DC: How To Fix The Movie Problem

Batman & Superman illustrated by Alex Ross
Batman & Superman illustrated by Alex Ross

DC has been trying for a while now to roll in other heroes to compete with the movie dynamo that has become The Avengers. They are still sticking to the game though, and are set to come out with The Dark Knight Rises this summer and Man of Steel sometime in 2013. Ultimately we’re wondering where DC is going with all this. If DC is going to succeed in the box office, their best play might be The World’s Finest. Here’s how.

Batman/Superman: Public Enemies, written by Jeph Loeb III, is a reboot of the classic World’s Finest title featuring Batman and Superman teaming up for the first time to combat President Lex Luthor. The Avengers has taught us a lot about how to make this happen, and I do believe a lot of their lessons learned can help bring this along.

Here are some lessons learned from The Avengers franchise:

  • Introduce us to stories, not characters
  • Quality Control, take direct production control
  • Synergy

First off, this isn’t a one shot and done solution. This will need a longer wind up, but the good news is that if we’re only working with two characters it’s not as long a wait. Moreover the story can’t end with Public Enemies, but more on how that can happen later.

To start this off there must be another Batman and another Superman movie. This shouldn’t be that big of a twist for DC because Christopher Nolan has already stated that The Dark Knight Rises is his last Batman movie, so DC might as well try a new direction. A plot for that movie might feature a threat against Gotham that forces Bruce Wayne’s hand to work with Lex Luthor; either engineered by Luthor or some other outside force. Foreshadowing is then made to show Luthor poising for an election campaign and that for his help Wayne is to help contribute.

Man of Steel has a lot of promise on it, but being as we haven’t seen it yet, the jury is out on how they are making it and how or if it will dovetail into making a franchise. My best hope is that it will pave the way for another movie; one that can help set up or establish Luthor as president. A possible plot might start with Luthor’s campaign in the gutter and have Luthor create a scheme to garner him good press and polarize voters to his side.

Through all this DC needs to be indie. Like how Marvel Studios took control over The Avengers, DC needs to have some liberty over how these moves get done. That means all the big choices go straight through the creative talent at DC. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see folks like Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, or Dan Didio rolling in credits?

Next step is to work the ground control, and what’s going on with DC between the movies. In short, I strongly believe in bringing back The Justice League animated franchise. Potentially one of the greatest animated franchises of all time, spanning almost half a dozen shows for over a decade, this should be the key foot soldier in keeping the fans. Comic tie-ins and merchandise can all come right behind it.

A neat idea might be something like a viral campaign by Luthor for president, and fans’ job might be to participate in a game featuring activities hosted secretly by Batman that help hinder Luthor. This game could be referenced as the reason Luthor’s campaign is in the gutter at the start of the Superman movie.

Next big step is making sure the ball keeps rolling and to keep the story kicking. Public Enemies was a great step up for a Darkseid introduction, and helped introduce many other villains and heroes. Public Enemies would need to be peppered with all sorts of nuggets to have fans buzzing about potential movies. Better still, Batman and Superman could be then inspired to create a Justice League in the story’s aftermath.

ATTN Gail Simone: Wouldn’t this be an awesome shot at doing something like a hybridized Suicide Squad/Secret Six story? We technically already have an Amanda Waller floating about… and should be brought back in for her part in Public Enemies

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Alex Añé

I am a geek, writer, web developer and avid comic book fan.

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