Fair warning: this may be a difficult subject to address, and hardcore DC fans probably aren’t going to like it much. Interventions are never easy, and when it comes to the newly announced Deathstroke movie, as well as the wider DCEU, a lot of people find it difficult to stay objective on this matter.
In other words, you’re welcome to vent on social media if you hate this article, nobody’s going to be offended if you disagree with what’s said. Just please, give this subject some thought.
DC is making too many movies.
Okay, yeah, it’s easy to see how that could come across as inflammatory. After all, Marvel’s making a bunch of films, so why shouldn’t DC be doing the same?
But the problem isn’t that there are too many comic book movies starring DC characters – the issue is that DC is working on making too many movies, all at the same time, right now.
Currently at some stage in development we have Justice League, an unnamed sequel, Wonder Woman 2, Aquaman, The Flash/Flashpoint, Shazam!, Black Adam, Nightwing, Batgirl, Green Lantern Corps, The Batman, a Joker origin story, and now Deathstroke.
That’s eleven movies, currently in development right this second. Some are almost finished, others don’t get have directors, but they’re all on the books at DC.
Up to this point, we’ve had a grand total of four films set in the DCEU, spread out over four years. DC has been struggling to put out two movies a year (not least because of the consistent reshoot problem the studio’s been facing the past couple of years), but now, they’ve kicked things up into high gear, and are working on eleven movies concurrently.
With the new Deathstroke movie in particular, this feels like reactionary moviemaking. Fans were excited to see Joe Manganiello as Slade Wilson, but when the character got dropped from the now indefinitely delayed The Batman (which was supposed to have been in post-production by this point), DC seems to have decided to give the fans what they want and let the character have his own movie.
It’s not entirely dissimilar to the issue with Shazam! And Black Adam, where one movie quickly evolved into two films because Dwayne Johnson found himself far more interested in the villain’s story than anything else when he sat down to work on a Captain Marvel film.
Fans are rejoicing for the possibility of a solo Deathstroke film, but DC hasn’t yet proven that they’re capable of making so many movies all at once. Heck, even Marvel has never had this many projects at around the same point in development at the same time!
The problem is not that DC can’t make good films (that’s been argued to death elsewhere and you’ve already made your mind up about where you stand on that matter); the problem is that no studio of DC’s size, regardless of talent, can juggle this many balls without something slipping.
This is especially true when we’re talking about a movie that exists not because any of the creators involved have a strong idea of what they want to make, but because the film looks good on paper based on fan interest.
This is the same logic that’s giving us a Venom movie – without anything to pin the movie on, and with DC taking on so many projects all at once, it’s hard to imagine that Deathstroke will ever actually happen, let alone actually be a watchable film when all is said and done.
A cynic might suggest that DC is deliberately greenlighting a bunch of cool-sounding projects just to see what people react best to, and that the studio will cancel anything that gets too difficult if it’s not proven popular enough.
That’s probably not what’s going on here. DC Entertainment simply wants to please fans, and to give us the movies that we want.
The problem comes from trying to do too much, all at once, in a desperate attempt to catch up the industry leaders like Marvel and, to a lesser extent, Fox. DC just wants to give us a bunch of cool movies.
The problem is that if the studio hasn’t found a direction for the DCEU that clicks with the majority of filmgoers while working on one or two movies at a time, once this big backlog of newly announced projects all hit solid production at around the same time, it’s hard to be optimistic about the reception these finished movies will receive.
Hopefully things will work out, but now might not be the right time to get too excited about the Deathstroke movie.
Heck, even when we get a trailer, it’s too soon to make assumptions. DC movies always look great in the trailers.
Let’s all cross our fingers that this turns out well, but let’s also not get too worked up if Deathstroke, along with a lot of DC’s other in-development properties, and up struggling because the studio simply has too much on its plate.