While this particular sub-genre of Action/Fantasy films has been enjoying a newfound respectability from an industry that used to treat these projects like red-headed stepchildren, Marvel Studios deserves the lion's share of the credit for ushering in this whole new world. Unlike others, I'm not inclined to single out any single performer, director, or creator as being so key that he, she, or it couldn't have been replaced somewhere or sometime along the way, but there are no doubt some key movers and shakers who are all-too-happy to take such credit. So far as I honestly care, I'm interesting in see good stories told with a degree of passion and professionalism; as such, I'm just happy to see this train moving down the tracks.
Where I do tend to diverge from the group think in the whole DC Vs Marvel argument is this whole buggaboo about managing them.
For example, Kevin Feige has done an incredible job in cementing Marvel Studios as a hugely successful cornerstone for the Walt Disney Company. He's hired good talent. He's recruited top storytellers. He's insisted on an internal continuity to all of these various productions, tying them together with crossovers and cameos, much to the delight of Marvel's most ardent fans. And he's certainly kept his eyes on an awful lot of moving pieces, so much so that it's easy to agree he's probably the person best-suited to do what needs to be done in that universe.
In comparison (with a notable exception here or there I'm not getting into because that's not the point of this piece), the DC Universe films have been all over the map. Some have been embraced as cultural and creative blockbusters (the Batman films from Christopher Nolan), while the rest ... well, they know who they are so I'll leave them functionally unnamed at this point. It's this lack of a figurehead behind-the-scenes some argue have accounted for low to zero cohesiveness in these various projects, and fans have long clamored for Warner Bros. to "put up or shut up" in finding their own version of Feige to pick up the slack.
So ... egads ...
It's been reported that James Gunn and Peter Safran -- two names that have been joined at the hip for some time now -- have been blessed with stewardship of the all-new DC Studios ... meaning that now we're even basically copying Marvel's production house namesake as we are their storytelling sensibilities, it might seem. (For those unaware, Gunn was responsible for bringing the Guardians Of The Galaxy films to the silver screen.) While some of the reporting indicates that Warner Bros. top honcho David Zaslav -- a name met with probably as much controversy as Gunn's has been historically -- will still be involved in perhaps some way, audiences need either find comfort or seek refuge in knowing that changes are a'brewing on the DC horizon.
If anything, the timing of this announcement seems a bit suspect to me.
Though Zaslav had promised a central braintrust was being considered for the DC projects, media reports (cough cough) had almost been unanimous in implying that this responsibility would somehow be falling onto actor Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's shoulders. (Can you smell what he's cooking?) Johnson himself has even appeared to have been laying the groundwork for such responsibility, taking each and every occasion over the last year to hype up his Black Adam (2022) as being the golden-jeweled gamechanger Warner Bros' needed. However, only a week or two into Black Adam's respectable but far from gamechanging box office performance, the big Zas annointed Gunn and Safran with the shared crown. (No word yet on what all of this might mean for Johnson's political future, but maybe he'll be teaming up with Stacey Abrams in that whole 'President Of The Universe' title for Star Trek on Paramount+.)
I've always said that I, as a viewer, rarely invest too much interest in cast and crew information because I've learned -- over time -- that ultimately what matters to me is a good story. Good stories endure. They can feature both good and bad actors, and they often times are blessed (or cursed) with the involvement and skilled cooperation of good and bad directors, writers, craftspeople, and the like. I will say that Gunn's predilection for quirky characters -- with even quirkier, darker, and more subversive situations -- may not produce the kind of box office the WB thinks ... but, as always, I'm certainly willing to be proven wrong. Yes. Proven wrong again.