When Warner Bros. launched the DC Extended Universe with 2013’s Man of Steel, they were surely aiming to replicate the success Marvel Studios had achieved with its shared universe – but so far, that hasn’t quite been the case. While the latest film entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange, has done strong box office business and earned positive reviews from critics and moviegoers alike, this year’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad were both commercial hits, but didn’t play well with critics in particular.
One of the most universally well-received elements of the DCEU so far has been Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman in Dawn of Justice and as such, many superhero movie fans are eagerly looking forward to the release of the iconic character’s solo movie next year. Reactions to the footage released thus far have been largely positive and there is a distinct hope among DC fans that Wonder Woman can be the movie that finally endears the DCEU to critics.
Certainly, Warner Bros. Chief Executive, Kevin Tsujihara, believes that to be the case. Speaking with The New York Times about his company’s recent fortunes, Tsujihara directly addressed the criticism of the DCEU movies, stating:
“Quietly, we’ve been having an amazing year, the narrative, over all, has not reflected that… The thing that really makes me confident is that I’ve seen ‘Wonder Woman,’ and it’s great.”
Tsujihara also pointed to the $1.6 billion Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad made combined worldwide as a sign that the studio must be doing something right and went on to reaffirm his belief that the faces in charge of Warner Bros.’ superhero output as of May this year, Geoff Johns and Jon Berg, will be able to satisfy fans who have previously been critical of the DCEU movies.
Hearing one of Warner Bros’ leading figures talk up one of their biggest upcoming movies may not come as a huge surprise – that’s essentially his job after all – but surely if any movie is going to change critical opinion of the DCEU, Wonder Woman is the film to do it, with Diana Prince already one of the franchise’s more popular figures. Geoff Johns also has fantastic comic book pedigree both with DC’s comic and television output; and the fact that he co-wrote Wonder Woman further bodes well for that film and the future of the DCEU in general.
Already, the trailers for Wonder Woman are building excitement in the run up to the movie’s June 2017 release, with praise especially reserved for the visual style and action sequences – but Warner Bros. has precedent for releasing good trailers only to eventually deliver a critically derided movie. Both Suicide Squad and Dawn of Justice were preceded by warmly received teaser footage and considerable amounts of buzz, yet many reviewers ultimately found both movies to be lacking in the story department upon release.
Whether this pattern will continue with Wonder Woman will be revealed next June, but a break away from Batman and Superman stories could do the DCEU some good. While the Diana Prince character is certainly iconic, live-action versions of the hero are harder to come by. Additionally, Warner Bros. have beaten Marvel to the punch in delivering a solo movie focused on a female superhero – something fans have been wanting for years. Perhaps for these reasons, Wonder Woman will be the movie that finally shows what the DCEU is really about.