Comic book properties being transformed into cinematic spectacles are here to stay, with traditional superheroes leading the way while other properties follow suit. The massive worldwide success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and Joss Whedon’s Avengers are the crown jewels of the harmonious union of cinema and comic books. Their success has spurred on iconic characters to be ripped from the pages and in extraordinary fashion leave us breathless as we sit on the edge of our seats.
This is not to say that every cinematic foray into the world of panelled comic strips has been heralded as a success. In most cases the original efforts are hugely entertaining whilst a clearly evident drop off occurs as studios desperately try to milk the cash cow’s teat for that one last drop of money; see Superman III & IV, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine etc.
In other efforts, moviegoers and fanboys were robbed of a clear vision of their beloved characters entirely. This insulting blindness to the character’s original narratives caused people to be forced to suffer through Green Lantern, Catwoman, Judge Dredd (1995), Daredevil, and Jonah Hex, all of who are characters that are legends in the pantheons of comic lore.
In 2015, there will be a heavyweight-boxing match between DC and Marvel. Each has waged war for the hearts and minds of people across numerous mediums for decades, but in 2015 each company’s most illustrious and profitable properties will be in theatres as the massive sequel to the billion dollar Avengers will be released within the same calendar year as DC’s Justice League movie. Alas, the Justice League is already doomed for failure, and no, not at the hands of Brainiac, Darkseid, or even Lex Luthor - but at the hands of ticket purchasers.
Why It Will Fail
1. Reacting, Not Planning
It would be easy to talk about how The Justice League needs to take the Iron Man approach and use a singular character to introduce the larger world, but this article is outlining how DC has already failed – not what they should be doing.
The Justice League movie was announced following the critical and financial success of Marvel’s Avengers. Their first step was already a step behind; Marvel had already had their showcase and DC was still picking out their underwear.
Now, there are rumblings that despite The Justice League movie having so much momentum, the fate of the project still relies upon the success of this summer’s blockbuster, Man of Steel. Zach Snyder teams with an all-star cast lead by the likes of Henry Cavill, Michael Shannon, and Amy Adams, and the film has positive buzz heading ever closer to the film’s release so, why sit here and wait for the box office receipts?
DC should be well into the script, working on casting, finding a superhero-educated director, and just genuinely pulling out all the stops to get it right. Now, there is not a prerequisite for a film to be “good” in order to make enough money to turn heads; ask Michael Bay. Warner Brothers should have trust in these characters and the stories they have the potential to tell. These characters are decades old with pages and pages of history.
Stop reacting and start taking the initiative; have the confidence to become fully invested in the potential of a Justice League movie. The one thing DC should take from Marvel is their unrelenting and unforgiving approach.
Kevin Feige has masterminded Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU) and has done so in a way that has seen controversy (Iron Man 2, Edward Norton) but in the end, his and Whedon’s vision was never going to be comprised for any reason. Warner Brothers, DC take notice – do things correctly, these are already proven commodities.
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