Blizzard Speaks Up On Hearthstone Player Ban; Reduced Sentence To Six Months

Last week, Blizzard courted controversy with its heavy-handed punishment for pro Hearthstone player blitzchung. For his pro-Hong Kong statement in a post-match interview, Blizzard forfeited blitzchung’s prize money, and banned him in taking part in tourneys for a year. After facing community backlash, it looks like the company walking back a little on that decision.
Company president J. Allen Brack issued a statement which says that blitzchung will get to keep his prize money. His suspension will also be reduced from a full year to six months. The two casters who were fired will also be suspended for six months instead.

Part of Brack’s statement reads “our relationships in China had no influence on our decision”. He goes on to say that if blitzchung had expressed the opposite, he would still be punished the same way. The reasoning behind this is that post-game broadcasts should remain focused on the game, and shouldn’t be used to voice “divisive social or political views”.
Despite the official statement, there are others who have pointed out that Blizzard has officially endorsed divisive views before. Case in point were the Blizzard Pride Pin from back in May of this year alone, and the Pride Day Sweatband from last year.
(Source: Blizzard, Blizzard / Twitter [1], [2] via Reddit)
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Facebook Libra Project Loses Support Of Mastercard, Visa, eBay, Stripe

Facebook’s Libra project may be heading into obscurity before it’s even had a chance to take off. More than a week after PayPal pulled its support for the cryptocurrency, Mastercard, Visa, eBay, and Stripe have reportedly pulled out too, making them the latest backers to distance themselves from the digital currency.
Both Visa and Mastercard made it clear that, while they are pulling out the Libra Association, they say that they are willing to return and work with Facebook and its cryptocurrency in the future. Visa, in particular, said that it will continue to evaluate the situation, as well as the regulating body’s ability to “fully satisfy all requisite regulatory expectations”.
In eBay’s case, the online auction site says that it was shifting its focus on rolling out its managed payment experience for its customers.

Libra’s existence was made official back in June this year, with plans for the cryptocurrency to go live in the year 2020. With so many of its major backers already getting cold feet, though, it’s now unclear if Facebook is still planning of following through with its plan.
It’s not been all smooth sailing for the social network’s cryptocurrency prior to this either. In the US, the country’s lawmakers have cited security and data privacy concerns over Libra, demanding any further development of it to be put on hold. Additionally, the digital currency has already been banned in France and Germany.
(Source: ZDNet, Hot Hardware)
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Box Office: Joker Has Already Made More Money Than Batman Begins, Shazam and Almost All the X-Men Movies

Last week, we reported that Joker did terrific numbers opening weekend despite the fear-mongering by certain portions of American media. The film grossed more than $US 234 million worldwide in its first weekend of release which is a bigger number than Thor: Ragnarok, Wonder Woman, Man of Steel and Venom.
This past weekend, the Todd Phillips masterpiece continued its phenomenal run at the box office. Over in North America, the film raked in an additional $US 55 million in its second weekend, bringing its total to $US 192.73 million. What’s even more bonkers is that these numbers signify a mere 43% drop from week one to week two, which is a smaller drop than even Wonder Woman (43.3%).
Considering Wonder Woman earned $US 103 million in its opening weekend (which isn’t too far from Joker‘s $US 96 million) it’s very much possible that Joker sits around the $US 400 million mark in North America by the end of its run. But of course, we’ll have to wait and see just how big of obstacles the likes of Terminator: Dark Fate (24 October) and Zombieland: Double Tap (31 October) turn out to be.

But what we really need to talk about is Joker‘s insane global number. The film has grossed $US 351.2 million outside of North America in about 11 days, bringing its cumulative global tally to a staggering $US 543.9 million so far. The film has already surpassed its fellow Warner Bros R-rated picture, It: Chapter Two‘s $US 445 million (and nearing the end of its run). We’ll know in a few weeks time if Joker can also surpass Hobbs & Shaw ($US 760 million) to become the year’s highest-grossing non-Disney film.
The number becomes even more shocking when we put it into perspective. In less than two full weeks, Joker has already grossed more than Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins ($US 372 million), Shazam! ($US 364 million), Ant-Man ($US 519.3 million) and every single X-Men movie not named Days of Future Past ($US 747.9 million) and fellow R-rated comic book film, Logan ($US 619 million). There’s no doubt whatsoever, that Joker will surpass Logan before the next weekend comes along and if it has enough legs, surpass Deadpool and Deadpool 2 by the end of its run.
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NVIDIA Looking For People To Give More Classic PC Titles The RTX Treatment

Earlier this year, NVIDIA gave the gaming community a small treat by releasing Quake II RTX, a remastered edition of the original title with all the trimmings of the GPU brand’s ray-tracing technology. Now, the GPU brand is reportedly looking for people to keep the remastering momentum going.
To be precise, the job opening is currently being listed on NVIDIA’s official page. Specifically, the company is looking for a producer to head its Lightspeed Studios – which was founded back in 2015 – and “lead the production on an RTX remaster project”. It should be noted that, at the time of writing, the job listing is already 18 days old.
To recap, NVIDIA released the Quake II RTX on 6 June this year. Originally released in 1997, both NVIDIA and id Software released the remastered version of the game for free (only for the first three levels). Both as a way to promote its GeForce RTX series and showcase the visual fidelity of real-time reflections, global illuminations, and improved textures, to name a few features.

So far, NVIDIA hasn’t exactly been clear as to which titles are next on its radar. But, given Lightspeed Studios’ resume – the company worked on the Android versions of Half-Life 2, Doom 3, and Portal – the chances of the company remastering those titles is very likely.
(Source: DSOG, PCGamesN, Polygon)
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El Camino Review: A Riveting But Frustratingly Unnecessary Closure to Breaking Bad [NETFLIX]

Do we really need an epilogue to Breaking Bad? A question I kept asking myself while watching El Camino. The ending of the series which sees Walter White’s life slowly extinguish before our eyes and Jesse Pinkman, bearded and bruised, driving away, laughing almost maniacally in sheer exhilaration having just escaped the deepest fieriest depths of hell, was perfection. From beginning to end, Breaking Bad — one of the catalysts that ushered us into the new age of television — felt as intoxicating as Walter White’s famous blue meth.
We could only guess what lied ahead for Jesse, the tragic character who began his journey as a small-time drug dealer stumbling on rooftops in his underwear to the broken, battered and traumatised man we see at the end. Did he ride off into the sunset (as I genuinely hoped) or did he get pulled over by the cops at the end of the street and get thrown in jail? Out of one hell hole and into another. Or worse yet, did he get sucked right back into the life of crime and revert back to being a drug peddler? Depending on what mood you’re in or who you spoke to, the answer always varied. The ambiguity was both poetic, frustrating and frankly very fitting. A magnificent close to an equally magnificent television series.

So, why do we need El Camino? A film that answers all our questions in the most definitive of manners so much so that it morphs the poetry of the finale into something more straightforward. It annoyed me that the film filled in blanks that we were meant to fill in ourselves. But there’s also an absorbing quality to the film — when it’s at its best — that’s simply undeniable. Written and directed by Vince Gilligan (the showrunner of Breaking Bad), El Camino picks up seconds where the series left off… behind the wheel of Jesse’s car. But his journey towards peace isn’t as simple as just driving straight to the Mexican/Canadian border or Alaska. The cops are on the hunt and Jesse must run and keep on running.
The running leads to wonderfully staged set-pieces of genuine thrills. Much like with Breaking Bad, Gilligan repeatedly pushes the protagonist’s back against the wall and forces him to claw his way out of sticky situations. Some of these situations involve getting tangled with dubious cops in a mini labyrinth of a rundown apartment. Some of them end in glorious, heart-pounding Mexican standoffs and explosions reminiscent of the most bombastic Breaking Bad episodes. None of it is easy for Jesse. Gilligan has made sure that if Jesse wants to start his life over, he won’t be able to simply drive towards it, he’ll have to run and crawl and plead and beg all while the memories of his past haunt him unforgivingly.

But El Camino isn’t a two-hour-long thrill ride. The edge-of-your-seat set pieces are merely sprinkled in. What El Camino truly is, is a slow character study — the final chapter of the ballad of Jesse Pinkman. If you’re looking for one more “yeah bitch,” you won’t find it here. The naivety has faded away, along with his childlike charm. This is a hardened Jesse, smarter (thanks to the lessons he’s learned from his former mentor), and always on edge. And Aaron Paul delivers a tremendous restrained performance that is wholly different from the character he played in Breaking Bad while still carrying the emotional baggage of the past. Look at the way he reacts both composed and completely sure of himself in the scene where someone has a gun pointed directly to his head. The voice may be Jesse’s, but there’s a bit of Walter White in his words. Notice the way Aaron Paul carries himself during the shootout. Paul’s disappointing post-Breaking Bad career has made us forget how terrific of an actor he is — bloody hell is he terrific! Or maybe he’s just truly in tune with Jesse Pinkman.
Gilligan’s character writing is articulate. Jesse is hardened, but when he’s awakened by visions of the past, there’s an immediate vulnerability to him. Our heart sinks. Will his past ever completely let go of him? Or will it continue to latch on to his back like a soul-sucking parasite? At one point, he resigns against the walls of a shower room. When he walks out, he’s stoic again. Thankfully, not everything in his past is unforgiving. Some, like his reconnection with Skinny Peet and Badger, come with moments that are heartwarming and funny.

Unfortunately, the memories of the bleak past aren’t just figments. At times they appear as flashbacks in extended sequences that drive a wedge through the flow of the narrative without adding anything new to the story. In case you missed watching Jesse held captive in a cage and manipulated by the psychopathic and soulless Todd, there’s a little more of that here. If you’ve missed watching some of his intimate interactions with Walter, there’s some of that too. While these sequences are interesting in isolation — some poignant, some uncomfortable (I will never get used to looking into coldness Todd’s eyes and seeing only emptiness) — they don’t add anything thematically fresh to the story. In fact, they feel more like speed bumps in an already slow-burner of a film.
It is also during these moments where I found my mind drifting and wondering if we even needed the film in the first place. Yes, it’s well written, well directed and wonderfully acted and there’s no denying Vince Gilligan’s passion for Breaking Bad. But as a whole, El Camino feels like a drawn-out short film or a bonus feature you’d find on the Blu-ray of the series’ 10th anniversary. While I enjoyed it as a fan of Breaking Bad, the fan in me is also crabbed that we got overt answers to a poetic finale without adding anything new or significant. Let’s just hope we don’t get a film titled Holsten’s by David Chase detailing what happened after The Sopranos cut to black.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is currently streaming on Netflix.
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El Camino Review: A Riveting But Frustratingly Unnecessary Closure to Breaking Bad

Do we really need an epilogue to Breaking Bad? A question I kept asking myself while watching El Camino. The ending of the series which sees Walter White’s life slowly extinguish before our eyes and Jesse Pinkman, bearded and bruised, driving away, laughing almost maniacally in sheer exhilaration having just escaped the deepest fieriest depths of hell, was perfection. From beginning to end, Breaking Bad — one of the catalysts that ushered us into the new age of television — felt as intoxicating as Walter White’s famous blue meth.
We could only guess what lied ahead for Jesse, the tragic character who began his journey as a small-time drug dealer stumbling on rooftops in his underwear to the broken, battered and traumatised man we see at the end. Did he ride off into the sunset (as I genuinely hoped) or did he get pulled over by the cops at the end of the street and get thrown in jail? Out of one hell hole and into another. Or worse yet, did he get sucked right back into the life of crime and revert back to being a drug peddler? Depending on what mood you’re in or who you spoke to, the answer always varied. The ambiguity was both poetic, frustrating and frankly very fitting. A magnificent close to an equally magnificent television series.

So, why do we need El Camino? A film that answers all our questions in the most definitive of manners so much so that it morphs the poetry of the finale into something more straightforward. It annoyed me that the film filled in blanks that we were meant to fill in ourselves. But there’s also an absorbing quality to the film — when it’s at its best — that’s simply undeniable. Written and directed by Vince Gilligan (the showrunner of Breaking Bad), El Camino picks up seconds where the series left off… behind the wheel of Jesse’s car. But his journey towards peace isn’t as simple as just driving straight to the Mexican/Canadian border or Alaska. The cops are on the hunt and Jesse must run and keep on running.
The running leads to wonderfully staged set-pieces of genuine thrills. Much like with Breaking Bad, Gilligan repeatedly pushes the protagonist’s back against the wall and forces him to claw his way out of sticky situations. Some of these situations involve getting tangled with dubious cops in a mini labyrinth of a rundown apartment. Some of them end in glorious, heart-pounding Mexican standoffs and explosions reminiscent of the most bombastic Breaking Bad episodes. None of it is easy for Jesse. Gilligan has made sure that if Jesse wants to start his life over, he won’t be able to simply drive towards it, he’ll have to run and crawl and plead and beg all while the memories of his past haunt him unforgivingly.

But El Camino isn’t a two-hour-long thrill ride. The edge-of-your-seat set pieces are merely sprinkled in. What El Camino truly is, is a slow character study — the final chapter of the ballad of Jesse Pinkman. If you’re looking for one more “yeah bitch,” you won’t find it here. The naivety has faded away, along with his childlike charm. This is a hardened Jesse, smarter (thanks to the lessons he’s learned from his former mentor), and always on edge. And Aaron Paul delivers a tremendous restrained performance that is wholly different from the character he played in Breaking Bad while still carrying the emotional baggage of the past. Look at the way he reacts both composed and completely sure of himself in the scene where someone has a gun pointed directly to his head. The voice may be Jesse’s, but there’s a bit of Walter White in his words. Notice the way Aaron Paul carries himself during the shootout. Paul’s disappointing post-Breaking Bad career has made us forget how terrific of an actor he is — bloody hell is he terrific! Or maybe he’s just truly in tune with Jesse Pinkman.
Gilligan’s character writing is articulate. Jesse is hardened, but when he’s awakened by visions of the past, there’s an immediate vulnerability to him. Our heart sinks. Will his past ever completely let go of him? Or will it continue to latch on to his back like a soul-sucking parasite? At one point, he resigns against the walls of a shower room. When he walks out, he’s stoic again. Thankfully, not everything in his past is unforgiving. Some, like his reconnection with Skinny Peet and Badger, come with moments that are heartwarming and funny.

Unfortunately, the memories of the bleak past aren’t just figments. At times they appear as flashbacks in extended sequences that drive a wedge through the flow of the narrative without adding anything new to the story. In case you missed watching Jesse held captive in a cage and manipulated by the psychopathic and soulless Todd, there’s a little more of that here. If you’ve missed watching some of his intimate interactions with Walter, there’s some of that too. While these sequences are interesting in isolation — some poignant, some uncomfortable (I will never get used to looking into coldness Todd’s eyes and seeing only emptiness) — they don’t add anything thematically fresh to the story. In fact, they feel more like speed bumps in an already slow-burner of a film.
It is also during these moments where I found my mind drifting and wondering if we even needed the film in the first place. Yes, it’s well written, well directed and wonderfully acted and there’s no denying Vince Gilligan’s passion for Breaking Bad. But as a whole, El Camino feels like a drawn-out short film or a bonus feature you’d find on the Blu-ray of the series’ 10th anniversary. While I enjoyed it as a fan of Breaking Bad, the fan in me is also crabbed that we got overt answers to a poetic finale without adding anything thematically significant. Let’s just hope we don’t get a film titled Holsten’s by David Chase detailing what happened after The Sopranos cut to black.
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DxOMark To Begin Testing Audio Playback And Recording On Smartphones

DxOMark announced a benchmark scoring for smartphones audio including playback and recording sound quality. It’s a pretty big step for the benchmark site, especially when you remember that DxOMark’s bread and butter have been, for the longest time, focused on the camera performance of smartphones.
As explained by DxOMark, its audio benchmarking process will take place in a custom-built anechoic box, where all sounds in the room are absorbed. Testing the recording capabilities of the built-in microphones. Smartphones will be scored based on several attributes, including timbre, dynamics, spatial, volume, artificing, and background.

DxOMark will also be testing different scenarios in the real world. Some examples include recording a selfie, street performance, concerts, or meetings. In conjunction with these scenarios, additional tests will also be conducted for background noise, direction of the source, and how the phone is handled.
Additionally, the group also had a room built for audio playback. To that end, the site will conduct test scenarios that range from playing games and sharing music in a group of people.

At the time of writing, DxOMark has benchmarked seven smartphones including the iPhone 11 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. Currently, the king of the hill is crowned to Huawei Mate 20 X, followed closely by Apple’s iPhone XS Max. Ironically, the newer iPhone 11 Pro Max was found to be worse than its predecessor.

DxOMark further stated that it employs listening experts for benchmark scoring. That being said, the ranking should not represent the value of the phone itself, but rather serve as a reference in a similar fashion to the way it ranks smartphone cameras.
(Source: DxOMark via TNW, 9to5Mac // Image: DxOMark)
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Apple To Use Own 5G Modems In iPhones By 2022

Previous reports indicate that Apple will be have 5G support on all 2020 iPhones. That said, these will still be using chips from Qualcomm. Apple’s own is set to only debut in 2022
According to sources to Fast Company, that’s what the fruit company is aiming for. That said, the source also says that getting it done so soon is “really pushing it”, with 2023 being a more realistic completion date.

Fast Company also reports that the company’s intention is to make a “system on a chip”. This means having the 5G modem being part of the chipset rather than a separate component. That didn’t go very far, but now that Apple has acquired Intel’s modem business, it’s likely going to progress a lot more.
All that said, it’s unlikely to see that kind of integration, even in 2022. It’s likely that 2022 will see iPhones with Apple’s 5G modem as a separate component. The modem getting integrated into the chipset itself may only appear on the iPhones of 2023 or later.
(Source: Fast Company)
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MPL Season 4 Playoffs Prize Pool Breakdown and Venue Revealed

The Mobile Legends Pro League Season 4 playoffs are right around the corner, and fans can now mark their calendars as the date, venue and total prize pool of the playoffs have been officially revealed by Moonton.
A post on the official Mobile Legends Facebook page has confirmed that the playoffs will be taking place on the 19th of October at the KL LIVE Life Centre and will feature a prize pool of $51,000 USD.

The post also revealed the prize pool breakdown for the playoffs which is as follows:
1st place – $25,0002nd place – $12,0003rd place – $5,0004th place – $3,0005th & 6th place – $1,500 (each)7th & 8th place – $1,000 (each)
In addition to the prizes for each team, this season will also continue the tradition of the MVP of the playoffs receiving an award and a cash prize of $1,000.
This will also mark the first time that the MPL playoffs are held in a dedicated event space, as the previous venues for seasons 1-3 of the MPL playoffs have all taken place in shopping malls so far.

KL LIVE has been home to esports events such as the Silk Road esports tournament before, so it will be interesting if the organisers have any surprises in store to create a unique experience for players and fans. Production has generally been well done for all of the MPL playoff events, so it should be a fun weekend for fans and players regardless.
MPL fans who cant wait for the playoffs and are itching for more Mobile Legends action now that the regular season is over can catch the MPL All-star match which is happening 1 week prior to the playoffs. The MPL All-star match will be taking place at Battle Arena Malaysia on the 12th of October and will feature the 10 best players of the MPL regular season battling it out for bragging rights.

Source: Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
Featured Image Credit: Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
Image Credits: Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, KL LIVE
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Should Warner Bros Ditch the DCEU to Focus on Standalone Films Like Joker?

It’s official folks, Warner Bros’ grand auteur experiment has paid off with stunning results. Todd Phillip’s Joker is a brilliant and thought-provoking masterpiece for the ages — no matter what the bloody Tomatometer says — and a commercial success as well. Art has triumphed and our collective faith in human decency has been restored. Warner Bros’ first DC film away from the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is a proof of concept that the DC Black label of films certainly has the potential to flourish.
For it was not constrained by scale, convoluted plot threads or the architecture of creating a cinematic universe. Which beg a rather awkward question…do we really still need the DCEU? I’m fairly confident that Warner Bros hasn’t given up on the franchise with Wonder Woman 1984 and Birds of Prey on the way but looking back at the films we’ve gotten so far, it’s hard to be excited about the future of the DCEU.
On the other hand, there are definitely some bright spots here and there in the franchise but is it enough to save it? Should Warner Bros drop their franchise to develop more Elseworld stories like Joker? We’ll be discussing these questions and more as we dive deep into the troubled past, promising present and uncertain future of Warner Bros’ DC films.
To say that the DCEU’s cinematic track record has been spotty would be a gross understatement. Frankly, it’s a series of hard misses, flawed flats and rare occasions of inspired filmmaking. The best place to start with the DCEU would be its pre-pubescent age in which Warner Bros woefully misattributed the success of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy to them being “gritty” and “realistic”. It all began with 2013’s Man of Steel that saw a whinny, reluctant Clark Kent take up the role of a whinny, reluctant Superman to be the whinny, reluctant symbol of hope we all need.

Then after 3 years of ungodly silence, Man of Steel was poorly followed up by yet another one of Zack Snyder’s abominations. The clumsily titled Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, a strange departure from Man of Steel’s more subtle title that dives straight into the gimmick of having it be one big dumb wrestling match. An incoherent cacophony of themes and tones that accommodated for both Epicurus’ Problem of Evil and a jar of piss labelled “Granny’s Peach Tea”.
When I say “accommodated”, I actually meant cobbled together in a strange, ugly Frankensteinian hybrid. A film that sees the worst of both worlds, the campiness of the superhero genre and the real-world implications of superheroes, colliding in a 3-hour car crash in slow motion. In the same year we got Suicide Squad and…look I already talked about everything wrong about Ayer’s trainwreck in another piece. If you have read it, then you know my abundant dislike for the film.

Right so, the first three films of the DCEU were clearly duds made to sloppily set up future films in the process. Thankfully, however, Warner Bros managed to claim a genuine commercial and critical win with 2017’s Wonder Woman. A film as far away from Batman v. Superman as possible, set in the horrors of World War I. Wonder Woman boasted fluid and dare I say beautiful action setpieces, a captivating performance by Gal Gadot and a powerful story of myth, man and how a woman’s love can change the course of history. Things were looking for the DCEU, director Patty Jenkins’ wonderfully (heh get it) fresh take on the character had set the stage for the franchise to move into new exciting directions.
After that, we got Snyder/Wheedon’s Justice League in 2017 and boy did they take three steps back. There’s a correction and then there’s overcompensation. Justice League was one big joke of a film with iconically bad lines like “My man!” and most things Ezra Miller’s Flash was saying. A terribly dull villain trying to summon an army to Earth, not unlike a certain Norse God and an unusually goofy tone.

You see the issue with Justice League was that it was trying to be Joss Whedon’s The Avengers. That’s a given I guess seeing that Whedon was directing but still! The whole thing felt like a rushed job like when a student rushes his postgrad thesis three days before its due. Sure, it’s done but half of it is a mess and the other half is probably plagiarized.
At this point, I was utterly done with the DCEU, until I saw the trailer for James Wan’s Aquaman and some small part of me began to hope again. Don’t get me wrong, it ain’t Citizen Kane or anything but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I had fun with it. It was an underwater fantasia with crab people fighting Atlanteans riding on giant sharks. Even if at times the CG becomes a tad too noticeable, there’s an exuberance and fun to the film that can’t be denied. From Jason Mamoa’s brotastic performance to the sheer absurdity of the entire premise, Aquaman is definitely a win for the DCEU.

Another recent hit for the DCEU would most definitely have to be this year’s SHAZAM! Much like Aquaman, the film also leans into the inherent campiness of its comic book source material. No matter how much you try to dress it up, it really is about some punk kid playing superhero because he says a magic word. The film spares us from long-winded exposition with regards to how magic functions in the DCEU and the origin of the Wizard. It simply jumps straight into its story with a cast of funny and relatable characters, a touching tale of an orphan finding a family and the true meaning of being part of a family. SHAZAM! was also the first DCEU film in which I unironically found funny, most of it coming from the film’s meta-commentary on the comic book industry.
Right, so you’re probably wondering why we’re taking this long stroll down memory lane. The purpose of it was to examine the DCEU’s past to identify where the films’ went wrong and more importantly, where they went right. Based on their record, I can confidently say that the Warner Bros’ films excel when they’re removed the broad strokes of the DCEU’s Justice League setup events and are simply allowed to breathe without much expectations.

Think about it. Man of Steel had expectations of meeting the poignancy of Nolan’s grounded trilogy. Batman v. Superman had expectations of having to compete with the spectacle of Captain America: Civil War coming out in the same year. Suicide Squad was hoping some of Deadpool’s anti-hero magic would rub off on them. Justice League was their hamfisted attempt at an Avengers’ clone.
Wonder Woman, Aquaman and SHAZAM! had the privilege of great creative liberties and a strong and unique auteur vision for each film. One’s a battlefield of men and gods, one’s a mythical underwater kingdom of magic and technology, the other one is a parody of the DCEU with commercial Batman toys and Aquaman jokes. With the success of this year’s Joker, I think it’s safe to say that the more individualistic take on DC films have yielded greater rewards than the contrived machinations of trying to set up a mega-franchise.
Instead of playing catch-up, Warner Bros has a chance to change the game forever. To be the first comic book film franchise to play with multiversal, or Elseworld, concepts. The possibilities here are endless. Imagine doing Warner Bros doing epic unrelated storylines like DC’s Earth-2 storyline that sees Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman dead after an Apokoliptian invasion on an alternate Earth. Now a world without their precious trinity, a new generation of heroes must rise to fend off this threat. We touched on this idea in the past when we discussed the exciting implications of Warner Bros working on a New Gods film.

They could also work at truly fascinating what-if scenarios. One of them answering the question of what if Superman crash-landed in Russia instead and became a Russian communist hero? This idea was explored in Superman: Red Son by writer Mark Milar. Now that would make for an amazing cinematic adaptation. A world in which its most powerful superhero fought for communism and became the eternal leader of the Soviet Union. The last son of Krypton now fights for Mother Russia!
There have been rumours of late that Warner Bros is making yet another desperate attempt to piece all of these disparate elements together in a soft reboot. This may involve Reeves creating a new version of Batman and J.J. Abrams reworking Superman into a younger, before cramming both of them into a pre-existing Justice League. This will undoubtedly confuse audience members and leave people having to forget a good 4 years of the DCEU for the sake of making sense of the franchise.

I suppose the studio could pretend like nothing happened and sweep this under the rug but this isn’t freaking Terrence Howard’s Rhodey being replaced by Don Cheadle! These are the main stars of the bloody franchise! Unless they can come up with a fantastic reason for why they look and act different, it’s going to look sloppy and incompetent. If they carry on as if everything’s the same, it’ll still look sloppy and incompetent. It’s a lose-lose situation.
So what’s the answer to all these disparate, if not dysfunctional, elements of the DCEU? Embrace the individualistic nature of the successful films and abort the failing properties that have so desperately tried to build into a cinematic saga. We’ve seen the failure of Warner Bros trying to catch the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) lightning in a bottle. We’ve also seen their amazing success when they create outlandish standalone films, culminating in Todd Phillips’ Joker. A cultural landmark that will likely be compared to Avengers: Endgame.
Real talk right now, Warner Bros will never have an Infinity Saga of their own and they don’t need it. It’s ironic that their DC films only managed to excel to the same level of prominence as their Marvel competitors when they stop trying to emulate them. Perhaps in time, as they carry one making excellent standalone films, they may even surpass their rival.
Click here to read why we think Joker is a masterpiece.
Click here to read our thoughts on the “glorification” of violence in Joker.
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