DC's film universe is starting to make waves of its own
Posted Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 12:49 PM Central
by John Couture
In the history of comic books and specifically the superpower race between Marvel and DC, competition and success has fostered its fair share of mimicry on both sides. In 1960, DC found success with a superhero team called Justice League of America and in 1961 Marvel launched their own brand and called it the Fantastic Four.
During the 1970's Marvel found success with the X-Men and DC quickly relaunched a new and improved (read more powerful) Teen Titans book. So, it's not surprising that the bitter rivals would continue their old ways when they moved their battlefield to the silver screen. DC had the early success with Superman and Batman, but they couldn't sustain and grow the business. Enter Marvel and their MCU concept that quickly changed the entire film industry, not just comic book films.
So, just like their decades old feud in books, it's not surprising to see one take a page from the other's more successful playbook. It had pretty much been assumed that we would start to see characters bouncing from movie-to-movie ever since DC announced their upcoming film slate last year, but this little tweet all but confirms it.
Yes, that's Ben Affleck in full Bruce Wayne garb (notice the gray highlights at the temple) on the set of Suicide Squad. Naturally, these images have thrown social media into a tizzy. What can it mean? Will Bruce/Batman appear in Suicide Squad? Will Jared Leto's Joker show up in Batman v Superman? If Ben Affleck can find time for this cameo, then he has to show up in Mallrats 2, right?
OK fine, that last one was all me, but still no matter what is going on here, it's still an impressive and very calculated move on DC's part. This is, after all, Avengers week and all anyone can seem to talk about is either Suicide Squad or Batman v Superman. Chalk one up for DC.
Again, this image caused a massive divide in opinion, but whether you were for or against the new look, you were talking about a DC character in the days leading up to a huge Marvel release. Don't worry, Avengers: Age of Ultron will be just fine and will make a ton of money, but you have to give props to DC for making their films suddenly so relevant in pop culture.
I would argue that before last year's announcement and this week's marketing ploys (including the release of the first trailer for Batman v Superman, DC was getting creamed in the war of comic book movies. They are still losing, but it's clear that they are closing ground and finally generating some much needed buzz for their films.
As for what Ben Affleck is doing on the Suicide Squad, who knows? We will find out soon enough. Personally, I think he's filming a stinger for Batman v Superman that will set up the release of Suicide Squad later in 2016. Maybe he'll actually cameo in that film or perhaps it's both.
In the end, it doesn't matter. Just having these images out there and the buzz associated with them has bought them immeasurable marketing influence and really I happen to think that's the whole point. I also don't think that Jared Leto's Joker will look much like this image at all. Sure, the hair and pale skin will remain, but the tats are obviously photoshopped and personally I think it's more an homage to the character like the tweet indicates.
Again, the goal was to create buzz and to steal some spotlight from Marvel. They are a long way from winning the war, but at least they are fighting on a more even playing field now.