On Saturday, August 22nd, DC unveiled a new look at two of their hotly-anticipated 2021 titles in Matt Reeves’ The Batman and Zack Snyder’s Justice League, casually known as The Snyder Cut, during the DC Fandome online event. These two monstrous films unveiled by Warner Brothers (which, hilariously enough, both feature a guy dressing up as a bat who ruthlessly beats bad guys to a pulp) got me thinking about the fractured yet wonderful state of the DC universe.
This is a universe that has no doubt taken some hard falls with fans and critics…falls that have left a few gnarly scars. Those faceplants have taught DC some key lessons and given them bumpers for the role that they play within the Hollywood superhero machine. They are back in their mother studio’s (WB) sweet spot, a studio known for building decades-long relationships with some of the best directors in Hollywood history.
And, after the little detour known as Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League, this sweet spot finds itself prioritizing individual stories over paying fealty to a connected universe. See Joker’s massive success for more details.
Unlike the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is beholden to an ungodly amount of storylines and character details, working with DC and Warner Brothers means you can do whatever you want (see Shazam! or Birds of Prey). A director is not beholden to some greater storyline. We can have an emo, ninja-like, detective batman in one universe, and a hulking brute in another and everything is hunky-dory. This is why, personally, I will always be drawn more to the DC universe, warts and all, over Disney’s MCU. There is more room to move and breathe within the universe.
This brings us to the two Batmen (as it were) and their movies coming out next year. On one side of the aisle, we have a crazed Zack Snyder finally getting to realize his comic book drenched vision, and on the other side, we have a modern auteur seemingly redefining the batman legacy in a nuts and bolts detective story. It looks less like a Snyder picture and more like something from Christopher Nolan’s oeuvre – if Nolan was working on a much smaller scale.
Both takes are worlds apart, and both takes I am excited to see (though I am more excited for Reeves’ take than I will ever be for Snyder’s). The beauty of this new, fractured, Frankenstein-like, auteur-driven DC universe is that I get to see Zack Snyder’s testosterone-fueled take on the Justice League – including his bulky-Batman which will satisfy my primal-desires – while simultaneously consuming Reeves’s take – which will most likely engage me intellectually – all in the same year of our Lord 2021. It’s this sweet spot illustrated in two completely different filmic works that have me so excited for the future of DC!
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Carter Bennett is a Contributor and Cohost at Cinematic Doctrine. He’s a ravenous cinephile who loves looking at the film industry through the lens of a Christian worldview. He never went to film school, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a certified Film Junkie! His ultimate desire is to faithfully give an account of his savior Jesus Christ through the world of filmmaking!