Okay, I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that Grant Gustin, who plays Barry Allen/the Flash on the CW’s wildly popular show, The Flash, wasn’t allowed to play his character in the DC Cinematic Universe. While Grant has been characteristically classy about it, fans were certainly curious why Zack Snyder decided to start over from scratch with the Flash in the films.
I mean, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
Well, Snyder might disagree with how well the Flash is characterized on the CW show. Here’s what he told NY Daily News:
I just don’t think it was a good fit. I’m very strict with this universe and I just don’t see a version where…that (tone is) not our world.
Sure, I get it. The Flash is super lighthearted, and Barry himself is particularly bright and sunny. Just look at this happy smile:
Understandably, Zack Snyder might not want such a sunny character ruining his dark and twisty vibes. And to top it all off, Snyder has even come out to say that Batman and Superman hail from an entirely different universe from The Flash and Arrow (which is evidenced by the Flash/Supergirl crossover ep).
Snyder is still including the Flash in the Justice League movie, and Ezra Miller’s Flash will get his own movie. So clearly, there’s enough there to add him to the DC Cinematic Universe, right?
Side note: I should also point out that word on the street is that, should the Green Arrow find his way to the Justice League too (which he should since he’s a vital part of it), Stephen Amell will probably not be the movie Green Arrow. That brings up an entirely different argument of Zack Snyder inadvertently shooting DC Comics/DCTV in the foot by turning the CW’s Flash and Arrow into the “poor man’s Flash and Green Arrow”. While I could talk about that more, I want to go back to what he said about Grant Gustin and the tone of his Barry Allen.
There was a lot of success behind the Dark Knight trilogy and the dark and twisty-ness that came with it–despite the fact that Batman properties have been lighthearted in the past. Like this:
Or even this:
Of course the Dark Knight trilogy was based on the equally dark and twisty Dark Knight comic book series. Still, there have been plenty of times where Batman is depicted in more lighthearted stories both in movies, series, and comics. Superman, too.
So is Snyder and the DC Cinematic universe making a mistake planting their flag in the dark and twisty superhero camp? After all, Man of Steel didn’t exactly blow the doors off an box office records, and the fact that Brandon Routh has a solid place in the DC TV Universe as Ray Palmer/The Atom on Legends of Tomorrow means that most of us probably forgot that he had a run as Christopher Reeve’s doppelganger/the protector of truth, justice, and the American way in 2006’s Superman Returns.
Meanwhile, the MCU is dominating ALL THE THINGS because they’ve allowed their superheros to be for kids and grown-ups alike. Sure, MCU heroes may have some rough stuff in their backstory, but their films are ultimately fun and uplifting to watch–and just about everyone takes the MCU seriously. Even if you’re over superhero movies and the MCU, there’s no denying that they’re doing something right.
But, Kendall, you say, what about Deadpool? He wasn’t necessarily uplifting and he definitely wasn’t for kids!
I’m so glad you brought Wade up! Let’s talk about Deadpool! Remember when we first met the mouthless, laser-eyed”Deadpool” in the Wolverine movie?
Deadpool fans were pissed. Why? Because that was not our Deadpool. Hell, it wasn’t even Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool, and he played the abomination. The Deadpool we all know and love is foul-mouthed, he’s crass, and any story involving the Merc is hella gory. Deadpool’s origin story is also a heavy one, and unlike a lot of our favorite superheroes, his doesn’t have the happiest of endings. Wade will always be disfigured, and he’ll always be in some sort of pain, despite his healing factor. If anyone has a reason to be dark and twisty, my friends, it’s Wade Wilson.
But he isn’t. Like a lot of us, he masks his pain and anger in snark, silliness, and several asides. And unlike a lot of us, he also masks his anger in wielding weapons and killing bad guys. You know, whatever works for you, Wade.
So when Ryan Reynolds took over making an actual Deadpool movie, he focused on doing it right. As a fan of the Merc himself, he was obsessed with sticking true to the Wade we’ve all come to love, and worked for eleven years to make a Deadpool movie the right way. Which, as we all know now, he did. The movie has exploded at the box office, because it was true to the source material. Reynolds made sure of it. We got a good balance of the tough moments:
and the silly:
They made him feel familiar, right down to the illogical eyes on his costume that change shape depending on what expression Wade is making. By staying true to the source material, they made a solid story that not only brought in new fans to the series, but they also made sure not to alienate their core group of Deadpool fans.
So what does this have to do with Zack Snyder and Grant Gustin? It all comes down to the fans and the source material. Like it or not, Barry Allen isn’t a dark and twisty superhero. He’s just not. Yes, he’s got some demons and a tragic past, but he’s ultimately a pretty upbeat guy. I fear that by forcing DC into this dark, tormented hero box, they’re going to alienate their core fan base–which we saw in Man of Steel when they tried to make a stylistic, darker Superman movie. A superhero doesn’t have to be exclusively for kids, Deadpool proves that, and a dark superhero franchise can work as we saw with the Dark Knight trilogy. However, making a darker, R-rated superhero just to try to bring “legitimacy” to superhero films or make them feel more realistic while not necessarily sticking to the source material is usually where superhero movies tank.
Or not. I could be totally wrong. After all, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman looks crazy badass (and inspired by the New 52 Aquaman), and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman has got me ALL KINDS of excited for her debut in the DCCU. Still, I can’t help but think that Zack Snyder is making a mistake by making all of his DC movies have that darker, stylistic vibe, regardless of what we see in the comics. I hope I’m wrong, but if Deadpool is any indication, comic book movies do much better when they stay true to the source.
What do you think of Zack Snyder’s choice to cast a new actor to play Barry Allen? Do you like the darker vibe that the DC movies have, or do you think it’s too forced? Let me know what you think in the comments!