James Gunn argues that the DC Universe (DCU) needs diverse tones, challenging the notion that it was the primary issue

James Gunn envisions a more diverse tone for his upcoming DC Universe (DCU) reboot compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), seeking to differentiate from the darker elements of the previous DC Extended Universe (DCEU), often referred to as the “Snyderverse.” Gunn’s emphasis on tonal variety aims to address criticisms of the MCU being overly comedic and similar, aiming to attract audiences with unique experiences. However, the success of the DCU will hinge on a cohesive plan and identity, as the lack of these elements hindered the DCEU in the past.

Despite Gunn’s emphasis on tonal diversity, it’s crucial to recognize that the DCEU, pre-Snyderverse, already exhibited a wide range of tones. Movies like Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy showcased darkness and grittiness, while others, like the 1960s Batman movie, embraced a campy tone. The Superman movie series also explored various tones, from epic and grounded in the first entry to a more comedic approach in later films. Even within the Snyderverse, there were varying tones, with films like Suicide Squad leaning towards gritty yet goofy, while others, like Aquaman and Shazam!, embraced humor inspired by the MCU.

The critique of the DCEU’s dark tone is valid to some extent, but it oversimplifies the universe’s overall variance. Only specific films, such as Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Zack Snyder’s Justice League, adhered to Zack Snyder’s edgy tone. Other entries, like Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey, and The Flash, exhibited different tones, proving that the DCEU wasn’t a monolithic exercise in darkness. The DCEU’s challenges stemmed more from reactive development, tailoring movies to address criticisms and follow trends, rather than embracing the source material authentically.

To succeed, the DCU must prioritize authenticity, showcasing the best versions of each character on screen without succumbing to popular tropes. By becoming trendsetters rather than followers, DC movies can stand out and captivate audiences. The excitement surrounding James Gunn’s projects and other creatives involved in the DCU signals a potential shift towards this authentic approach, offering hope for the future of DC movies and the superhero genre as a whole.

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