Let's be honest: while they do fairly well in the foreign box office, DC Comics movies just aren't that good. Weird tone, questionable storytelling, and other issues have plagued the creative brain trust over in DC's film division. Yet there is one superhero that could salvage the DC film franchise and put them on par with Marvel.
Yep, one of the most ridiculous superheroes ever created. This may sound ludicrous to many people, especially since Plastic Man is considered one of the funny jokester superheroes that aren't meant for big box office success. Yet throwing Plastic Man into the DCEU could be the very thing that can save it.
Plastic Man's superpowers alone bring in a lot of possibilities in terms of visuals and special effects. His mere presence can provide some comic relief to the Justice League without force-feeding jokes to serious characters. His backstory is malleable and ready to be molded, much like Plastic Man himself. Plastic Man could be DC's best box office hero—if they ever give him a shot.
The aesthetic in most DC movies is dark, dreary, and drained of color. One major complaint about Man of Steel was how colorless and lifeless Superman was compared to the vibrant look of his comic books and cartoons. One way to easily transition from dreariness naturally is to add a standalone Plastic Man movie into the mix.
Plastic Man is a colorful character both in look and tone, which gives filmmakers the license to go against the current look of the DC cinematic universe. This can act as a gateway for cameos of other DC characters that would then give a less filtered, more vivid lens on their costumes and personality. The silly nature of Plastic Man makes it difficult to rely on muted tones and moods, for the better.
Special effects and CGI have become more and more of a draw for the casual movie-going audience. While certain effects in DCEU films can be visually striking, these moments are few and far between and have little impact on their characters. Plastic Man has the potential to make every scene he is in visually engaging.
During big action scenes, filmmakers can make Plastic Man stretch and shapeshift into anything they can imagine without any real limitations. For example, he could shapeshift his hands into swords or become a Tommy gun that shoots tiny rubber bullets out of himself. On top of that, during scenes of heavy dialogue, he can stretch his neck, shapeshift into visual aids when making a point, or do other visually interesting actions in what would otherwise be a mundane talking scene. No matter what the scenario, he can keep the film looking active.
One of the first questions asked of any filmmaker is, "What is this film's intended rating?" Many characters are difficult to adapt to certain ratings without betraying their instilled personality and world. In the case of Plastic Man, he can fit in nearly any mold.
Want a family-friendly PG superhero film? Plastic Man can bounce off villains like a rubber ball or wrap them up like a snake with minimal violence. Want a PG-13 comedy? Plastic Man can deliver toilet humor by shapeshifting into a literal toilet and provide sexual innuendo by giving himself a nice bubble butt or inflating his nethers. How about the R-rated Deadpool-style treatment? Plastic Man could turn into a giant weed whacker, food processor, or turn his hands into hammers to violently pulverize his foes and provide the most challengingly flexible sex scenes in cinema history. Pick a film rating and he could fulfill it successfully without compromising his character.
With someone like Plastic Man, many could argue that things could get too wacky, but he can be more relatable than you think. Granted, his adventures have endless possibilities in terms of stretchy shapeshifting battles and turning into various objects mid-fight. He also delivers one-liners and makes insane gestures to spice up an otherwise mundane scene. It is truly fantastical and unrealistic.
However, Plastic Man's overall story is grounded and relatable. While he acts odd and zany, deep down he's a man that's trying to do right and make up for his past. Like many people, he has a love life, a son, and friends that need him (even if one of them is named "Woozy Winks"). A good writer would expound on Plastic Man's relationships and motivations while also stretching their imagination to create a script that expertly balances the weird with the real.