The past year was a pretty big one for DC movies. Not only did 2017 see the release of the critically-acclaimed Wonder Woman, it also brought us the first live-action portrayal of the Justice League. Both movies were a gamble for DC, and both managed to draw quite a bit of fanfare. Wonder Woman was beloved by fans and critics. The movie shattered box office records left and right, and it was also quite notable for featuring a female superhero as its lead. In a cinematic climate that is very male-oriented, many looked at the movie as a first big step in the right direction.
Then came Justice League. Although the movie had many supporters, it failed to connect with audiences the way Wonder Woman did. On top of that, many felt disappointed by the movie’s rushed quality, which led to very vocal criticism online. What should have been a banner year for DC was anything but and now, CBR turns its attention to all three DC movies released this year. Yes, three. It might seem so long ago, but The LEGO Batman Movie was also released in 2017. Here, CBR takes stock of all three movies to list the 15 most controversial DC movie moments of the year.
15. IRON MAN SUCKS
After a strong showing in The LEGO Movie, the character of Batman got his own spin-off film, which many considered to be fantastic, one that was even better than DC’s most recent live-action efforts. With so much humor and fourth wall-breaking at work, the movie was able to assume just how popular Batman is as a character, and wear that fact on its sleeve.
In the opening of The LEGO Batman Movie, Batman returns home to his batcave by activating his secret password: “Iron Man sucks!” While the joke made many laugh, it was also controversial because it was an on-screen portrayal of the very real Marvel/DC rivalry. Many fans believe that Marvel has far superior movies than DC, and that this was just DC’s way of “subtly” attacking Marvel.
14. JUSTICE LEAGUE’S RETCON OF SUPERMAN
In both Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman, Superman was a very dark character. In both of his movies, we saw him struggle to find his way on Earth, and we saw how much the weight of the world took its toll on him. He was a quiet and brooding character who barely cracked a smile, and yet the very opening of Justice League looked to erase that fact completely.
The superhero ensemble movie opened with cellphone-shot footage of Superman on the street being interviewed by a child. The character’s responses were lighthearted, he smiled and seemed quite friendly. It was undoubtedly refreshing to see Superman be the source of hope he was always meant to be, but the truth of the matter is that Justice League effectively did away with the dark Superman of prior movies by telling the audience “See? He was always like that.”
13. OBVIOUS RE-SHOOTS IN JUSTICE LEAGUE
Even when we were going in to see Justice League, we already knew that the film had gone through many re-shoots. Although Zack Snyder had filmed most of the film, WB brought in Avengers director Joss Whedon to change the tone and direction of the team-up movie. To that end, the movie had to shoot new scenes, and change already existing scenes to fit Whedon’s mandated vision.
While many fans were disappointed to see that the movie didn’t feel like Zack Snyder’s established DCEU tone, there was also the fact that many scenes glimpsed in the movie’s trailers never made it into the final cut of the film. But all of that pales in comparison to instances where it was clear that the movie had gone through re-shoots mid-scene, as evidenced by the actors’ different haircuts and looks, or the obvious use of green screen.
12. DC MOVIES HATE GREEN LANTERN
It was bad enough that The LEGO Movie introduced a Green Lantern that was nothing more than a joke, inexplicably turning one of DC’s coolest characters into an ineffective fool. And while The LEGO Batman Movie had the chance to set the record straight, it instead continued that trend by once again showcasing how weak and unloved Green Lantern was.
Then, for Justice League, there had been many rumors that the Green Lantern would have some sort of unspecified role in the film. Many were hoping to see him join the ranks of the team by movie’s end, but sadly that wasn’t the case. Instead, two unnamed Green Lantern officers appeared in a cameo capacity during a flashback sequence where they were killed. For some reason, it seems like DC isn’t all that concerned with making Green Lantern a household name.
11. THEMYSCIRA’S CONFUSING ACCENTS
While almost everyone can agree that Wonder Woman was a (pun intended) wonderful film, there are some that were able to find some faults in it. One of these faults was found on Themyscira, where it could be noticed that the Amazons had different accents. It seems like, the more time we spent there, not two of them spoke the same.
This is actually confusing considering that all Amazons inhabit Themyscira together. Since they have all lived in the same place together for countless years, these immortals surely should speak the same. And yet, some of them spoke with more of a Middle-Eastern accent, while others sounded European or more British. This might not be a big concern, but it does make us wonder why the film couldn’t settle on one definite accent for the Amazons.
10. WONDER WOMAN’S ARES REVEAL
Before Wonder Woman hit theaters, many fans wondered if Ares, the God of War, would have a role to play in the film. DC tried to keep this reveal a secret, but things like the release of a LEGO set kept the rumor alive. The movie itself played the Ares card with a great deal of mystery, making the audience wonder if the evil god was truly real or not.
Ultimately, Ares was real, and many fans felt disappointed with his reveal. He wasn’t a giant, like the LEGO set hinted at, and he wasn’t particularly menacing. In what was a very solid film, Ares came off as a disappointment, a character whose motives were vague and whose brotherly connection with Diana should have been explored with more depth.
9. STEPPENWOLF’S MOTHER
To face off against the six heroes of the Justice League, the ensemble movie needed a villain worthy of standing toe-to-toe with any one of them. While most fans expected Darkseid, they were instead given Steppenwolf, a general of Apokolips. Although Steppenwolf led the invasion of Earth, he proved to be an ineffective villain that wasn’t incredibly compelling.
His generic monologues were made all the more strange thanks to his constant use of the word “mother.” While this was obviously a reference to the three Mother Boxes, it was very confusing to see the villain devote his plans to this “mother.” There are rumors that there was more story to tell about this, but with so much left on the cutting room floor, we will just have to accept the fact that Steppenwolf called his doomsday weapon “mother” for some reason.
8. THE CAVILL MUSTACHE
One of the most unfortunate casualties of the Justice League re-shoots is the now infamous Henry Cavill mustache. You’ve probably heard of this story by now – the actor had to keep his mustache for another movie he was filming while shooting extra scenes for Justice League. To keep the movie’s continuity intact, the mustache would be digitally removed later, in post-production.
The only problem was that the results were absolutely terrifying, and downright obvious. It truly looks like more time should have been devoted to the special effects used to shave Superman. The character’s face looks digital in half of his scenes, with a smile that looks anything but natural. This in part helped audiences instantly pinpoint which scenes were re-shoots, and which were from Snyder’s original cut, and it took some people right out of the movie.
7. FLASH FALLS INTO WONDER WOMAN’S CHEST
In her own solo movie, Wonder Woman managed to communicate to audiences everywhere how strong of a character she was. She was defined by her gender as much as her heroism. The fact that she was a woman simply made it all the more important. The movie in part helped make progress along that front, proving that a quality, financially successful female-led superhero movie was truly possible.
The character became a source of inspiration for many, and a feminist icon all over again. And yet, the Justice League movie took the time to devote a joke to Flash falling face-first into Wonder Woman’s cleavage. Many saw this as an obvious step backward against the character, who shouldn’t be reduced to such juvenile comedy. The fact that the joke also took place in Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, between Black Widow and Bruce Banner, also didn’t help.
6. WONDER WOMAN’S CONFUSING POWERS
As the Wonder Woman movie progressed, the Amazon Princess’ power set was roughly the same. She was strong, she could jump, she could fight, and she had her bracelets and lasso. But, in her final fight against Ares, Wonder Woman exhibited a slew of new superpowers thanks to her status as a demigod. This surge of power, which came at a crucial moment, left many perplexed.
Displaying an impressive feat of strength, Diana was able to summon some type of wall that shielded her from whatever debris Ares hauled at her. This energy shattered anything that came into contact with. On top of that, Diana was also able to control and redirect lightning onto Ares to kill him. All of these powers would have surely been helpful in the fight against Doomsday, not to mention Steppenwolf and the Parademons.
5. THE DEATH OF STEVE TREVOR
Steve Trevor proved himself a great addition to the cast of the Wonder Woman film. The character was just as crucial as Diana, which is no small feat considering that Steve has never been the most important character in the comics. Their love story was real and palpable, and Gal Gadot and Chris Pine managed to put a ton of heart into the movie.
However, Steve’s death is one that was quite surprising. He may not be a superhero, but he is a mainstay in both the Wonder Woman comics and the larger DCU, which makes his death quite shocking. The character has quite a bit of story left to tell, and many would have liked to see a whole lot more of him. Now, there’s a rumor floating around that Pine might return for the Wonder Woman sequel — perhaps DC realized it shouldn’t have gotten rid of him so quickly.
4. THE AMAZONS’ MORE REVEALING JUSTICE LEAGUE OUTFITS
The culture and look of the Amazons was firmly established in the Wonder Woman film. The movie devoted a lot of time in showcasing where Diana Prince came from, and how she was brought up to be a fierce warrior. In the film, we didn’t just get to know Diana, we also got a sense of the community she was a part of. The Amazons were strong characters that inspired many fans, who had no idea who these women were before.
However, what was once established in the Amazon Princess’ solo film was done away with in Justice League. In fact, while the outfits of the Amazons were established in Wonder Woman, Justice League instead showcased a different and much more revealing look for the women of Themyscira. Many took offence at the change, which diminished the depiction of these strong warriors as little more than eye candy.
3. STEPPENWOLF DISAPPEARS IN A MAGIC BOOM TUBE
Before Justice League was released, all signs seemed to point to the fact that Darkseid would reveal himself as the main villain of the film for the final act. But that wasn’t the case at all. Instead, the Justice League combined their efforts to defeat Steppenwolf. But ultimately, the superhero team wasn’t the one to vanquish the villain. Instead, the Parademons took care of that.
While they attacked their former master, both Steppenwolf and the remaining Parademons disappeared into a Boom Tube that seemed to appear out of nowhere. The Boom Tubes are teleportation tunnels created by the Mother Boxes, and no one present in the scene was responsible for creating it. Some theorized that it came from Darkseid, but the fact that this unexplained mystery is how the villain was defeated created a lot of confusion for fans.
2. WONDER WOMAN ENDING RETCONS BVS
In Batman v. Superman, audiences were introduced to a cold Diana Prince who had closed herself off from the world. After going through a mysterious hardship, Diana had stopped operating as Wonder Woman, instead living the semi-quiet life of a socialite. It was only when Doomsday would manifest itself that she would be forced to reveal herself and intervene once again.
However, the end of the Wonder Woman film effectively contradicted the events of Batman v. Superman. In her own movie, Diana revealed that she would never stop fighting, and that she believed in love above all else. This was a much warmer Diana who would never turn into the person we met in Dawn of Justice. It’s a retcon that was even confirmed by actress Gal Gadot herself.
1. CLARK KENT BACK TO LIFE, UNEXPLAINED
At the end of Dawn of Justice, Superman sacrificed his life to defeat Doomsday. The superhero received a soldier’s burial, but Clark Kent had a much quieter ceremony, attended by some of his friends from work. A newspaper article revealed that Kent, the civilian, had been killed in the Doomsday attack, a victim of collateral damage.
However, believing that he is their only hope in the fight against Steppenwolf, the Justice League bring Superman back to life. While it’s easy for the movie to explain to the world that Superman has returned, that isn’t the case for Clark Kent. In the closing moments of Justice League, we see Kent in Metropolis, in his classic reporter outfit. But how will his return to life be explained to his fellow Daily Planet reporters? As Henry Cavill later revealed, we simply won’t find out.
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