Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Undefined Gamer: DC and Movies Don't Mix

Batman, Superman AND Wonder Woman!
That sounds needlessly complicated!

      Marvel is king of the live-action superhero movie. With series
such as X-Men, Spider-Man, and Iron Man that all harbor multiple
sequels, as well as The Avengers, Marvel has established itself at the
pinnacle of comic book movies. Meanwhile, DC has suffered woes in the
movie business, with their only two heroes to receive multiple movies
being Superman and Batman, and only a handful of those movies are up
to Marvel's craftsmanship. So many duds lie in their movie vaults, from
Green Lantern to Batman & Robin. Even Man of Steel, which was the
movie that was supposed to launch DC's own phase 1 of movies, seemed
barely to be good. Sure, DC has some major hits (though they seem to
be primarily Batman-related), but the fact is, unlike Marvel, DC
hasn't got their shit together in this category.
      Yet in other mediums, DC has got Marvel owned.
       DC has recently received much acclaim in the video game industry,
thanks to their Arkham games, a trend that I hope can carry over to
their other brands. DC has no shortage of characters who could
potentially replicate Arkham's success. However, Marvel, who has never
really had a great track record in the video game industry, don't seem
that they'll break out of this slump anytime soon, thanks to their
merger with Disney. Don't believe me? The best games Disney
Interactive have include Spectrobes and Epic Mickey.
      Still, back to movies. DC seems to be focusing on the wrong
things. It seems that the only reason why DC has recently tried to put
more effort into making films is to keep up with Marvel's Avengers
phases (though Batman, as always, has been dealt as its own entity).
There is really no reason to focus on live-action films, especially
when DC's animated superhero works are second to none.
     Instead of cutting back on their animated works, DC should be
expanding it. Its shelled better quality work by far than its film
      We live in a time where there isn't really much competition in
this medium. Most studios, like Disney, have abandoned traditional
animation in favor of live-action and CG animated works. For the most
part, this was for the better, except in this case: DC's heroes work
best in a traditionally animated environment.
      DC has by far a better track record than Marvel. True, here and
there Marvel has had some gems, but overall they are hundred by
Disney's inability to develop their animated heroes beyond a PG
rating, whereas there is few lines that DC's cartoons won't cross.
This leads to very few animated duds.
      The few duds that they have in modern times seem to be shows that
tailor straight to kids. These shows, such as Batman: The Brave and
the Bold, often seem to comic-booky and over the top to be any good.
DC excels when their animated works are just as serious as the
movies, with most of the heavy themes are cleverly cloaked. However, I
find that DC is at its best when nothing is hidden. This allows DC to
make very well-written cartoons (usually animated movies) that should
bear an R-rating.
      Cartoons is what DC should focus on, not the probably ill-fated
Hawkman movie. If only they pump a tad more money into the production
values (though they are already stellar) and their animation
department, DC can take a place as the head of animated movies, a
position Disney once filled. In fact, they have the potential to be
better than Disney, if they decide to produce a feature animated film.
DC has fewer limits that Disney. They can go as dark as they want to
go, not to mention their stellar animation style and values. In
today's world, the only other place that animated works are made with
themes this heavy, with animation at this level is Japan, though there
are some oddballs here and there like Nick's Legend of Korra.
      The point is, DC is fighting a losing battle in the Comic Book
Movies Biz. Their Comic Book Cartoons are already second to none. If
DC focused primarily on their animated works, they could place a
strangehold on the genre.

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