There’s no denying that DC’s extended universe big budget films have made a ton of money. So, by that measure, they have been a pretty solid success. But, by some other metrics, the DC movies have been a disappointment. Fans have consistently panned several of the films, with the exception of Wonder Woman. While there’s no doubt the movies each have a dedicated group of fans, the list of people growing more frustrated and disappointed by the films appears to be growing.
DC has multiple big screen films yet to come, and the company has yet to decisively deal with waning fan interest. It seems the company cannot quite find a way to recapture the magic of “Superman: The Movie” or even the late 80s Michael Keaton version of Batman.
Part of the issue is a shift in tone. DC’s cartoons, which tended to be loved by a generation of fans who grew up on them, were brighter. Less serious and more fun. They were cartoony but upbeat, as well as the origin of many beloved characters and storylines. In contrast, most of the recent big screen DC movies have been grittier, dealing with deeper themes and harsher plotlines. It’s not something fans of the cartoons and comics were hoping — or expecting — to see. Yet, again and again, DC delivered grittier fare. And they seem to be doing the same with the promotion of the company’s recently announced streaming service.
One of the key promotional teasers meant to entice fans to pay the annual $74.99 membership fee is the release of the DC original show, Titans, which follows the exploits of a team of younger DC heroes including Batman’s original protégé, Dick Grayson, aka Robin. The trailer for the program also includes characters Beast Boy, Raven, and Starfire.
While subscribing members will also, reportedly, have access to a “massive archive of classic DC films, comics, and TV shows” the live-action original program is getting most of the buzz. And, while many fans are excited, the same nagging question is being asked, yet again, of DC’s creative team: Why so dark?
In the trailer, a bitter, angrier Robin is asked his thoughts about Batman. He answers with an expletive. That certainly generated commentary, but it was such a departure from the traditional take on the character, fans were decidedly split on their reaction to the trailer’s release.
Some fans are openly wondering just how committed DC is to continuing this tone of its more recent live action creations, and if there’s any chance of returning to the style and vibe that made them fans in the first place. It’s a question that, despite DC’s best efforts, is not going away… and Titans may end up being the tipping point that determines if DC’s continued dismissal of this cohort of fans’ complaints will pay off in the long run… or not.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations.