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The Tumultuous History of the DC Universe in Cinema: From Failed Films to a New Era


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The DC Universe in the cinema: a tumultuous history

DC launched its cinematic universe with “Man of Steel”, envisioning a series of interconnected films and crossovers featuring different characters. However, the journey has been challenging. Films like “Batman v Superman”, “Suicide Squad”, “Wonder Woman”, “Justice League”, “Aquaman”, “Shazam!”, “Birds of Prey”, “Wonder Woman 1984”, “The Suicide Squad”, “Black Adam”, “Justice League”, “Shazam! Rage of the Gods”, “The Flash”, and “Blue Beetle” have been released as part of this universe.

Unfortunately, many of these films failed to connect with audiences, and some fell short in comparison to the highly successful films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Films like “Suicide Squad”, “Wonder Woman 1984”, “Black Adam”, and “Shazam! 2” have received harsh criticism from both critics and viewers.

In January 2023, James Gunn revealed the outlines of a new DC Universe called “Gods & Monsters,” following the cancellation of “Man of Steel 2” and “Wonder Woman 3.” This new era will begin with the release of “Blue Beetle” and will mark the end of the first DCU with “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” in the same year. Future films in this new universe include “Superman Legacy” in 2025, followed by “The Authority,” “The Brave and the Bold,” “Supergirl,” and “Swamp Thing.”

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Suicide Squad: this decision that the director regrets

Although James Gunn directed “The Suicide Squad” in 2021, it was David Ayer who helmed the original “Suicide Squad” film. Starring Jared Leto as the Joker, alongside Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Joel Kinnaman, and Viola Davis, the film was poorly received due to its editing and lackluster writing. The characterization of Joker, despite Leto’s efforts, was also criticized for deviating from previous interpretations, particularly the iconic performance by the late Heath Ledger. The decision to cover Joker in tattoos drew significant backlash.

It is rumored that a director’s cut version of the film, featuring a darker tone and a clearer representation of David Ayer’s vision, exists. Ayer is determined to have this version screened, and James Gunn has reportedly promised that the public will eventually get to see it. Ayer, however, remains patient, understanding that Gunn has his own priorities in launching the new DCU and that dwelling on the past would be counterproductive.

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