As we reported last week (and mention in this week’s podcast) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice had a huge drop off in it’s second week at the box office. Nearly 70% in Domestic and almost 80% world wide, not too mention the majority of critics saying the movies were too dark or not fun at all.
So the question is, is the DC Movie Universe too dark?
Well, yes and no.
I felt Man of Steel was a bit too dark since Superman has always been DC comics representation of “hope” and “light” so having a dark Superman didn’t feel right by any means. It felt as if they took the dark tone of the Dark Knight series by Christopher Nolan and because it made boat loads of money applied it to Superman, and it was met with mix reaction. It got a 56% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics and only made $291 million at the box office with lukewarm reaction from fans.
Now when you throw Batman into the mix, DC’s darkest “mainstream” hero, you’d expect the movies to be somewhat dark, and with the right characters dark is fine. One of my comic book movies is The Crow, and it’s dark as hell. The whole premise is a man coming back from the dead to avenge his murder and his fiance’s rape and murder. That’s fucking dark right there, then you add the Gothic flair to it, the face paint, and the fact it takes place on Devil’s Night and you have the ingredients for a very dark movie.
So what’s the difference between the very dark The Crow (82% on RT) and Batman v Superman (29% on RT)? Well, with everything else aside, The Crow is an enjoyable and in spite of it’s dark tone it’s a fun movie that can be watched over and over again. A big complaint from critics as well as movie goers is that BvS isn’t very fun.
A growing trend I’ve seen from DC fans (apologists?) online is that “we don’t want light and funny movies like Marvel, we want a serious adult movie”, again, serious and adult is fine, a lot of movies are like that, Chris Nolan’s Batman movies are like that, but they’re also fun movies.
Man of Steel was an okay movie, but there seemed to be a lot of heavy handed efforts by film makers to make it dreary instead of hopeful, and in BvS it seemed like the filmmakers took a lot of care to address the death and destruction from the first movie.
So is DC being darker than Marvel a problem? Absolutely not, but WB and DC need to take their time and craft their stories and make sure they’re at least enjoyable and not just the opposite of Marvel.