OK, back to an actual normal film conversation now. Specifically, back to this point:
MrSausage wrote:Marvel is lucky: it is only ever compared to itself, and it spends most of its time mimicking itself, so the comparison is in its favour--when you don't like it, you still like it. DC is only ever compared to Marvel (or hard-to-duplicate past success like Nolan's Batmans), so it's always stuck either failing to imitate another company's successes, or alienating the audience by breaking another company's mold too strongly. It's dancing around someone else's standard.
I do wonder how the trends are going to ebb and flow for comic book properties from major studios in the context of the standards you've very keenly outlined here. Fox seems to be having success with a more niche approach if Deadpool and Logan are an indication. So they're crafting a new identity that is not being compared to the MCU, yet is being embraced by critics and audiences. Highly likely the main X-Men series pulls closer to this approach in the next few years.
DC tried to repeat the Nolan approach but also roll in the MCU approach half way, and Snyder/Ayer could not pull it off for their films for critics and audiences alike. Now all indications are that they are going to move closer to that MCU model, but as you state the comparisons are to standards they didn't establish. So while they try to bring Wonder Woman and Justice League closer to that MCU standard, because of their production timing they are unlikely to do more than close the gap in the best of circumstances, a low-ish standard that people are skeptical of them accomplishing due to not liking BvS and SS.
That makes the Aquaman / Batman type projects all the more crucial. Will it be enough for them to simply be good in the MCU standards sense, even allowing for them to get to that particular level? I think that will make people willing to see the films, but only matter-of-factly. General audiences won't be enthusiastic about DC films unless they can hit an even higher, far tougher bar - setting a new standard that makes people not only enthusiastic about their films, but enough to where such an identity makes it seem to be another viable unique flavor.
Right now DC seems to be moving from from disliked black licorice (Snyder/Ayer) into hoping to be serviceable MCU red licorice. But that won't be really truly satisfactory since it'll always be an imitation until they hit upon their own licorice flavor that is distinctly theirs and also liked by a majority. Maybe Johns/Berg and Wan/Reeves/et al pull that off. It would be a real against the odds tale, even to this optimistic observer.