5 Things The DCEU Could Learn From ‘Justice League’

13514252_10154312066042427_1206414734_nSo far the DC Extended Universe on whole has been met with mediocre critical reception and while I enjoy the films and even wrote an editorial detailing 5 Great Elements in ‘Batman V. Superman’, I still think that the DCEU could use some improvements. When looking at ways to improve there is a series that captured the hearts and minds of a generation of DC fans and gave them a perfect adaptation. The Animated ‘Justice League’ series is an achievement in making a series filled with action, humor, depth, and emotion while simultaneously maintaining a level of quality and entertainment. With the recent ‘Justice League’ film news this week some of these traits may be carrying over, so for the sake of striving for  continued improvement here are 5 things that the DCEU can learn from Justice League.


Christian Michael Stoic

Christian Michael Stoic

Christian Michael Stoic is a writer, filmmaker, and comic lover from Los Angeles, CA. Heroic Hollywood is his introduction into the world of Journalism which...

  • LupeX

    We re entering a very pivotal time in the comicbook movie boom and I fear that this moment will mark the beginning of the end of an era. EVERY SINGLE THING YOU MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE ALL WAYS TO MAKE A MCU SUPERHERO FILM!!!
    If we do not reward films for being different and unique and not being formulaic, if we force funnel them down a preconceived path, the end result will be a host of generic predictable films with little to separate them. They will loose their novelty and the industry will fade away and the boom will bust.
    Personally I don’t think levity & humor are a prerequisite for movie greatness. maybe it’s just me but WATCHMEN, TDK Trilogy, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, 12 years A Slave, The Usual Suspects, Mad Max etc. are not humorous films. Some of them are flat out sombre grim tales, they may not be Avengers/AntMan/GotG but yet they are timeless classics.
    Team building is fine, but it is not the focus of epic storytelling. The great stories like Homer’s The Illiad focused on large life scaled themes rather than team building and personal interactions. Those sort of epics stand the test of time, they speak to existential issues and things that exist in a place larger than our lives.
    Batman killing in Batman V Superman was not change for the sake of change. It was the heart of the story. It was the emotion of the tale and it was a beautiful powerful story. Even the best of us can fall, but we can rise again. For anyone that’s ever made a mistake, this is a powerful tale. Id rather have my heroes fallable while showing me that true heroism is how you respond to your transgressions, rather than caricatures who never do any wrong. There’s nothing to learn or identify with a Superhero who’s always perfect apart from that theyr cool and awesome and great.
    I appreciate the heart of this article but I ultimately think it encourages a dangerous mindset for comicbook films. The thesis is simply – follow the MCU film formula, dont be unique. i dont want to see the superhero genre without the diversity that the more serious and challenging DCEU films (so far) bring, and I dont want a world in which being creative and unique is shunned.

    • Fenix

      “Powerful tale” “more challenging”…yeah, ok…

      • LupeX

        yes, how is that hard to see? :/
        Challenging – serious, no laughs, full of powerful emotions like hate and fear and grief and pain, no levity to escape the emotions it conveys, dealing with complex themes and drawing from contrasting pools of philosophy including Greek mythology, Judeo-Christianity, Nitsche,
        Powerful tale – dealing with the epic themes of human existence. I mean look at Batman, Superman and Lex Luthor’s character arcs in light of the political atmosphere and epic battle for the soul of our nations right now?
        Lex Luthor’s response to the darkness of the World was to become a villain
        Batman, once a good man, allowed fear and hate to consume him and he “fell”
        Superman’s response was the right one, he determiend to be a hero despite the darkness of the World around him.
        in this time when everyone is scared of terrorists we can go down a path of hate and vengeance or choose to be like Superman and stay good.

        I can understand that you didnt like BvS from your tone, that’s fine. But to deny that BvS was ambitious (even if it wasn’t successful to you) is to deny yourself a beautiful truth. No need to hate all the way through.

        • Marquis de Sade

          LOL! Bruh, you are sooooo over-thinkin’ bvs.

          • LupeX

            and ont he other side of the coin. Bruh you’re not thinking about it enough lol
            BvS is a film that is obviously made for critical thinking. Like it’s so blatant.

          • Marquis de Sade


          • LupeX

            But bruh! Bruuuuuuuuh

          • Marquis de Sade

            We should produce a documentary and call it MARVEL ZOMBIES vs. DC FANGURLZ: A TALE OF 2 BRUHS!

          • LupeX

            It will be amazing. To really discover what makes those two groups tick

      • xxjinzaxx

        You know what would enhance your perspective in a fun way…if you’re open to it, of course. I recommend playing Xenogears and the rest of the Xenosaga series. You’ll understand what homeboy is talking about in regards to taking challenges that go beyond the typical.

    • flavortang

      True, but the problem is that these characters are so steeped in the public consciousness that deviating from the pre-conceived notions people have of them instantly turns them off. That is sad.

      For Marvel, they have an easy out because the majority of the public had little to no exposure to their characters prior to the launch of the film universe, so you could have them do whatever you wanted and no one would question it.

      I’m of two minds on this issue because I thoroughly enjoyed MoS and BvS, but I understand the larger movie-going public’s issues with them. If WB goes down a slightly lighter path with the DCEU from here on out, I’d be fine with it because I already got three movies that were steeped in the grounded, Frank Miller-esque nihilism. Now we can deviate a little and see the brighter side of the DCEU without losing the potency of the dramatic arcs.

      • xxjinzaxx

        Wow, dude. You nailed it. Innocent ignorance helped Marvel do whatever it pleased. You can’t hold anyone accountable if you don’t know what their transgressions are. Maybe except for the X-Men movie, but since it was the only X-Men movie in town, you took it for its worth.

        The only frame of reference that existed prior to the MCU were other DC films, which pretty much had the formula Marvel is following now, sans Nolan films.

        I am with you. I enjoy watching Superman and Batman take themselves seriously, because even in the cartoons and comic books, they took themselves seriously. Except for those times the crossed over with the loony tunes. 😉

      • LupeX

        You raise great points however if people look with more perception, they would see that the heroes in MoS & BvS are not different from what their iconic core is.
        It is the job of film critics to point audiences towards the finer points of film via analysis that general audiences may skip over. So for example, in BvS Batman starts killing, but in the end he changes and vows to do better so it’s not that the character changed. Superman is in a dark world and conflicted and persecuted but he ends up doing the ultimate heroic act – giving his life. Also there are several comics in which Batman kills and Superman is not campy happy all the time.
        It is the film critics job to be able to do the deep dive and show audiences what they might have missed. But what we have right now with the advent of internet is that fanboys have turned into critics and they dont do any real objective analysis, they fanboy out on the material.
        It exacerbates the issue you raised.

    • Axxell

      The “end of the superhero movie era” is grossly exaggerated. As long as they keep coming out with new ideas, there will always be a market for genre movies. Marvel keeps demonstrating time and again that their strategy works, so if anything is coming to an end, it’s for the studios that can’t capitalize and do it right.

      • LupeX

        “As long as they keep coming up with new ideas”
        You just contradicted yourself.

        • SAMURAI36

          Yeah, how on earth are they “coming up with new ideas”, when they are drawing (even if only nominally) from the comics as the source material?

          And when they give the world the source material, then people complain that they are straying from it.

          To wit:


          • LupeX

            I think that even in the genre as it is, pulling from source material, it can be done in non-formulaic standardized way. Marvel is the most formulaic standardized way that these genre movies get produced.
            Every single MCU film is a variation of action comedy, some more than others, some less than others. That is perfectly fine, it is “on brand” being that Disney is a child-friendly company. However when there is insinuation that ever other studio must follow suit, that’s where we enter dangerous territory.
            I quite like the proposition that WB’s content would be darker, more intellectual, thoughtful and adult. It acts a counterbalance and a change-up from what proliferates the market. Soon enough we will have a homogeneous mass of predictable movie by committee products without any trace of the soul of a creative. Already Flash sounds like he could be any of a dozen quipping wise-cracking comicbook characters. AntMan, Star Lord, Deadpool, Spidey, Quicksilver (both of them) etc.
            Why go see the same thing over and over again when u can just pick one and be done with it? What made 2016 awesome was that some superhero movies were starkly different. I adore BvS for being unique.

          • SAMURAI36

            So on point, 100%.

            Also, check out my response to rogbngp about this very same subject. It’s quite long, but I’d like your thoughts on it just the same.

          • Axxell

            That’s fine…but the inverse also applies; if all DC does is dark and grim, with no variation, then people will get bored of the same thematic formula. Marvel has the right idea; you can find lighthearted as well as darker material, so people can have the whole spectrum and not just a single tone.

        • Axxell

          How so?

  • batghost

    There’s a new trend now among BvS apologists to state how “different” Batman v Superman was – and it was “grounded” and “dark” and “challenging”

    All of these things are false. It was absolutely predictable. It was laughably self serious. It wasn’t challenging at all, if anything it was lazy as can be. Nothing was “dark” about the subject matter and even if it was, that is fine – it just wasn’t done well at all.

    I’m also sick of people taking sides too. It’s cool if you liked it, but please stop trying to pretend that you somehow “get it” and those who didn’t like the movie are missing something.

    Also, what kind of soulless subhuman doesn’t like the Marvel movies? Sure, it may follow a “formula” to an extent, but if the formula works, why stop? Thats like not liking a Beatles song because it follows “verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus” formula. I personally, love the Marvel formula. I want DC to establish their own. Thats the thing. The reason I absolutely hate BvS is because I wanted to absolutely love it.

    The best point this “listicle” makes is number 5. Find Balance.

    Humor is good. Serious issues are good. I really hope DC movies get better. I am not a total hater of what they have done so far. Full disclosure…I really liked Man of Steel. I though it was one of the best Superman movies to come out and I was really looking forward to what came next. BvS was not a good movie. On any level. Go ahead and like it. Just stop pretending that its anywhere near as good as anything Marvel has put out. Because simply put, it’s not.

    Here’s to hoping Justice League rights the ship. I want it to be good.

    • SAMURAI36

      Also, what kind of soulless subhuman doesn’t like the Marvel movies?

      Wow, that statement alone shows why you are not even remotely worth responding to.

      • batghost

        That’s a bummer. I was hoping to hear what you had to say. I see what you say on this site. Give me a valid reason why you don’t like Marvel movies. I’m not a DC hater by the way. I grew up loving those comics. And it’s cool if you like what DC has done more than Marvel. But I just flat out don’t believe you or anyone for that matter when they say they “hate” Marvel movies. I don’t get it. You don’t like action? You don’t like suspense? You don’t like fun? Come on man. Give me something. I’m curious. Or are you the soulless subhuman I am referring to?

        • SAMURAI36

          I hope you’re not dumb enough to think you’re going to get a detailed answer out of me (about a subject I’ve elucidated on ad nauseum on here), by attempting to goad me into a debate with insults.

          If you’ve watched my posts as you say you have, then you know I’m not as stupid as you are trying to portray me as.

          • Marquis de Sade

            Will you please, calm down and stop bein’ so heavy-handed…It ain’t that serious!

          • LupeX

            WARNING: Do not feed to trolls

          • SAMURAI36

            He’s getting nothing from me. Except maybe blocked. I’m tired of these idiots trying to come in, and get their 15 minutes of fame from me.

          • batghost

            Dude, get over yourself. I would hate to have your life. I was attempting to have a actual discussion. So yes, without an actual response – I do, in fact, think you are stupid.

          • SAMURAI36

            As (mildly) entertaining as watching you throw a juvenile tantrum in attempts to vy for my attention, I think it’s about time for me to bring this show to a close.

            Thank the Disqus Gods, for making the block feature!! Yay, no more nonsense in my inbox!! 😀

          • batghost

            LOL. Very unimpressed

          • batghost

            You originally responded to my post. So don’t pretend like I goaded you into anything.


    This article is completely unnecessary. First off, the whole “humor” thing is really blown out of proportion. Also, my concern is that once they get this Justice League jokefest that everyone is clamoring for, they are gonna hate it.

    Granted, I’m fine with characters like Harley and Flash being funny, but that’s it. DC is not filled with these jokesters, the way Marvel has set their universe up to be, where everybody is cracking jokes and one-liners.

    Second, people are really hypocritical in saying that they don’t need to change things for the sake of change, when that is precisely what Marvel has done to their films, in relationship to the source material.

    And third, there’s nothing wrong with embracing realism. It just seems that people are just finding new and improved ways to say “why can’t DC be more like Marvel?”

    Let DC be what they wanna be. This is a young Cinematic Universe, so give it time to develop into what they intend it to be, rather than condemn them for not being someone else’s vision.

    • Marquis de Sade

      You maybe in for a rude, or pleasant awakening, Sammy-Rai. Enjoy!


    • LupeX

      I agree with you. The people ruining the direction of comicbook films are the blogs. I meet people all the time who love BvS. Meanwhile the 70% of critics didn’t, it’s very weird bcoz they do not represent the people.
      MARVEL movies are fine, but we dont want every single movie to be a Marvel movie.
      Deadpool was a MARVEL movie with an R-rating. It seems like the further you are from the MCU formula the worse your movie will be received. Gone are the days when the Nolan movies did something unique, MCU has flooded the cinemas with 1 type of superhero film and critics dont want anything else.

      • SAMURAI36

        True indeed. The tail is wagging the dog now. WB/DC knows this, hence them summoning the bloggers to act as intermediaries for the masses.

        I know I’ve said it before, but it really bugs me, how much of a stranglehold Marvel has on this genre right now.

        • LupeX

          Monopolies are horrendous for industries and Marvel has had a monopoly on the superhero genre for a decade.
          We’re feeling the repercussions of that stranglehold.
          One truth is that whatever happens even if the DCEU starts making action comedies from now on, we still have Man of Steel and Batman V Superman. They can never take that from us.

          • SAMURAI36

            Although I’m not a Marvel fan in the slightest, I don’t mind them doing their thing, so long as they don’t try to steal shine from DC at the same time. There’s room in the world for both perspectives.

            I’ve never liked Marvel’s shoddy business practices, even when it comes to comics. It just seems like that’s spilled over into every other medium.

          • LupeX

            I like both studios.
            But I prefer market competition and variety of choices.

    • Math

      That’s basically what I meant when I said I was a bit worried the WB execs might be intervening after the entire BvS fiasco. I don’t want them to use the whole bad reviews excuse to force the filmmakers to “Marvelize” their future movies. I still believe the real problems started when they asked Zack to cut out half an hour from his original cut. I’m not presuming the ultimate cut is going to be perfect and erase every issue with the movie, but my feeling is that had that version been released, there wouldn’t have had as much negative buzz around it and we wouldn’t be making such a big deal about changing the direction of the DCCU. What I’m worried is that the bad reception was of their own making and now they are using that excuse to push their crew to copy the Marvel formula more. I know all this is up to interpretation and I might be reading the entire situation all wrong, but what you are saying in that post is precisely what I’ve been trying to say.

      • SAMURAI36

        I don’t think that’s the case, but I can see why people might interpret it that way.

        But all the same, even without the original cut, BVS was not NEARLY the terrible movie they are trying to make it out to be, but that was the excuse they are using to castigate the film.

        Nonetheless, we should all bear in mind, that NONE of us knows the behind the scenes stuff. Everything thus far as been pure speculation and rumor, and on an almost daily basis, those rumors get debunked.

        We’ll probably never know what happened. But the most we can do is move forward, and look forward to what comes next.

        • JMMagwood

          Meh. No offense, but there’s too many words, guys. $872 million. ‘Nuff said. Too often haters control the narrative. The movie was a pretty fair sized hit, and generally pleased audiences. There are too many sites who want to analyze the supposed problems with the DCEU thus far, when I see two movies that did great box office, and brought the haters out. Blech to ’em all

          • SAMURAI36

            You know what, you’re absolutely right.

          • JMMagwood

            What sort of annoys me is that too many writers here at HH play into that very false narrative. Disappointing.

          • SAMURAI36

            Yeah, and that’s my issue here too. I had a lot of high hopes for HH, but they ended up being not much different from some of these other sites.

            I think Umberto is a great guy (which is what keeps me coming back here), where as I think alot of his competitors are straight up scumbags, but I guess being DC-positive doesn’t pay the bills.

          • JMMagwood

            I suppose the hardcore DC fans aren’t enough for a site to thrive, unfortunately. You have to have chum for the zombies, as well.

          • SAMURAI36

            And see, that’s yet another misconception that I feel like the internet continues to perpetuate; that DC fans are somehow in the minority, under Marvel fans.

            On the conservative end, I’d say they are about equal. However, I’d also go as far as to say that DC fans eke out over Marvel fans, somewhere in the 60/40% range.

          • JMMagwood

            Well, I know how you feel about things, so I won’t argue the point much. I’ll say this and leave it alone: There are millions of DC fans. There are even more millions of Marvel fans. There are millions who are lovers of both. I consider myself in the third category. I can say without prejudice, If many of the Marvel partisans weren’t such &(^*$#@s then there wouldn’t be so much strife online, at least in this community.

          • Marquis de Sade

            MARVEL RULZ! DC SUCKZ!


          • JMMagwood

            Well, sorta that kind of thing… lol

          • SAMURAI36

            My overall point with that, is just that DC fans are not some small minority. And the proof of that, lies with BVS.

            If it was true (and not saying that it was), that BVS’s box office gross was “frontloaded” by DC fans, then that’s an awful lot of frontloading.

          • JMMagwood

            I don’t think either side lacks for fan support.

  • Federer Heder

    6. Don’t cast bimbo silly actress to play major character in next movies.

  • rogbngp

    Hmm, I thought I was reading Movie Pilot there for a second! ;-p

    The big question for me is will WB find a sweet spot for, on the one hand, retaining a significantly mythic, often dark and gritty type of approach, and in some ways more realistic feeling and dramatically serious at times also… but on the other hand, make it feel more fun, uplifting, and exuberant, and at times adding a good bit of humor as well.

    Like how can they marry these two approaches? It’s not impossible to do, I don’t think. It’s actually a really interesting creative challenge. My own personal opinion is that they know that they cannot just mimic Marvel. And they won’t. I think they will still stick to an auteur-driven and more risk-taking creative approach than the MCU’s formula-driven one. But they have quite the challenge ahead of them to figure out how to fuse these two approaches.

    I don’t think that all is lost for those of us that gravitate more toward the more visionary/artistic, film-maker driven, and thematically mature approach that we have seen thus far with MoS and BvS. I think WB (Johns, Berg, and the main executive producers) realize that they have to significantly hold onto the model Snyder has established of making sophisticated auteur films. It would look lame to drop that and try to copy the MCU formula, and I doubt that they could do it as well as Marvel does even if they tried. I think what they’re doing now is tweaking the recipe to give us a more complex flavor profile that has some brighter notes.

    • SAMURAI36

      I agree, for the most part, with what you said, with one caveat.

      I personally think that the whole “uplifting, exuberant, et al” bit is extremely overrated.

      For one thing, you mention “mythic” in your post. That is indeed an accurate description of DC; however, an academic comparison of the mythological pantheons upon which the JL is often thought to be based, reveals that they are anything buy “uplifting, etc”. In fact, they are for the most part, precisely the opposite.

      Also, the whole “fun, etc” concept that has been attributed to Superhero films, is a recent Marvel invention. I implore anyone reading this, to thumb thru their movie collection for every superhero film they might own, prior to the advent of the MCU, be it DC, Marvel, or anything in between. You’ll be hard-pressed to find this mythical unicorn, otherwise known as a “fun, uplifting, etc” superhero movie.

      The Reeve Superman films were at times fun, but not all that uplifting, and remember; Supes killed Zod in that film too. Lois died in one of those films as well (never you mind, the way she was brought back, though). And that includes Superman Returns, who had to live with the fact that he didn’t “get the girl”. He was sullen and pouty for the entire film. Where was the “fun and upliftment” in watching the woman he loved, make out with some Herb version of Cyclops?

      Not to mention the fact that you’ll be hard-pressed to find Superman smiling and grinning in any of these films (let alone in the comics, which people swear up and down happens in the books, even though it doesn’t).;

      The original Batman films were anything but “fun, uplifting, etc”. And the subsequent Batman films were just plain campy. Surely they’re not the standard DC should aspire to?

      Was Constantine fun and uplifting? Certainly not Watchmen? And the GL film had numerous things wrong with it, starting with the fact that it was horribly miscast, and ending with the fact that “humor and fun” was unceremoniously inserted into that film, when Hal Jordan is anything but funny, and certainly not uplifting.

      Add another weird dichotomy to the mix; the same people who want these companies (DC especially) to “remain true to the source material” are the same ones that wanna see more “humor and fun” in these films…. Which says to me, that those people have barely read the source material, if at all.

      And finally, anyone that thinks TDK Trilogy was “fun, uplifting, etc”, needs their head examined.

      And that was all on the DC side.

      Going with Marvel, Blade (the film that started it all for them) wasn’t uplifting at all. Perhaps you could make an arugment that the Blade Trilogy had some fun moments, but to call it “fun” would be a huge misnomer. And the 3rd film delved into the realm of the same camp that GL did, and that’s not without coincidence.

      Daredevil, despite not being the best movie, was not “fun or uplifting”. Neither were any of the Punisher films. Nor the Ghost Rider films.

      Still searching for this mythical “fun” that everybody keeps talking about.

      Enter Spideyman… Granted, Spidey by nature is certainly fun, but the Spidey Trilogy was far from uplifting. Neither was the next 2 Spidey films even less so). Granted, Spidey is this wise-cracking guy, who makes what he does seem “fun”, he’s also quite downtrodden. He continually loses the women in his life, and his life is one big mess.

      What about the Hulk film(s)? Where was the fun and upliftment in either of those? The main character can’t even have “relations” with the love of his life!! And one of them was actually a part of the MCU, to boot!!

      And does anyone really wanna make a case about the X-Men movies being “fun and uplifting”? The only “fun” film from that franchise has been Deadpool, but that was far from uplifting.

      Now, enter the MCU…. I think what people are calling “fun”, is the fact that there is a constant bombardment of jokes, and juvenile dialogu in these films. These characters talk and act like teenagers, even more so than the actual teenager that was officially introduced to the MCU recently.

      Or perhaps because people see Tony Stark jet-setting around, and living life without consequence? Or because we saw Captain America dancing in the first film? Just like the Guardians were? Or is it because they have time to have drinks and flirt with each other, in between sessions of creating destructive artificial intelligences?

      The point I’m trying to make here, is that what people are misconstruing as “fun and upliftment” in the MCU, is really recklessness and irresponsibility. Marvel has convinced the world that up is down, and vice versa. Their heroes don’t act like heroes, and the world looks on with glee, just because these characters made them “laugh”.

      All of the above is why, as I’ve mentioned more than once on this site, I have such a loathing for Marvel, and the way they have such a strangle hold on this genre.

      And then, here comes DC, who not only were the first to introduce Superheores to the medium of movies (and everywhere else, but that’s a whole ‘nother discussion), but were also the first to utilize these characters to challenge our view of the world, by allowing us to take a hard look at ourselves. And they get castigated for it.

      The reality is, we have yet to see this mythical “fun and uplifting” Superhero film. It doesn’t exist, and yet we are unfairly placing the onus upon DC to accomplish the impossible, despite your claims to the contrary.

      The reality is, that’s not what people want. That’s what they say they want, but this is the case of the young girl, who says she wants a sensitive, dependable guy, but in reality, she just wants the bad boy.

      And that’s what Marvel is; the bad boy, dressed in a hero’s clothing.

      People don’t want to be challenged, they want to be appeased. They want reality TV, and that’s what Marvel offers them. Even the respective names of the companies bears relevance on the subject: “Marvel” (an emotional response) vs “DC” (Detective Comics; detectives are analytical people).

  • Seriously??

    I like the other stuff posted except for levity and humor. The thing is that, why does it need to be a “superhero movie” formula? especially the whole levity and humor thing, like its kind of crap if you want a movie to be a certain to your liking. just because it has humor and we laugh at it doesn’t neccesarily make the film better. For instance, A movie like 10 years a slave, which was nominated and won several oscar awards, that movie is HEAVYY. No excessive or a chunk amounts of levity, but the public consider it a really good movie because it is. Dc wants a tone that’s dark and heavy. Have they perfectly executed that? no not neccesarily, in fact, they can do a much much better job, BVS was lacking in pacing and other things but BVS lacking humor and levity is just not a good enough reason to bash on it when theres tons of movies out there we consider good that don’t have that either. Just my humble opinion and thoughts.