Blog: Ashley digs deeper into the State of the DCEU – DC Comic Book Movies

The Story Geeks blogger Ashley Pauls responds with an additional perspective to the same topic discussed in this week’s podcast – the DC Cinematic Universe. Want to share your own take? Join the conversation in The Story Geeks Facebook group!

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What is the best DC film?

For me, this one’s easy — it’s “Wonder Woman,” no contest. “Wonder Woman” is not only my favorite DC film, it’s one of my favorite films, period. I could fill up an entire blog post describing why I love it so much, but it really comes down to what an inspiring movie this is. As a female geek, I loved seeing a female hero who wasn’t sexualized starring in her own film and saving the day with both courage and compassion. And I loved, loved, loved the dynamic between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor. Not only do Gal Gadot and Chris Pine have great chemistry in this film, their characters work so well together. Their romance felt natural and authentic, and I appreciated the mutual respect that developed between them.

What was the most disappointing DC film?

While I did feel let down by “Justice League,” the most disappointing DC film for me was “Suicide Squad.” The trailers for this movie looked so awesome, and it seemed like this was going to be a really quirky, dark, and exciting film. I was so hyped, but I walked out of the theater feeling really deflated. What made “Suicide Squad” more disappointing for me was that it had so much potential that it just didn’t take advantage of. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn was a fascinating character and a definite highlight of the film; she just deserved a better film surrounding her.

Who had the best character arc?

Hmm… I’m tempted to say Wonder Woman here, because “Wonder Woman” is my favorite DC film. Yet as the Story Geeks crew mentioned in the podcast, Wonder Woman doesn’t have the most dramatic character arc; she starts off the movie being awesome and also ends the movie by being awesome. 😉 I’m actually going to go with Ben Affleck’s Batman on this one, but with one caveat. We need to see more of his arc. There are still plenty more stories to tell with this version of the character, and I really hope we get to see them. They took a risk with Affleck’s casting and by choosing to give us a more grizzled, world-weary version of the character. However, it really pays off. Christian Bale is probably my favorite Bruce Wayne, but Affleck is actually my favorite Batman.

Are you excited for the new Wonder Woman and Joker movies?

For “Wonder Woman 1984”? Absolutely! All I had to hear was that Patty Jenkins was on board, and Gal Gadot and (spoiler alert!) Chris Pine were returning. 😉 While I’m looking forward to hearing more plot details as the film gets closer (I’m still a little bummed that it was pushed to 2020), I’m already excited to see whatever they choose to do with this film. I’m also glad it’s not being set in present day, because the WWI setting was one of the most interesting parts about the original “Wonder Woman.” I’m curious to see the Cold War tie-ins in “Wonder Woman 1984.” As for the Joaquin Phoenix Joker movie…it’s one I’ll probably end up seeing, but I’m not as interested in it. While I think the Joker is a great villain, I’m not really a fan of him, personally. I don’t really like the character, and I don’t really want to see a film focused entirely on him. I’d much rather see him as a foil for Batman than have a solo film. But again, that’s just my personal preference, and I’m excited that there’s starting to be some buzz around this project, for those who are fans.

What other potential/proposed DC films are you most excited for?

Even though I said “Suicide Squad” was my most disappointing DC film, I would be game for the sequel if the rumors about James Gunn being hired for the project are true. I have mixed feelings about Gunn’s departure from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The tweets he was fired for were genuinely offensive, but I do believe that people can change. Gunn appears to have done that, and I think he deserves a second chance. The “Suicide Squad” sequel could be a perfect opportunity for him. Beyond that, I still really want a solo Batman film starring Ben Affleck. And if it really does end up being directed by Matt Reeves (who also directed the excellent and sometimes underrated Planet of the Apes reboot), I’m even more on board.

Do you think the DCEU is unfairly criticized? Or is that valid?

The DCEU has taken a lot of heat from fans and critics. Some of that is fair, and some of it isn’t. “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” received a lot of criticism, but its strengths haven’t always been acknowledged. Although the plot was messy and it’s best we don’t bring up a certain scene involving “Martha,” there are some great parts in that movie, particularly the scenes involving Batfleck and Wonder Woman. The DCEU has had a trickier time finding its footing than a certain other major superhero cinematic universe. However, there are plenty of good stories left to tell. I hope the movies can continue to find their own unique voice. “Wonder Woman” was most definitely a step in the right direction, and while I haven’t yet seen “Aquaman,” hopefully it is too.