Any studio with designs on building a shared universe that claims they haven’t at least glanced in the direction of Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios for inspiration is lying through their teeth, and there’s no shame in wanting to emulate a formula that’s turned the MCU into the most lucrative franchise in the history of cinema.
Plenty of similar efforts have failed spectacularly, but the DCEU is still going strong having rejigged its creative methods more than once since Man of Steel was released in the summer of 2013. The plan is now to alternate between standalone efforts and interconnected blockbusters, but one thing the series has definitely moved away from over the last couple of years is Zack Snyder’s visual aesthetic.
Aquaman, Shazam!, Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman 1984 would have been very different movies had they stuck to the template established by Snyder in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which continues with the upcoming Snyder Cut of Justice League.
In a new interview, the filmmaker explained a little bit about the differences between his way of handling the DCEU’s roster of superheroes, compared to the broader and more easygoing nature of the MCU’s output, saying:
“It’s obvious I take these characters and their mythology really seriously. I want them to be fully realized as characters, existing in that world. I don’t think that it’s cool to have fun at their expense. And there was a vision that we had, a complete universe, fully fleshed out, that we really wanted to take all the way. I knew it before BvS, when we made Man of Steel. Marvel is doing something else. They’re doing, at the highest level, this popular action comedy with a heart. And they have that nailed. An effort to duplicate that is insanity because they’re so good at it. What DC had was mythology at an epic level, and we were going to take them on this amazing journey. Frankly, I was the only one saying that.”
All of Snyder’s movies have tended to split opinion, but he definitely sticks to his guns when it comes to treating the subject matter seriously, although it might be a little too serious depending on who you ask. Humor hasn’t ever been a big part of his work, and he was never going to give Superman or Batman the light-hearted treatment in the DCEU as that’s just not his style. If nothing else, though, it at least makes the franchise’s early efforts stand out regardless of how you feel about them on a personal level.