.
All this being said, and acknowledging that I’m rambling at this point, I do want to point out the positives of what the future could hold: Suicide Squad looks like it could be great, given that the trailer depicts rough characters with humanity and dignity, and also that the general premise will likely flow directly from Batman vs. Superman, as evidenced by Batman’s apparent presence and IMDB (as of July 18, 2015) having Ben Affleck listed amongst the cast members. Given that the Suicide Squad serves a vital purpose in the DC Universe, it appears like DC is trying to develop and get its priorities right in its fast-tracked development of its cinematic universe. So, I guess there’s some vibes in the approaching comic book film war, but ultimately there’s a risk of everything unravelling; as long as both sides continue to make good movies, though, people will watch them, and that’s what matters.