Decades ago, Marvel Comics head Martin Goodman saw the success that DC had had in reviving superhero comics, especially with Justice League, and ordered Stan Lee to do the same for his company. The result was the Fantastic Four. Oh, how the tables have turned. Now DC is the one taking the cues from Marvel. After stalling the development of the Justice League film for years, DC has finally set a firm release date for it: summer 2015. This comes on the heels of the massive success of The Avengers, and the movie will go toe-to-toe with the sequel to Marvel’s juggernaut.
So this is exciting news, right? …Right?
Well, it might be more exciting if DC’s handling of their superhero movies up till now hadn’t been a near-total mess. Marvel did something extraordinary, successfully implementing a years-long plan to roll out each individual superhero that was a part of their signature team with their own films, culminating in the big team-up this year. It was brilliant and extremely comic-booky, creating a fully-fledged universe through each of these movies. DC wants to do the opposite, introducing their cinematic universe and characters in one film, and then spinning each of those heroes off into their own featured stories.
DC made a stab at imitating the Marvel method with Green Lantern, which went awry when that film was terrible and everyone hated it. Now, it seems that Man of Steel might lead into a Justice League movie, though it’s unclear at this point. DC really is at a disadvantage here. They’ve started and stopped so many times that it’ll be hugely confusing for the non-geek audience to understand. Batman will be rebooted for this film (which was necessary, since the faux-realistic world Nolan created for his iteration of the character wouldn’t work with powered superheroes), making this his third major cinematic iteration.
There’s more than a few obstacles for anyone to create a good film. Here are what I see as the three biggest ones. It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that the guy DC has turned to for the screenplay, Will Beall, has only some episodes of Castle and Gangster Squad under his belt. We’ll see how he tackles these problems.
This article was first posted on November 14, 2012