Well, this’ll ruin your morning coffee. Due to recent developments, I am now convinced that no matter what DC does, that the much-speculated Justice League movie will not be as unique or outstanding as Joss Whedon’s The Avengers was, is, and always will be. Why all the pessimism? Call it intuition. Before The Avengers cinematic universe was conceived, Marvel had a wider grasp of successful projects to boast of, including (but not limited to) Spiderman, X-men, Blade, Wolverine, Kick-Ass, and Men In Black. DC, in comparison, only has Superman, Batman, and arguably RED and Watchmen as their most successful properties. Also, I have an unhealthy amount of OCD. Just thought you should know.
Believe me, I would like nothing more than to see a well-made Justice League movie hit the horizon. There are as many characters that are as creative and dynamic in the DC universe as there are in the Marvel universe, many of them with memorable stories and villains of their own. While I want to see a movie eventually, I now believe it will not happen, and if it does, it will not hit the mainstream success that The Avengers did.
Why am I so convinced of this? DC has every inconvenience against them, and they have to deal with issues Marvel never had to face while producing The Avengers. I’m not saying Marvel had it easy while making The Avengers. Lord knows you’ll have a fair amount of doubt and backlash when you try to combine five comic-book properties into one high-adrelanine, action-packed adventure. Regardless, DC is facing a lot of issues Marvel didn’t have to worry about, including competitive release with The Avengers in itself.
Let’s face facts: When The Avengers was released, we didn’t know what to expect. All we knew was that it was incorporating six superheroes into one movie, they would be mostly featuring the same actors, the writer/director of “Firefly” was at the helm, and we were hoping it wouldn’t turn into the Saturday Morning Power Hour. It didn’t, and now we have the exciting, exhilerating, witty, and entertaining Hulk-box-office-smash that The Avengers was.
This is the biggest issue that DC has over Marvel: the comparison game. If DC would have thought of a plan similar to this ahead of Marvel and released Justice League incorporating elements from multiple DC universe movie properties at once, they would then have had a substantial edge over Marvel and would give them reason to compete for their box office revenue. But the plain simple fact is that Marvel beat them to it, and now we have something to compare to when Justice League hits the theaters. How big of a catastrophe is that? What could possibly compete with The Avengers as far as box-office superheroes go? I’ll name a few just for facetious effort: X-men, Fantastic Four, and Watchmen. Now be honest with yourself: do any of those movies stand out in your mind at the level of enjoyment as The Avengers does?
If you’re being honest, it probably doesn’t, and what’s worse is that DC is now pressured into that because Marvel did it first. But like I said, DC has a lot of issues against them, and many of them have to deal with their very own properties. Take the following franchises as an example:
THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY
If we were talking about the movies by themselves, there’s no reason for concern. The Dark Knight trilogy is among the greatest trilogies ever released into theaters, and it not only pleased long-time fans of the caped crusader: it pleased moviegoers who were not associated with the comic books. The Dark Knighttrilogy isn’t only one of the best comic book movies of all time: they one of the best movies of all time, period. Very few bad things are said about that franchise as a whole.
Which would enhance excitement to the fans when they think this same character will be incorporated into the Justice League, right? Wrong. Producer/Director Christopher Nolan and screenwriter David S. Goyer have stated multiple times that the Batman in the new Justice League is not associated with Nolan’s trilogy. The quote from Goyer pulled from IGN says it all:
“…Zack has said that Bruce Wayne exists in this universe. It would be a different Bruce Wayne from Chris’ [Nolan] Dark Knight trilogy, and it would be disingenuous to say that Zack and I haven’t had various conversations on set, around ‘what if’ and ‘moving forward'”.
On top of that, Christian Bale himself admitted to Entertainment Weekly that not only will he not be portraying Batman in the upcoming DC team-up film: he doesn’t even know about a release date.
“I have no information, no knowledge about anything. I’ve literally not had a conversation with a living soul. I understand that they may be making a Justice League movie, that’s it”.
So what is their plan? End a movie series in 2012, release a Superman movie in 2013, and reboot the character only a few years later? Don’t they remember how many people saw those movies? How much people praised them? How those movies stuck out in people’s minds when someone mentioned the word “Batman”? What are they thinking? How on Earth do they think can they replace that?
Now, someone could offer the argument by saying Nolan’s universe was meant to be seen as realistic, whereas the rest of the DC universe wouldn’t be. To which I respond that as hogwash. Snyder also saidMan Of Steel was meant to be seen as realistic too, but we all know how realistic it is for an alien from outer space to get super powers on earth, or having a guy dress up in a halloween costume to beat criminals to near death. The thought of superheroes in itself is fictitious, with powers or without. So why are we trying so hard to differentiate in between reality and fiction?
Another possible argument someone could make is that The Dark Knight trilogy has ended, and there would be no way to revive the character for the Justice League. To which I would say you are half right. If we are talking about the Batman after The Dark Knight Rises then yes, that Batman is no more with us. But what about the Batman in between movies? There is a two-year split in between Batman Begins andThe Dark Knight, and a five-year split in between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. Surely, someone could find room to fit Nolan’s Batman into the JL somewhere in that time stamp?
So, already you have your greatest property and you’re sending it out the window. That’s great. What else could go wrong?
MAN OF STEEL
I’m just going to go ahead and say this: Man Of Steel was a great film. It had depth, it had character, it had development, and it had plenty of high-octane turbulent action. It was a great reboot for Superman, and it was a great jump-off point for a possible Justice League series. That much I will give to Snyder and his crew.
The complications with the Justice League universe, however, are plenty. The biggest issue right now is their speculated release dates. As many of you might expect, Warner Bros. has been trying to push for the Justice League movie to be released in 2016, to be released competitively with The Avengers 2 andStar Wars: Episode VII. The original plan was to release Man Of Steel this year, release a possible sequel in 2014-2015, and then release the Justice League movie
That puts a great amount of pressure on Man Of Steel, and I don’t think it can handle it. Again, not to play the comparison game with Marvel (even though I am), but like Man Of Steel, Iron Man was a great jump-off point for The Avengers, even though it was more charismatic and down-to-earth than Man Of Steel was. It was a great film. Great enough to jump right into The Avengers though? Absolutely not. It had to release four more movies before the buildup to the Avengers was complete and the excitement was at its highest.
Like Iron Man, Man Of Steel is a great film to set up its expanded Universe. Enough to jump right into aJustice League movie though? Not even close. Another sequel, maybe, but to jump right into the DC-team-up film would be suicide. The announcement of a JL movie that this point wouldn’t be an anticipation: it would be a surprise. How is that a good setup for a box-office smash?
Also, many other audience members felt the tone was too serious and did not fit into the joyous, silly veins of the original Christopher Reeve series. To which I would say quit being a stooge and enjoy the movie for what it is. People who wanted Green Lantern to be fun and silly got what they asked for, and look at how that movie faired with the moviegoing audiences.
Speaking of which…
Many people hated this movie, and their hate was warranted. Green Lantern was silly, stupid fun, and that’s all it needed to be. I for one enjoyed the movie and appreciated it for its confidence, its stellar visual effects, and its smirking charisma. Others, however, obviously do not share my opinion, and ultimately their opinion as a whole matters more than mine does.
To which I know disregard and ask this: what are you going to do with him now for the Justice League? They can’t bring this same character in and have him do the same thing he did the first time: that will resurrect everything audiences hated the first time they watched the Martin Campbell film. What are they going to do then? Are they going to revamp him? Recast him? Reboot him? Maybe even cut him out entirely? Batman has a great story behind his success and Superman a great following. Green Lantern has none of that. So what can DC do to the character to give him a new spin and a spirit on the franchise?
The list of issues goes on and on. How are they going to incorporate Wonder Woman into it? What about the Flash? Martian Manhunter? Who would they cast? Who would be the villain? And how on Earth are they going to make Aquaman not look stupid???
Bottom line: Justice League will not be as good as The Avengers. DC just isn’t prepared for it. There is the off-chance that it can still be good, exciting, and entertaining blockbuster fun, but I’m convinced that there’s no way that DC can give these characters the same treatment Whedon did for The Avengers solely because they won’t be as recognized as those characters have. Even if you do give each Justice Leaguer his own movie and give time to set up each character: how do you know you’ll be as successful as The Avengers was? Won’t you be following a formula at that point?
Of course, there is the off-chance that I’m completely wrong and that the Justice League will be vastly more successful than The Avengers will be. I’m going to see it regardless of what RottenTomatoes says, and I hope it’ll at least be as good as Man Of Steel is. But that’s unlikely, and no matter how it turns out, lets just be grateful that Robert Schwentke won’t be directing, writing, or having anything to do with the movie. The last thing we need is a PG-13 version of RED.
Oh, wait a minute.
Source: EMPIRE, Entertainment Weekly, IGN