The New Superman Is Doomed Before It Begins For One Unavoidable Reason

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

Despite what the Snyder bros will tell you, the DCEU has been an unmitigated failure, continually losing ground to the MCU and running some iconic characters into the ground. James Gunn is hoping to help those characters soar again with the DCU, but this burgeoning cinematic universe is doomed before it begins for one simple reason. We’re talking about the supervillain scarier than Doomsday, Lex Luthor, and David Zsaslav combined: superhero fatigue.

Superhero Fatigue Has Already Doomed The New DCU

Considering how badly the MCU has been falling off recently, you might think the DCU has a chance to come strong out of the gate in 2025 with Superman: Legacy. However, that belief assumes that the MCU’s diminishing returns are simply a matter of the films being poorly written, acted, and directed.

That may be true of some of them (Quantumania springs to mind), but it looks like the MCU has been affected more by an audience apathy for superhero films that the DCU won’t be able to escape.

Marvel Is To Blame

Make no mistake here: Disney killed the golden goose by attempting to transform the early success of the theatrical MCU into a nonstop firehouse of content intended to keep customers subscribed to Disney+. Part of what made movies like Endgame feel special is that they were like major events…Marvel films didn’t clog the big screen or small screen at the time. Now, the bad box office of movies like The Marvels reveals that audiences just aren’t interested in a film that would require them to watch two barely related TV shows on a separate streaming service just to understand what’s going on.

James Gunn Plans To Make The DCU More Like Marvel

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Unfortunately, James Gunn seems to be copying that same formula with the DCU. In addition to feature films like Superman: Legacy, the DCU will have Max television shows like Lanterns whose stars and stories will play a part in the movies. Gunn’s intent is clearly to build the kind of interconnected film and television universe that the MCU has, but considering how highly-anticipated MCU shows like Secret Invasion have flopped, it’s clear that the audience for small-screen superhero shenanigans is not guaranteed for the DCU.

How The DCU Can Turn Things Around

The great irony here is that there is a very easy way for the MCU to regain its glamor and for the DCU to become a success, but it is a method that Disney and Warner Bros. executives will never embrace. Simply put, each universe should try creating smaller, experimental movies and TV shows whose lower budgets will translate to more creative adventures with more diverse characters.

That’s honestly what made Netflix Marvel shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones a success: the smaller scale of each series led to character-driven stories with realistic stakes that didn’t require any familiarity with previous Marvel films like Avengers.

However, after movies like Endgame and Captain Marvel each earned Disney over a billion dollars at the box office, executives began frantically hoping every superhero movie would earn that much. But you have to spend money to gain money, which is why both Marvel and DC threw piles and piles of money at productions like The Flash and The Marvels.

But by the time these bloated, big-budget hit theaters, audiences were so worn out by the combination of bad films and boring TV shows that they didn’t show up, turning each movie into a box office failure. 

No Character Investment

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The final nail in the coffin for the DCU and perhaps even the MCU is that each franchise has gone out of its way to ensure hardly anybody cares about these characters anymore. In the MCU, the existence of multiversal Variants means that every major sacrifice is meaningless because dead characters can be replaced by multiversal doppelgangers at any time.

Meanwhile, the DCU will be giving us our second Superman and our third Batman in a span of less than 15 years; how can they expect audiences to commit to a cinematic universe when these universes and the actors behind these characters keep changing?

The End Of Superhero Films Is Nigh

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We don’t want to sound like haters, and we genuinely hope that the DCU will be such a rousing success that we’ll have to eat our cape and cowl regarding these predictions. But right now, superhero fatigue is worse than it has ever been, and the entire genre looks like it may be heading into the sunset like Westerns before it. In that case, the DCU may be doomed to become like the DC cowboy character Jonah Hex: outdated, ugly, and mostly ignored by all but the most hardcore fans.

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