DC Comics Prequels

As I was skimming the news I came across an article on Looper titled, “DC’S WORST MOVIE AND TV MISTAKES“.

Okay, it may not be what most would consider “news”, but this is what I’m interested in.

Admittedly I am more of a Marvel fan than DC so I found interest in this. I agree with each point made, but especially, “ENOUGH WITH THE PREQUELS”.

Now before I dig deeper, I want to preface this by stating I am not now, nor have I ever been a fan of comic books and know nothing of their canon. I am only a fan of the movies created from the characters.


“Between Gotham and the Superman prequel series Smallville, DC seems to have an unexplainable need to dive deep into its characters’ origins, while ignoring what makes its characters actually good.”

That really is true, and is one of the reasons I’m more of a Marvel fan. Can you, even for a second, imagine a TV series based on Tony Stark’s childhood? How about Steve Rogers? Thor? Bruce Banner? I wouldn’t even want to sit through a single movie about how these characters grew up. I have no problem with origin stories, but only with regards to how they came to be the hero they are; which I believe is necessary for a successful superhero franchise.

Take 2008’s Iron Man as an example. Had the movie simply started with some guy flying around in a metal suit, with no back story, it just wouldn’t have made sense. The movie does an excellent job, I think, at explaining who Tony Stark is and why he created such a suit. That does not mean I need to know what Tony was like in high school.

In 2011, Kenneth Branagh brought Thor to the big screen. The entire movie is pretty much a back story of who Thor really is, but its focus was not that of his childhood, just what was relevant as a turning point in his life. One could argue that the movie doesn’t explain why he was worthy of possessing Mjölnir before he is banished, but that would feel like mindless exposition. What is important is why he again became worthy of it.

Batman Begins (also 2008) went a little further but still kept it simple. Bruce Wayne’s story is indeed a bit more complicated. Although you do not need to go back too far to explain where his suit and gadgets come from, or his ability to fight as he does, this is one example in which you really need to go back to his childhood to explain why.

Smallville, however, I never understood the point. I honestly don’t care that much about Clark Kent as a child to endure 217 episodes of it. Compare this to 1978’s Superman. The first 40 minutes of the film consist of explaining who General Zod, Non, and Ursa are, Clark’s childhood, Pa Kent’s death and Clark’s move to Metropolis. That’s quite a bit for such a short amount of time, and that’s all that was needed.

September 21, 2015 marks the start of season two of Gotham. Admittedly, I have not watched more than 10 minutes of the show. Even though I am a Marvel fan, I do still enjoy DC’s characters and have always been a big fan of Batman (a recent discovery of my childhood toys will show Batman and TMNT as my favorites), so I wanted to like the show, but I simply cannot. I have enjoyed just about every story portrayed in the movies and on TV of the bat (with exception to any animated series post 1995), including the series from 1966-1968. The only two I did not particularly enjoy to some extent were, as most would agree, Batman Forever & Batman & Robin (bat nipples, anyone?). Despite being a longtime fan of the Batman universe, I just can’t get on board with a TV series based on his childhood.

“DC seems desperate to replicate Marvel’s success, but is going about it in all the wrong ways.”

How can you expect to replicate your competition’s success by going at it in a completely different manner? I’m not at all saying do the same as Marvel, because it it’s been done, but the reason for Marvel’s success was in their execution.

Marvel made the early decision to make separate films for each main character (with exception to Hawkeye and Black Widow), cleverly used post-credit scenes and their Marvel One-Shots to add semblance that they are in the same universe, and finally brought them together with The Avengers in 2012. Naturally Marvel wanted to make good use of TV and streaming and have since launched Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD & Agent Carter on television, as well as Daredevil on Netflix, with more on the way.

Ultimately, DC will still see success from their films, but nothing like that of Marvel.


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