Okay, Warner Bros. Time for us to have another one of those little chats.

Hey, Warner Bros. It’s been a long time. No, I still don’t think the name “Martha” is a sufficient plot development around which to build an entire screenplay, but I don’t want to talk about that. We’re friends; we’ve been friends for a long time. Let’s talk about something else.

So Justice League is a thing. You went waaaaay simpler on the title. That’s good. 

You picked up Joss Whedon for some relief pitching. Tragic why it came to that point, but I think you hired the right guy to finish the job. 

Wonder Woman (the film) and Wonder Woman (the character) are legit, and you doubled down on that. Good; very good. 

Danny Elfman’s doing the score? Is he going to bring back his theme from Batman (1989)? He is? Well, you’ve got a hit on your hands if I’ve ever heard of one.

What’s that? Why wouldn’t you use the Flash you have set up on television? He’s even super dimension-hoppy… Fine, whatever. Flashpoint will sort this all out.

Who’s the villain? Steppenwolf? Like “Born to be Wild”/“Magic Carpet Ride” Steppenwolf? No, he’s a… with horns, you say…? Oh, a helmet. Like the dude at the beginning of Thor: Ragnarok? No, not like that… Why not use Darkseid? You’re wanting to tease that out. :sigh: That’s fine, we can’t blame you for aping a format that certainly has worked for the other guys. Actually, I can blame you for that, but we’ll get to that later.

Wait… What’s that about Henry Cavill’s mustache?

 An actual frame from the movie.

An actual frame from the movie.

 The same frame, unaltered. Don't look it up. Just trust me.

The same frame, unaltered. Don't look it up. Just trust me.

Oh, Warner Bros, you sweet, innocent, beautiful summer child. What have we learned?

All Newhart-esque riffs aside, Zack Snyder’s third film with Superman as a character* is out now, and is fine. While it certainly doesn’t have any of the bewilderingly bad choices that Martha v Martha: Dawn of Martha had**, it still isn’t nearly as thrilling as Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, but plays it far safer than the interesting-in-concept, but uneven Man of Steel (2013). Is it a step in the right direction for the floundering DCEU? No. It actually moves the proceedings back to the gestalt of Mommy v Mommy: Mommy of Mommy; as it turns out, Wonder Woman was the step in the right direction. That right direction, as it turns out, would be to make a bunch (and not just one) really watchable movie, then try to bring those disparate elements into a huge crowd pleaser. If only there was somebody out there that had already done this. That would be marvelous.

And that’s where I come in with some thoughts about the future of the DCEU, especially in light of League’s anemic box office. The internet has already buzzed about the possibility, and several news items have indicated that Warner Bros. may be thinking in this direction, but it may be time to abandon the Marvel business model. DC might have had a chance at being the second person to the party, but too many missed opportunities, murky creative strategies, and well, let’s face it, Marthas mean that DC may never truly get it together. The massive superhero movie continuity may not be possible to replicate. Heck, any massive movie continuity is not likely to have the benefit of a Robert Downey Jr. opening salvo, and thus, falter. Just ask the poor, maligned Universal monsters, who—despite their proud tradition of creating the idea of a cinematic shared universe before 1950—have had to endure now two false starts in twice as many years at uniting their stable of characters.

So don’t try, DC. Be weird. Don’t worry about setting up the next movie. In fact, it might be better if you’re no 100% sure what the next movie will even be. That Scorcese-produced Joker movie? I’d rather you didn’t go back to that well, but as long as Jared Leto stays home, I’m in. Flashpoint could cleanse the palette, give Affleck a dignified*** exit, allow Gal Gadot to keep making Wonder Woman movies in perpetuity, and restore Henry Cavill’s upper lip to its once-humanoid glory…

But what do I really want you to do DC? What is the only Christmas wish this boy has on his list?

You know what I’m about to say.

Last year, I wrote here on the blog about how I would have preferred DC handle its shared universe. It didn’t involve Affleck, and it didn’t really involve Batman, per se. You didn’t take that course here, but if you are truly giving up the ghost on being Marvel-lite, can I ask for one movie to be included in your increasingly Elseworlds-esque slate…

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Batman Beyond… with Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne. You can even bring back Danny Elfman to do the score.

Get that done, Warner Bros., and everything will be forgiven. Including any and all Marthas that may come up between now and then.

 

 

 

*Spoiler alert? Can something be a spoiler alert if the bit of info is built out of pure inevitability? These are the questions I ponder at night when sleep eludes me.

**Although it still did manage to include an irritating tag scene with profoundly miscast Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor.

***He wants a “cool” way out of the role, and presumably never have to talk about it again, but I think the “best Batman to never be in a good Batman movie” can be erased from existence via the Cosmic treadmill, right?

ICYMI: THE FIRST SEASON FINALE OF THE FOURTH WALL

In typing this "ICYMI" entry, I am performing my last entry as the show runner of The Fourth Wall's first season. I hope you've enjoyed the season, and the episode.

I've been hanging out around here for over a year, but now it's time to leave for a while. As I leave, I see shopkeepers putting up tinsel around their store fronts. Reggie isn't happy about it. Where recently there stood a Starbucks, the Watson Memorial is under construction. On their way to The Board Room, Abigail and Hawthorne are arguing about... something. It sounds bleak.

I kind of wish I could tell them what's going to happen to them in the future, but that's not the way this works. Doesn't make me any less responsible for it, I suppose...

As I enter one of the gate generators, none other than Orson Welles is waiting for me.

"Shall we, young man?" he asks.

"Sure," I reply. "But just one last time. Also, I didn't know you were fictional."

He contorts his right eyebrow, and I put my hands up in supplication. "I'm kidding. Let's go."

I take one last look around. It feels like an ending, and yet, I know I will be back. I join Orson in the vehicle and request the Board Room to open a gate to a particular fictional world with which I am familiar. They kindly oblige.

ICYMI: THE FIFTH EPISODE OF THE FOURTH WALL

In case you missed it, find here the fifth--and penultimate--episode of The Fourth Wall's first season. After last week and this week's episode, I can assure you we have expended our budget of downer endings. Next week will be as rousing a finish as I can manage. Still have to finish editing that episode, but perhaps by the time I actually pos this entry, I might be much further along in that process.

ICYMI: THE FOURTH EPISODE OF THE FOURTH WALL (GET IT?)

In case you missed it, find here the fourth episode of The Fourth Wall. Hopefully, the ending hasn't been spoiled yet. If it has, there are still plenty of surprises in store before the season finale in a couple of weeks. Don't worry; it all ends well... Mostly. Anyone else had recurring dreams about what they were going to do when the season is over? No? Just me. That's fine. Back to work! 

ICYMI: THE FOURTH WALL'S first tie-in book: HAVE TIME, WILL TRAVEL

I'm usually against the idea of guilty pleasures. In the same regard, I'm a sucker for a media tie-in book. So, when the idea to write a "Pick the Plot" story in the universe of The Fourth Wall, I jumped at the chance. I even turned my musings on the subject into a post here on the blog

As the radio show took a break this week, we at PNAL released said book. It's available on the kindle store as I type. Find it here.

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When will it be available in paperback??? Well, to answer that: 

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Your guess is as good as mine, but I'll be sure to keep you posted. #createspacesucks

ICYMI: Episode three of THE FOURTH WALL

In case you missed it, find here the third episode The Fourth Wall. It should probably bear mentioning that the episode is a work of fiction, and that any resemblance to people or events is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

It should also bear mentioning that in The Fourth Wall, the above distinction is essentially meaningless.

This week, the show will be down, as we complete post production on the second half of the season. But worry not. The Fourth Wall, Pick the Plot #1: "Have Time, Will Travel" will be released, to sate you until episode 4 launches next week.