The Avengers vs. The Justice League

Will Warner Brother's "Justice League" movie be able to compete with Marvel's "Avengers"?

In case you haven’t heard, Marvel Entertainment’s “the Avengers” is the third highest grossing movie of all time.

That’s an impressive feat for a ‘comic book’ movie - a genre of film that, 20 years ago, was misunderstood by Hollywood executives and the movie going public alike. Before Tim Burton’s “Batman”, comic book movies and, comic books themselves, were seen as “kiddie fare”; despite the mature and genre bending material that was being produced in the source material at the time. The general populace didn’t regard comics as anything worthwhile and Hollywood followed suit…until Batman showed Hollywood that comics could be edgy and entertaining to the masses.

With that, more attempts were made to make several big budget comic book movies, to varying degrees of success over the years.

While there are too many to name here – suffice it to say that the movie going populace has gotten more and more used to seeing people with: flaming skulls , lazer eyes, or dark knights of vengeance beating up flamboyant criminals on the silver screen.

So in some respects it come as no surprise that Warner Brothers has announced a Justice League movie is in the works. In fact, according to reports, the script was commissioned sometime ago; well before “The Avengers” even made it to the screen. And why not? With both the X-men and the Avengers, it’s been proven that a superhero team movie can really work. Fans and non-fans alike all know who the Justice League are. In some respects this idea is way overdue.
Still, word on the street is that the tone WB is going for is ‘mature and real world’ compared to the snappy/relatively light Avengers.


I understand WB wants to do something different than the wise-cracking Marvel Universe. I understand they want audiences to take their characters seriously. But “Mature and Real world” sounds too much like “Dark and Gritty”, and either way you cut it,it’s hard to imagine a man in a red spandex racing suit, standing next to: a guy with a magic ring, an Amazon princess in a star spangled speedo, A man from Atlantis(that talks to fish), an armored dark knight of vengeance and one (or two?) caped alien (s)from another planet – all trying to be grim and serious with no humor to be had.

Christopher Nolan worked meticulously at making Batman –“mature and real world” in “Batman Begins”. It took him a whole 2 ½ hours to make it ‘believable’ and that was just with ONE character. And now we’re supposed to believe there’s a master plan to make six or seven super-powered individuals work in one movie WITHOUT any of them having their own movies first? AND make it dark and humorless?

Needless to say I’m skeptical.

The Avengers worked because Joss Whedon understood that the Avengers is essentially an ‘everyman’ team - a team of working stiffs, that come together from all different walks life - to work past their issues and get the job done. Like an episode of “The Office” but with Superpowers.

The Justice league, at its best, is akin to a pantheon of Greek Gods – elite, exclusive, somewhat removed… more like members of a country club or secret cabal than your everyday “working joes”. These people wouldn’t stop and get together for Shawarma – they would ascend back into the heavens, vanishing to their different corners of the globe…waiting until they were summoned again.

And maybe THAT will be the successful way to take on the JLA – “Gods come to Earth”.
Can you imagine A JLA movie where ordinary people see astounding feats by entities that just CAN’T be human…entities that move rivers, catch falling planes, move faster than light and create objects with their minds? Perform feats of strength and courage that would inspire awe and wonder? It could be similar to Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross’ MARVELS, focusing on the perspective from a normal human amongst the gods.

The one downside is you’d have a harder time finding an antagonist for them. The threat level would have to be SO huge…An alien invasion would be child’s play for the Justice League. For them to break a sweat, reality itself would have to be at stake!

Also – this IS supposed to be drama – are these heroes going to ALL have Character arcs? If so, that’s a lot of character development and backstory. It might be better to keep them as larger than life forces of nature. Besides, what kind of costume designer can make all of those costumes work together in one room? Who’s going to be the person to pull this together? Is there a DC comics fan that’s the equivalent of Joss Whedon out there somewhere? I was skeptical about the Avengers until Whedon became attached to the project. Here’s hoping Warner Brother finds a comparable director with a singular vision.

At this point we can’t be sure what Warner Brother will do. It looks like we’ll just have to wait until 2015 like everyone else. In the meantime, I’ll keep re-reading my Grant Morrison JLA’s while I pre-order my copy of “The Avengers” (Blasphemy,I know!)

Until next time, this is BetaRaySyr, swinging for the stars!
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BarnaclePete - 8/12/2012, 6:31 AM
The avengers are working class stiffs??? A billionaire, a god, a super soldier, a hulk and two highly trained assassins?? You're dreaming. The only one that is semi regular guy is Cap. The avengers could have all the same problems as you think Justice League will have. The only thing you got right was that Joss Weadon understands the characters. This whole thing about the justice league being o god like is ridiculous. All the same arguments could be applied to the avengers. It's a team of super heroes.
SimyJo - 8/12/2012, 7:00 AM
In the contect of a franchise going forwards?.

No. Because they haven't done the groundwork, they haven't mapped it all out and laid plans in advance.
If DC rush it, which I think they will to get a piece of the box-office action and cinema-goers will not be able to identify with the actors playing the roles because there are no groundwork-laying solo films to relate back too.
Marvel has a masterplan down for not only phase II but phase III as well, and how each of their solo characters they are going to introduce in the coming solo films will tie into an Avengers trilogy.
THATS the kind of planning needs to go into this kind of thing for it all to be coherant.

To comprehend the scope and just how badly DC are behind, Imagine Marvel doing what they've done backwards, Avengers first and then the spin-off films.
I just don't see how its going to work personally.

My advice to DC, Forget about Marvel, DO NOT try to compete. Just concentrate on getting the stellar-cast, direction and funding for the solo-films for the JL signature members. Then do a unifying JL trilogy.
CPBuff22 - 8/12/2012, 7:57 AM
I hope it can but doubt it. You have to remember WB is involved. Historically their flops have way out numbered their success as far as individual Superhero movies go. So how can they take half a dozen superheroes including ones they have already mismanaged, and build a successful film. They have a lot to get past.
betaraysyr - 8/12/2012, 9:18 AM
@ Barnacle Pete - Of course they're superheroes - to the common man seeing any of these characters in a real world context would be mind blowing.
However,the fundamental difference to the two teams is how they're written and who comprises the teams.

If you look at both Avengers and JLA comic runs, hopefully you'd see what I mean.

Since the '60's The Avengers team dynamic (ever since the 1960's) have consisted of teams that always have some internal conflict with each other: Cap's kooky quartet consisted of a soldier out of time, two former terrorist mutants, and an archer that used to be a criminal(Scarlet Witch,Quicksilver and Hawkeye naturally). Jump to the 70's and you have a wife abusing guy who's having a nervous breakdown (Hank Pym), another former criminal/failed industrialist (Wonder Man), yet ANOTHER former criminal synthezoid that turns to the side of angels ( Vision). Follow up even further and you'll have a team where a scientist with a medieval magical sword, is in love with his team leader (Wasp);who in turn is having problems controlling the arguing and fighting of two belligerent, sexist,team members (Hercules & Namor).

I could go on for days about the Avengers line-ups. The point is - what Makes the Avengers 'working stiffs' is that ANYONE can be an Avenger. That pretty much Everyone HAS been an Avenger. The methodology of assembling Avengers team, usually consists of getting as many different types of characters that have conflict with one another and forcing them to have to work together.

Compare that to the Justice League, where (When it's good)the team usually consists of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern,Aquaman, Martian Manhunter and the Flash. Sometimes someone else is forced into the mix - but to be asked to join the League is an exclusive and extreme honor. Look at the dynamics of Grant Morrison's JLA. Batman doesn't fight with Superman - or Flash doesn't squabble with Aquaman. These guys are the cream of the crop - compared to the other heroes of the DC universe these guys are the best .

Now historically, there have been times when the writing team has tried to make JLA more like Avengers - (Giffen's Justice International or Mark Waid's follow up to Grant Morrison's run even earlier )but it always swings bac the other way.

Honestly - there should be a post devoted to this theory itself. I just didn't want the article to be even longer! ;)
superbatspiderman - 8/12/2012, 12:45 PM
If done right I think a Justice League movie would be fantastic and I think it could be better than the Avengers. I am probably kind of biased here though because I am a bigger Justice League fan than Avengers. I would just love to see Batman, Superman and the gang kicking butt. I also think they should go the route of The Legion of Doom because that would make it different from the Avengers and Marvel fans won't bitch about it being a rip off.
LexHairFight - 8/12/2012, 8:18 PM
The Avengers worked because it focused on their interactions among each other. Them arguing or coming together, the evolution of the team. JL will be great if the story is good and the characters are strong, but if it will probably struggle to compete if they keep the focus the same. They'll have to approach from another angle. Perhaps more external drama, but the idea of it being 'real world' isn't going to go very far. It'll still have to be about people... or aliens, gods or whatever.
DarkGrifter - 8/13/2012, 10:07 AM
Please don't use that same old argument of "the Justice Leagues members are too powerful". Comic books and movies have always made a threat that's just powerful enough to challenge the protagonist but not so powerful he/she can't overcome it. You wouldn't have Nolan's Batman take on a character like Brainiac, it's one of the reasons they made Bane so small compared to his comic book counterpart, because the threat needed to be just right for Nolan's Batman.
As for what you said about Batman, The Flash and Green Arrow, again comic books and movies will always find ways to make these heroes look useful, despite the fact they would be less then useful in a real life circumstances, you only need to look at some of the feats these characters have completed in the past to see the power is in the writing. Look at how effective they made Black Widow in battle with those tiny pistols, not to mention they made Hawkeye look like a total badass.
I don't mean to come off as aggressive, it's just a small gripe I have :P

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