When James Gunn declared that the DC films shepherded by him and Peter Safran, the two co-CEOs of DC Studios, would fall under the banner of DCU, several fans raised their eyebrows. While many praised Gunn for moving away from the DCEU by establishing a separate universe that was free of the previous baggage, others thought that making the acronym almost similar to the MCU was a declaration of war.
While that’s a tad bit dramatic, the general sentiment among DC fans and general audiences alike is that Gunn will bring about a DC renaissance that will allow the franchise to finally get its bearings and compete with the MCU. Now, even Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo thinks that the Marvel universe and Kevin Feige need to be wary of what’s coming.
Mark Ruffalo Warns Marvel Of James Gunn’s DCU
At Emerald City Comic Con, MCU’s Mark Ruffalo, who has portrayed the Hulk/Bruce Banner since 2012’s “The Avengers,” was asked what sort of advice he would like to give DC since it is seemingly undergoing a full reboot. The actor instead flipped the question on its head and said that Marvel should be wary of James Gunn because he’s a gifted filmmaker who is going to take the DC franchise to new heights.
Gunn has directed the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise for the MCU and made the lesser-known Marvel characters household names. In fact, rumors are that the director has knocked it out of the park one last time with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” and satisfactorily ended the franchise. If the speculations are true, then this will be a hit that the MCU desperately needs after its poor critical streak with Phase 4 films and now even poorer commercial response from the very first film of Phase 5, “Ant-Man 3.”
Gunn has also made two projects for DC: 2021’s “The Suicide Squad” film and 2022’s “Peacemaker” series. The movie received rave reviews, and even though it was released at the height of the pandemic, it still managed to rake in more than $160 million on a rumored $185 million budget. As per Parrot Analytics, it is one of the best-performing DC films on HBO Max as well. “Peacemaker” too drew in an enviable audience for a show about a D-list character that was first introduced in Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad.” So the director has been able to work his magic with obscure characters. As such, chances are that with big IPs like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, he is going to work wonders.
Also, the new DCU slate announced by him is enviable. It’s interesting to note that the co-CEO of DC Studios is experimenting with different genres. For example, it’s rumored that the Wonder Woman prequel series, “Paradise Lost,” will be inspired by “House of the Dragon,” while the “Lantern” show will be in the vein of “True Detective.” While Marvel has set the standard for superhero films, it won’t be too dismissive to say that they haven’t experimented with genres and filmmaking styles as much as they could have. As such, if Gunn’s plan works, then the audience’s support could turn in favor of the DCU.
The MCU Fatigue And Phase 5 Troubles
After “Avengers: Endgame,” there was a widespread belief among MCU fans that the franchise’s best days were behind it, and henceforth it would go on a downward spiral. While that’s a sweeping generalization, it can’t be denied that the MCU isn’t what it used to be. Not only are audiences fed up with the barrage of subpar shows the franchise is pouring out on Disney+, but they are also tired of the sub-standard VFX work. The latest offering of the franchise, “Ant-Man 3,” highlighted a lot of the same problems that MCU worshippers have been complaining about since the last year.
As such, there’s a fatigue or sadness that has set in among fans of the superhero genre. James Gunn and his DCU can capture the MCU’s audience by offering quality superhero films that hit the mark. After all, even the boss of Warner Bros. Discovery has stated that he wants DC to compete with Marvel, so it’s certain that DC is gearing up to take on the behemoth franchise that started the superhero craze. However, the journey isn’t going to be easy. The MCU has years of fan goodwill that isn’t going to be easy to earn compared to the DC universe, which has been riddled with controversies.
Also, even though “Ant-Man 3” got a poor Rotten Tomatoes score, it is still slated to earn $500 million globally. That speaks of Marvel’s strong fandom, which will come out to support any film of theirs regardless of critical scores or poor audience reviews. DC still doesn’t have that footprint, and it will surely take them some time to build up that formidable global fanbase. But it can’t be denied that it will be interesting to see the two mega franchises clash at the box office.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” arrives in theaters on May 5.