So 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.
- Levity and Humor
One of the best things about the series was that the show had no qualms about going dark. It would go dark and be serious, but it always knew how to throw in appropriate moments of humor and optimism. A thing that’s clearly lacking so far in the DCEU. With humor I don’t expect it to be completely silly or for them to make a ton of jokes, but some more moments of levity would be great to have. It would make for an overall more enjoyable superhero experience and it will make the movies fun to watch. In the recent clip from Justice League that has been discussed there are some great comedy moments with Barry Allen so they are already heading the in the right direction.
- Team Dynamic
We all know that the Justice League has to be about working together as a team. The animated series did a fantastic job at bringing these heroes together and establishing team leadership appropriately. They all felt cohesive as a team and worked together while at the same time each character was given their space to flourish and to have development. With the DCEU finding that middle ground is difficult, but not impossible to do. I think that with the upcoming Justice League movie and the solo projects they have the potential to give each character the weight they deserve while also having them work well as a team. If they need a blueprint on how to do this then they should look no further than this show.
- Embrace The Fantastic
So far the DCEU has delved into the fantastical side of the DCEU. It has used the elements of space, time travel, and other fantastical traits but what made the show great was that it wasn’t afraid of being completely fantastical. The DCEU still has this feeling like it wants to be set in a realistic to an extent. I definitely get the feeling like it wants to have elements that feel grounded, which isn’t completely necessary. The animated series had no issue with going as far out there with the fantastical side to it all and it worked well for them. The DCEU shouldn’t fear going as far out as necessary if they need to. There is no reason to try to be taken seriously by forcing fantastical characters into a realistic environment. I’m not saying that is a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be a mandatory thing.
- Don’t Change Things for the Sake of Change
The long history of the comics have seen many of these iconic characters change, but there are traits inherent to the character that should remain. The Justice League series did it’s own thing while still remaining very much true to the source material. There was nothing in the series that felt like it was an unnecessary change. So far in the DCEU there have been some major changes and decisions that have been met with polarizing opinions. An example that I have in mind is that there was no reason that Batman needed to kill people in ‘Batman V Superman’. It was a change that goes against what a lot of pre-established canon about Batman states. Sure the other Batman films had him kill a few people, but this is the most deaths caused by Batman in one film. It was a change that didn’t need to happen and it upset fans. Moving forward they should evaluate what changes work and what changes will cause controversy. Justice League handled changes extremely well and a lesson can be learned from it.
- Find Balance
Balance is the key to all of this. The animated show was able to consistently balance things out. They had the humor but they also found ways to add intense action and some really great, subtle moments that made the show feel fleshed out. This needs to happen in the DCEU and I believe it will happen. If they continue to look at how the show captured the hearts and the attention of DC fans they can learn and incorporate a level of balance necessary to make this new Universe come to life appropriately on the big screen.
Overall I see a bright future ahead for DC Films especially with this week’s recent Justice League news. I can see the universe expanding and growing, but these improvements can work wonders to win over fans. As a fan of DC characters I am excited to see it continue and the universe grow.