The Marvel and DC Super(hero) Timeline
In the last decade some of my best memories in theatres revolve around superheroes. Be it the chills I got when The Joker owned Batman or the rush Robert Downey Jr. gave in the Iron Man movies. Clearly the announcement by Marvel and DC about the movies they have planned for the next 5 years excited me. The arsenal of superheroes that they have got at their disposal is massive and it looks like they want to use every one of them. But was it actually the best move by the two comic worlds? Not quite. Here’s why : First of all, both Marvel and DC have gone overboard on mapping out their strategy for the next few years. Movies like ‘The Nolan Batman trilogy’ and Avengers have garnered immense profits for the producers and this has made them use up every major super hero and plan it in a span of 5 years. Starting from Age of Ultron to Green Lantern, we could be seeing up to 30 movies by 2020. The biggest question is what if the audience hits a saturation point? True, every single movie in the last few years has had a completely different story line and were equally engrossing. But I highly doubt that we would be able to digest so many extravagant fight scenes and repetitive patterns in the next few years. Taking the projects one by one, or one story line at a time (be it a shared universe or not) as they have had could be more effective as they can analyse viewer reactions and plan movies accordingly. Now despite what the reactions are, they have an incredible time table to stick to.
Secondly, they have heavily banked on the success of the forthcoming films. In the past DC suffered with regards to viewership due to terrible movies like Jonah Hex and Catwoman. It took a Christopher Nolan to revive interest in the comic universe. Similarly, until a super stylish Tony Stark and insane graphics from Avengers arrived, Marvel was all but dead. The only way they could hold on to interest was through their animated series. But now the success of Cyborg and Green Lantern depend on how good the Justice League movie was and the Infinity War movies depend on the performances of Thor and Captain America movies. This isn’t me saying that they wouldn’t do well enough but merely pointing out that this was a humongous gamble on their part. Marvel managed to make us hold on to the edge of our seats not only till the credits rolled, but even after. Though it has been criticized for over use, the post-credits scenes have been a huge success story for Marvel. The fact that we got small hints on what to expect at the end of each movie made the movies all the more interesting. None of us had any idea that there would be a Thor movie until we saw a hammer in the desert at the end of Iron Man 2. Now that they have announced what to expect when, the entire suspense and excitement is lost. This won’t be a major blow but definitely nullifies something that I enjoyed.
Finally, with regards to the cast of the movies, yet another gamble has been made. The recent success of both the comic powerhouses was majorly because they had made fantastic casting choices. No more seeing George Clooney do the worst Batman ever or Eric Bana struggle to be Bruce Banner. The smart choices have continued with regards to the forthcoming films. The cast for suicide squad has generated a lot of interest with Jared Leto (Joker), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Will Smith (Deadshot) and Tom Hardy (Rick Flag) roped in. Personally I feel the cast selection has been stellar especially with regards to Jared Leto. He has proven to be the perfect person to play the maniacal clown. Other interesting choices have been Benedict Cumberbatch for Doctor Strange and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Black Adam. Now where does this all go wrong? Marvel and DC have already signed up actors for movies for which the production isn’t going to happen for a considerable amount of time (in the case of Dwayne Johnsons’ Shazam). Continuing on the logic of the previous issue, this seems to be risky when the success of the films depend upon its predecessors. With the entire story not being completed for most films, the casting seems to be quite a rash decision. At the end of all this I sincerely hope that these problems pose no threat to the quality of the movies and they continue to entertain me like they have done all through my childhood.