If there’s one thing people can agree on when it comes to the DC Extended Universe, it’s that people don’t agree. You’ve got your ardents; people who loved Man of Steel’s grit but still embraced Wonder Woman’s more traditional heroic story. Then you’ve got your detractors; the folks perplexed by recent DCEU headline-grabbers (think Suicide Squad’s development and release), or who simply chose sides in the comic wars long, long ago.
Then you’ve got…Henry Cavill. Ahead of next month’s Justice League release, Superman himself recently told The Rake (via Collider) he’s taken a long, circumspect look at the evolution of the DCEU movie cycle, and he’s sharing remarkable candor about where the DC universe has been — as well as his optimism about where it’s headed next.
Other DCEU stars have certainly had their say, but Cavill’s among those in the DC pantheon who’d love to see future films achieve that elusive confluence of box office payday and critical acclaim. He acknowledges the success Marvel has had in that regard, but it’s clear he doesn’t view DCEU’s challenges as an “us-versus-them” matter.
“Even if Marvel didn’t exist, we’d struggle,” he said. “There was a style they [DCEU] were going for, an attempt to be different and look at things from a slightly different perspective, which hasn’t necessarily worked. Yes, it has made money but it has not been a critical success; it hasn’t given everyone that sensation which superheroes should give the viewer.”
If that sounds like a takedown, keep reading. Cavill believes the release and reception of Wonder Woman this year marks a sea change in the way DCEU projects frame their superheroes’ appeal — especially under the scrutiny of ever-skeptical critics, whose early public reactions to a film can make or break its rapport with casual moviegoers.
“I feel like now the right mistakes have been made and they haven’t been pandered [to], and we can start telling the stories in the way they need to be told. It is even better to come back from a mistake or stylistic error into the correct vein because it will make it seem that much stronger," he said. "Wonder Woman was the first step in the right direction.”
He also characterized Wonder Woman as an exemplar of the kind of film the DCEU should be making for a contemporary audience.
“It is the perfect setting in social politics right now, we need it, we want that perspective, and Wonder Woman has struck at the ideal time and has become a phenomenal success, which is fantastic,” he said.
It won’t be long before Cavill’s take has its day: Justice League, with its ensemble cast of heavy hitters (including, of course, both Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Cavill himself as Superman), opens in wide release on Nov. 17.