To say that DC’s films haven’t quite gone according to plan ever since Man of Steel‘s release in 2013, would be an understatement. Both Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad ended up being critical disappointments all the way across the board, with all of this leading to a much-needed change of leadership at Warner Bros. with Geoff Johns and Jon Berg being brought on to be the co-heads of the new DC Films division, overseeing everything in the DCEU moving forwards.
Johns’ effect on the future films is already easy to see as well, with both Justice League and Wonder Woman seeming to adopt much lighter and more well-balanced tones than either of the studio’s 2016 offerings, while still maintaining a similar aesthetic and look.
In their first interview since the major DC shakeup as well, Johns told The Wall Street Journal that making the hope and optimism of their lead heroes central to the universe again is one of their biggest goals moving forwards:
“[I]n the past, I think the studio has said, ‘Oh, DC films are gritty and dark and that’s what makes them different.’ That couldn’t be more wrong. It’s a hopeful and optimistic view of life. Even Batman has a glimmer of that in him. If he didn’t think he’d make tomorrow better, he’d stop.”
Berg went on to admit that those changes are going to be seen immediately in Zack Snyder’s Justice League as well, with the executive confirming that the disappointing reactions to Batman v Superman:
“accelerated the [Justice League] story to get to the hope and optimism a little faster.”
In addition, that film will also:
“directly address Batman’s extreme actions in [Batman v Superman], such as torturing criminals and nearly killing the Man of Steel, rather than accept them as par for the course.”
That’s dangerous ground to walk down again, after Batman v Superman adopted a similar approach to Superman’s actions in Man of Steel and well, we saw how that went. Though with Batman, and his brutality in the previous film, I think it may be necessary here.
Johns won’t just be overseeing the films though, as he’ll also be directly involved in a number of them as well including co-writing Ben Affleck’s solo Batman movie, and also providing a script rewrite on Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman. This was all done in the hopes of, according to Johns, putting a real focus on their DC heroes and the soul of the characters themselves:
“We’re trying to take a really hard look at everything to make sure we stay true to the characters and tell stories that celebrate them.”
As far as I’m concerned, I think Johns was someone who should have had this level of involvement in the DC films from the very beginning, though I guess this is all better late than never. You don’t have to look much farther than his work on DC Rebirth for proof that he understands what these adaptations should be like, and I look forward to hopefully seeing some much-needed change in the DCEU moving forwards under his leadership now.
Justice League is set to hit theatres on November 17th, 2017.
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