How faithful should comic book movies stay to their source materials and how much creative liberty should they enjoy? That’s an age-old debate, always reaching an impasse. On one hand, avid comic book readers go to theatres to watch their favourite characters in live-action, and on the other, filmmakers try to offer something new and fresh. Either way, it is exciting to discover the twist a DC character is fated to undergo in movies. But, since these characters took years and pages to develop, the directors can be careful in their approach. In this article, we shall be comparing how accurate some of these DCEU movie characters are to their comic book counterparts.
Unlike the other DC characters, Harley Quinn made her debut on a television show, “Batman: The Animated Series” in 1992. It was followed by a comic debut in “The Batman Adventures No. 12” in 1993. Margot Robbie’s breakthrough performance in Suicide Squad has propelled the villain to unprecedented heights. She is now one of the crowning jewels of the DCEU movies. Her origin story of psychiatrist-turning-killer was right out of the pages. Robbie brilliantly captures the unpredictable and vicious element of Harley Quin. As far as costumes are concerned, she got to wear one of Harley’s signature comic book suits for a brief moment in The Suicide Squad, 2021.
If we start with appearances, Henry Cavill’s suit adopted some modern upgrades by dropping the briefs and projecting muted colours. Even his character took a different route in the DCEU. This version of Clark Kent was brought up by a protective Jonathan Kent who was sceptical about the world accepting his son’s powers. As a result, the cinematic Superman took a long time to be sure of himself and have faith in humans. However, Cavill is the most comic book accurate Superman for his humanity and for being the face of hope.
The half-human son of the Atlantis had been a subject of jokes for decades. While his DC acquaintances were worshipped by fans, Aquaman was reduced to merely a blonde boy with an orange shirt who could talk to fish. But then came Jason Momoa’s Aquaman who has changed the perception of the superhero with his strong and formidable take on the character.
The genius billionaire business mogul, Lex Luthor was portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg in the DCEU. This version shares both differences and accuracy with its comic book counterpart. Apart from the striking hairstyle change, Jesse’s Luthor was a young and socially awkward billionaire as compared to the comic book version who was infamous for his intimidating and forbidding projection. But in the end, revealing such a sinister character underneath that layer in the movie was a brilliant move.
Batman has been the poster face of the DC world for a long time. With so many fans across the world, the outrage over Ben Affleck’s Batman had hit pretty hard. While some argue that he wasn’t the right fit, Affleck’s portrayal has been the closest to the comic page Batman. His costume was faithful to the source material and also blended well into the real world. Readers could find a lot of similarities between Affleck’s Batman and Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Both were the most violent and cynical versions in their world, tired of fighting for justice.