To say that the DC live-action film universe is a confused mess would be an understatement. On the one hand, DC wants to emulate the success of the MCU. However, it also doesn't want to look like it's just aping their movies. Then DC wants to make blockbuster superhero franchises, but it also wants to be known for serious, Oscar-worthy fare.
With such a wide range of occasionally self-contradictory goals, the live-action Justice League movies and related franchises have established a strange pattern for what can and cannot be done with the films.
9 No Inter-Mingling Of The Heroes
2017's Justice League was supposed to be the triumphant coming together of the most iconic superhero team in all of comics, but the film was anything but a triumph. Getting critically derided and failing to beat the box-office records of The Avengers, which had come several years before it, Justice League forced DC to rethink their approach to their film franchises. One result of this new approach is that there are no further plans for a shared movie universe.
That means there won't be another Justice League movie anytime soon. Heroes like Aquaman and Wonder Woman will basically do their own thing in their own movies without meeting each other. So don't hold out hope for an Infinity War type DC film in the near future.
8 No TV Crossover
Agents of SHIELD is the TV continuation of the MCU. Other Marvel shows like The Defenders have also been confirmed to take place in the MCU, meaning there is a chance of seeing your favorite MCU characters on these shows someday. While DC also has a string of successful TV shows on the CW, it has been confirmed that the DC shows and the DC movies belong to different realities, and never the twain shall meet.
The possibility of a crossover is further reduced by the fact that the shows and the movies have frequently used different actors to play the same characters, which can be difficult to explain within the narrative.
7 Give The Director Free Reign, Then Interfere
Say what you will about Man Of Steel, but it was the unique and singular vision of Zack Snyder. Then the movie was torn down by critics and the studio started getting antsy. The result was that the sequel to Man of Steel and Justice League were both directed by Snyder, but then heavily edited to meet the demands of studio executives.
And the quality of the movies suffered because of all the interference. The DCEU would be a much more coherent franchise today if the studio had stuck to one person's vision for the franchise instead of allowing too many cooks to spoil the broth.
6 Ways To Joke Around
DC was anxious to set itself apart as the more serious counterpart to the often too-quippy MCU. With the failure of the light-hearted Green Lantern and the success of The Dark Knight Trilogy, there was a report that Warner Brothers allegedly decided on a strict 'no-joking around' policy.
This policy led to the bleak and depressing Snyderverse that was heavily criticized for taking all the fun out of superhero movies. Once again, DC got into course correction mode with Justice League going out of its way to add unnecessary humor and jokes to the storyline. This strategy finally seems to be working, with the more light-hearted Aquaman becoming the highest grossing DCEU movie yet.
5 Show Up In Theme Parks
Considering how strict Warner Brothers are about the League not showing up on TV or in each other's movies, you would think they would be equally strict about other appearances by the heroes. But Warner has no problem using the League's likeness to sell tickets at their amusement parks.
The Warner Brothers theme park has entire sections dedicated to the Justice League. You can expect to meet the heroes, or at least, park employees dressed like them, and you can also go on rides taken from their stories, like the Arkham Asylum Shock Therapy Roller Coaster.
4 Multiple Character Interpretations
When Jared Leto appeared as the Joker in Suicide Squad, the world collectively gave a shrug and went back to talking about how awesome Heath Ledger's portrayal of the character was. While Leto is set to make a comeback as the character in a spin-off DC movie, there is also another Joker origin movie in the works featuring Joaquin Pheonix.
And if having two actors play the same character in the DCEU sounds confusing, too bad! As we've mentioned before, the DC movie universe is going to be a much more fluid concept from now on, with characters apparently existing in separate realities that have nothing to do with each other's movies.
3 Make Everything About Batman
Superman used to be the golden boy for DC Comics for the longest time. But then The Dark Knight trilogy happened, as well as the Arkham game series, and Batman became arguably the most popular comic book character in the world. With the introduction of Ben Affleck's Batman in the DCEU, he was quickly established as the center of the narrative.
Batman V Superman was supposed to be a Superman sequel, but it ended up becoming all about Batman's personal arc at the expense of Superman's storyline. Justice League also saw Batman take center stage as the leader of the League, a position that had historically been occupied by Superman.
2 Shorten The Time Frame
Another major criticism for Man of Steel and BVS was that they were too long. Keeping this in mind, Warner Brothers ordered their next film, Justice League, to stick to a two-hour time limit. This movie was supposed to introduce several new heroes as well as the main villain Steppenwolf and his overlord Darkseid.
Naturally, there wasn't nearly enough time to fit so many storylines in. As a result, Justice League came out a jumbled, confused mess with characters that had little backstory for the audience to connect to. Drastic cuts were made to the film's original length, which resulted in significant parts of the narrative being removed from the final product.
1 Ignore Continuity And Character History
The problem that some fans have with the DCEU is how drastically it has altered iconic characters. Superman went from being the beacon of hope for the world to an unsmiling alien who always looks either pained or bored. Batman went from being a stealthy detective to a rage-filled, middle-aged vigilante who doesn't think twice before taking someone's life.
Barry Allen went from being a serious and powerful superhero to a comic relief side character. Wonder Woman eschewed her role as a royal princess and the ambassador of peace to man's world from the comics to become a sword-wielding Xena knockoff. Only Jason Mamoa's Aquaman seems to have made a change for the better after arriving on the big screen.