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The DC Cinematic Universe: Why it has Potential

Warner Bros. has announced its upcoming slate of DC movies. Let's discuss what each one can bring to the table.

Marvel Studios has made a ridiculous amount of money with its Cinematic Universe. The studio began expanding its world back in 2008 with Iron Man, and their projects have become immensely popular since then. Before Iron Man and 2005's Batman Begins, the comic book genre was pretty lackluster. For every okay to pretty good movie, there were several forgettable ones. That's completely changed and now the genre is a money making machine. People expect these movies to be a great time instead of fearing it'll just be a blatant cash grab.

It's only understandable that DC would want to step into the ring and begin expanding its own universe. The DC Cinematic Universe began with 2013's Man of Steel, and they obviously have a lot of catching up to do. However, they stunned fans last week by dropping a huge announcement: the movies they have scheduled for 2016-2020. It's unclear when the Batman and Superman solo films will be released and who will direct them, but it was an ambitious announcement that implies they want to support their iconic characters. Whether the movies will be any good has yet to be seen and there's still plenty of announcements to come (several projects don't have directors or leads listed), but we think each movie has the potential to be worth seeing on the big screen. Only time will tell whether these projects live up to the hype, but for now, let's have some fun talking about them and discuss genres each could include.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

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Man of Steel technically began the new DC Cinematic Universe, but Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will likely feel like its true start. Sure, MoS had quite a few easter eggs, but it was Kal-El's story and there were only hints here and there that other characters exist in this world. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is finally going to show us why we should feel invested in this evergrowing universe. This one needs to be all about fan service and spectacle as they set the stage for what's to come. If you want people to buy tickets for the following films, this one needs to deliver on all fronts. It needs to have a compelling plot, character depth, and jaw-dropping action. Having Argo's writer, Chris Terrio, means we thankfully can expect stronger dialogue, too. That's certainly needed if the movie is going to incorporate so many characters and new dynamics.

Suicide Squad (2016)

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Guardians of the Galaxy was uplifting, hilarious, and heartwarming. Suicide Squad? It should be the be the polar opposite of that. When it comes to the DC Cinematic Universe, director David Ayer's movie should be their opportunity to let loose a ton of darkness and violence. Okay, if big names like Deadshot or Harley Quinn are on the roster, we're pretty confident they'll survive the first film, but you need to feel like anyone can die and you need to care. This shouldn't just be shock value death and over-the-top violence. This should show us how the world's responding to new threats by creating a black ops team that can be thrown at whatever threat the government wants dealt with without actually being connected to the mission. If Quinn's in it, we can expect some twisted humor, but this is a movie that should balance character beats and intense action while also giving the studio a chance to go a little darker than usual. The grittier tone may not work for some characters and teams, but it's perfect for this one.

Wonder Woman (2017)

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We know Wonder Woman is a Demigod in this universe, so that means her solo film needs to embrace the fantasy genre with open arms. Gods, minotaurs, Themyscira, so on and so on. If we know she's a Demigod, trying to make this one more grounded or realistic will just feel off. Each of these solo films need to bring something new to the experience and this one needs to celebrate her mythology. Show audiences why Wonder Woman's badass and not one-dimensional. Show us the world she lives in and how she's adapting to the "regular" world. Don't rely on bringing in cameos from Batman or Superman; have total confidence in Diana's story and leave us wanting more. Bring on the mythical elements!

Justice League Part One (2017)

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"Go big or go home" is the mentality they need for this one. This is their version of the Avengers; a gathering of cool characters being brought together to take on a threat that none of them should be able to handle on their own. This has to epic, full of cheerworthy moments, and overflowing with spectacle. This is the one that needs to leave audiences in awe and make them interested enough to buy a ticket to see a Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, and Green Lantern solo movies. Considering it's part one, they also need one heck of a good cliffhanger. Whoever the big bad is, they need to end this one on a staggering note involving that villain. Whether it's Darkseid, Brainiac, or Condiment King Doomsday, this one absolutely needs to conclude on a moment that'll leave people counting down the months until they can witness the follow-up.

The Flash (2018)

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Look, it's fair to assume some of the previous DC movies will have a more stern and serious atmosphere, but The Flash is where they'll have the chance to offer something totally different. They need to take notes from CW's The Flash because that show is full of lighthearted bits and great displays of emotion. Yes, they need to wow us with amazingly cool displays of Flash's power being put to use, but it's important to make sure everyone likes this character and wants to root for him. It has to be humanizing, fun, and full of awesome special effects. Set the bar high and strive to top Quicksilver's joyous scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past multiple times. Otherwise, what's the point?

Aquaman (2018)

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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to DC's answer to Avatar. No, not The Last Airbender; the one that was loaded with stunning visuals and 3D as we took a trip to an alien world. This movie should aim to amaze our eyes as Jason Momoa spends a lot of time underwater and in Atlantis. Keep the eye candy flowing and don't stop. Whether it's something as simple as Arthur Curry interacting with aquatic life to battling Black Manta (or whoever the villain is), this is a movie that should demand to be seen in 3D. The scope needs to be huge as we get a character-driven story about Arthur Curry. To reel casual fans in, this really needs to promote that it'll include scene after scene of gorgeous special effects. Aquaman has the opportunity to make general audiences finally think the character isn't a joke and leave them wanting to see more of his underwater world. If Marvel Studios can turn Rocket Raccoon and Groot into fan favorites, it'll be hugely disappointing if they can't at least make people finally realize Aquaman isn't lame.

Shazam (2019)

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SHAZAM! With this one, DC has the opportunity to create a movie that has a great sense of fun and charm. With so many of the other movies going for big, bold, and gripping, Shazam can keep us smiling. As it delves deep into the fantasy genre, witnessing a kid gain these powers and adapt to this new world can offer a powerful sense of wonder and joy. They need to make us believe a character can fly and love every second of it. In addition to the friendlier tone, casting Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Black Adam gives this movie a chance to create one of the most complex and fascinating villains we've yet to see. In the right hands, Shazam could be a real delight.

Justice League Part Two (2019)

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Remember that cliffhanger Justice League Part One left us on (or it least it should have)? Now it's time to make this movie worth the wait. Continue the epicness and go over-the-top. Make us enjoy the character dynamics and produce twists and action that'll get people talking. This needs to be their answer to The Avengers. It likely won't have the same amount of laughs (or at least we can assume so), so it needs to compensate for that by having crowd-pleasing scene after crowd-pleasing scene. If this doesn't make an impact, it's highly unlikely people will want to see next year's Cyborg solo movie.

Cyborg (2020)

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It's safe to say this was the biggest surprise on the schedule, right? The New 52 has been giving Victor Stone a push, but the dude still doesn't have his own title. Seeing as he's getting his own movie, it's safe to say that'll probably change at some point down the road. So, why give Cyborg his own movie? This can celebrate all of the technological advancements DC's Earth has made since Man of Steel. S.T.A.R. Labs needs to be a focal point as we see what humanity is doing to adapt to this new environment. While Suicide Squad can see the darker side of what people are doing to respond to new challenges, this can give us a very different "behind the scenes" look at this universe. What's also important is this movie can focus on a father-son dynamic. Between the action and thrills, Cyborg has the potential to be full of heart. Fingers crossed this could also begin to tease some of his fellow Titans.

Green Lantern (2020)

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Let's be nice and call 2011's Green Lantern disappointing. This reboot -- or at least we're praying it's a reboot -- needs to focus on what that film did wrong and rectify those mistakes. Spend less time on Earth and more time on Oa and exploring the cosmos. This needs to be pure sci-fi. We understand if they expand the human supporting cast just a bit, but aside from giving the lead -- whether it's Hal or John Stewart -- more depth, we really need to see more of the Green Lantern Corps. Make us fans of the other Lanterns. Make Sinestro someone we love to hate -- someone who we think could be the big bad in the next wave of movies. And, while they're at it, tease the Sinestro Corps War. Yeah, that's what the other movie did, but do you know why? Because it's an awesome story that needs to happen on the big screen. Whatever the big threat is in Justice League Part One and Part Two, Green Lantern has the potential to set the stage for the next phase in the DC Cinematic Universe. Make it big, make it fun, and focus on giving audiences a ton of cosmic goodness.