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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