Why James Gunn Needs To Push For A More Mature DC Universe | Pretty Reel

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In an attempt to create an original DC Universe, James Gunn may find going in a more mature direction will help set him apart.

Pictures from Warner Bros.

Every cinematic universe needs a theme. Some are stuck in limbo of getting too funny and playful with what were once semi-serious topics. One of the main things James Gunn needs to decide is what his DCU will look like now that he’s crafting the new DCU. One of the best ideas so far is to aim to be more mature than its MCU counterpart.

For many people, the concept of getting a newer, more mature DC Cinematic Universe seems like a good idea. They have already made an attempt. But Gunn may find that attempts aren’t the name of the game anymore. It’s time to take action and make some real decisions.

What we learned from Zack Snyder

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People are quick to salute or destroy the so-called Snyderverse. Snyder has always had a dark sense of things, from the bronze tones of 300 to the rainy streets of Watchmen. It’s brooding and extreme spirit with meaty characters ready to go.

Zack Snyder took Superman from a Boy Scout dressed in red and blue and turned him into a viciously protective spouse with no concern for collateral damage. It took a grieving Batman and gave him enough PTSD to literally start stigmatizing criminals. He’s a director whose view of heroes is that they’re above heroism and just bullies. That being said, Snyder’s version of DC’s heroes was more grounded. It was a vision of what this life does to people. There was a bit of humor, but that was Whedon’s fault. This take on heroes sets Marvel’s Snyderverse apart significantly. Maybe he was onto something.

The distinction between mature and morose

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Gunn should look to Snyder for the maturity of his work. It’s the one piece that stands out from the MCU. Tony Stark is a sarcastic playboy who finds purpose and some joy in impersonating Iron Man. Batman is a dark soul who impersonates Bruce Wayne in an effort to fit in. However, and this is where Snyder lost track, Batman doesn’t have to be horribly extreme. It must be a cautionary tale of what happens when a person leaves PTSD unchecked. The thing with Batman is who he surrounds himself with. The point Snyder missed is that part of Batman’s maturity is who he chooses to associate with. Gunn can use it while remaining true to character.

The same goes for Superman. Deep down, he is very aware of who he is and how he stands out from those around him. However, her whole life was filled with love and emotion. He loves his foster parents, he’s madly in love with Lois Lane, and he’ll do anything to protect them, but Snyder has gone too far. He made Superman forget about everyone. The character must be faithful to its origins. Superman is not disgusted with humanity. He has a deep love for the human race. At the very least, its main objective should be to reduce the number of human victims.

Snyder showed us a version of Superman we were meant to fear, with raw, unchecked power. But Superman is the hero. He may struggle with this role, but when he’s most vulnerable, Lois is there. Or Wonder Woman, or even Batman with a sneaky dig to get his friend back on his feet.

These characters are human and have motivations. The reason they work is because they balance each other out and have support systems. James Gunn can take the high road and show how an alien can be more human and a would-be psychopath deliberately gives himself a support structure. That’s what adults do.

The James Gunn Effect

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If Gunn’s first attempt is to follow Snyder or Feige, he’s already dead in the water. But just like Snyder, Gunn has his own pedigree, like Brightburn and The Suicide Squad. These are his vision of the superhero. They are a bit bloodier but never lose their charm. They are relatable while being completely alien. We start The Suicide Squad with Peacemaker as the jerk and end with a show about this character that draws a lot of people.

We love Spider-Man because he’s a darling little teenager in tights, having fun swinging through New York. We are linked because we all want to do this. But we relate to Batman because we all know how devastating the violent death of two parents can be on someone. We understand that a person can push themselves too far. But this person is not a hero. This person is a vigilante who does just enough good to be left alone by the police and the real heroes.

Where does Gunn go from here?

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Gunn will make his universe look and feel the way he wants. The hope is that he can find like-minded admins to help him out. It needs writers who know the source material, because you can be sure an adult audience will. Perhaps it starts with lesser characters and gradually involves the big three, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, in an effort to build its world. Whatever the order, it would be wise to look for originality and a creative direction different from what its predecessors or rivals expect.

Why James Gunn Needs To Push For A More Mature DC Universe | Pretty Reel