Monday, June 18, 2012

Reel Facts & Opinions: The Justice League

FACT: With Marvel’s superhero team-up film THE AVENGERS now sitting pretty with an impressive haul of $586 million domestically (good for second place all-time behind TITANIC and AVATAR), rival DC Comics (and Warner Bros.) are not about to be left in the super-dust. Last week it was reported that WB/DC are moving forward with a Justice League film, which would team-up their major characters (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) with their lesser heroes (Green Lantern, The Flash, and possibly  Aquaman and Hawkman/Hawkgirl).

OPINION: The timing of such a film could not be worse for WB/DC. Outside of the obvious issue of looking like an AVENGERS knock-off, WB/DC have painted themselves into a corner because of where they currently stand with their characters. Superman is about to go through an apparent reboot with Zack Snyder’s MAN OF STEEL slated for late this year, the current Batman franchise is about to wrap (which means a Batman reboot would be likely for a Justice League run), Wonder Woman has never seen the big screen, and THE GREEN LANTERN (2011) was a disaster. With all the characters in some sort of transitional phase right now, it is likely that a Justice League film would serve as a launching point for a series of DC Comics solo-character movies.

There is kryptonite in the air with that approach. One of the reasons why AVENGERS worked so well is because the solo films, which came first, got us invested in the characters for four years prior to the big team-up. If WB/DC are planning on mashing their heroes up right away, there will have to be some careful, and massive scriptwriting done to develop all these characters.
DC Comics also has the burden of making their characters believable, which is something they failed miserably at in their GREEN LANTERN film. With their very own Batman franchise now the template for grounded superhero films, DC faces an enormous task in making ridiculous characters like Aquaman and Hawkman work on film. Not an impossible task (even AVENGERS made the Norse Gods seem plausible), but not one to be taken lightly either.

The good news is DC Comics is likely to try and retain the services of Christopher Nolan, who is not only behind the current Batman run, but is also serving as a producer for the upcoming MAN OF STEEL. Also, the idea of Wonder Woman on film may seem silly with her invisible jet and star-spangled panties, but think about how silly and campy Batman was perceived in the public eye before Tim Burton darkened things up; a transformation that is still paying off today. It can be done. All that, and DC Comics certainly has legions of fans eager to see the Justice League come to life. The fans have proven that they will come, and DC can ironically thank their rival Marvel for that.
What say you?

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