Editorial: Will the Justice League movie work?
With the recent announcement that the Justice League movie is expected in the summer of 2015, the same summer that The Avengers 2 is being released, speculation is running rampant on the inter-webs as to the possibility of success for Warner Bros. and DC Comics seemingly "rushed" time table. Well...here's my take on the subject.
Some have suggested that the WB/DC team take their time and instead of "rushing" (Filming in 2013 and releasing in 2015 is anything but rushed) out a Justice League film. To take the Marvel approach and release some pre-emptive movie tie-ins to beef up the possibility for success. This isn't necessarily a bad idea. But it relies on a basic premise that Warner Bros. has yet to prove. The idea that WB/DC will respect and treat it's Superheroes with the grand design that Marvel did. Something that Warner Bros. has provided no significant evidence to support.
The WB/DC has consistently proven that the one thing they most certainly are not is confident in their characters or their mythos. How can I say that? Simple. Let's look at the recent track record.
In Television, Smallville was a huge success that died a long slow death. Why? Because it continued to operate under the idea that the main character would not become Superman for the entire 10 year run! All people kept saying was "When is this dude going to fly for God's sake!?"
Now they are coming out with Arrow. A show that is a Smallville-like answer to the Green Arrow. They've gone to painstaking lengths to ensure that he is not identified as a "superhero" and they're resorting to anchoring Mr. Queen into "Reality". Sound familiar? It should. This brings me to...
Batman Begins/The Dark Knight/The Dark Knight Rises. This was a great trilogy, right? Sure. Was it a picturesque representation of Batman as he is shown in the comics? No. Nolan went out of his way to ensure that the world of Batman was one rooted in "Reality". That his Batman could have existed in any city. Even your own. Congratuwelldone, Mr. Nolan. Great movies! But not really Batman.
Nolan's films did so well, that they put him in charge of Superman's latest attempt "Man of Steel". Yes, Zack Snyder is directing, so there is an overall hope that Superman may finally get his moment in the Sun as a tried and true boy scout in blue that we geeks know and love. But with Nolan's involvement, you have to wonder: How much of this will be rooted in the "Reality" that Nolan craves so dearly?
The Green Lantern was plagued by production problems and ultimately underperformed. I have my own reasons for disliking the film that I don't need to go into. And with those problems comes the current limbo status on any Green Lantern film follow up.
In the past, the WB/DC engine had been adamant that they had no desire to do team up movies. Only after the resounding success of the Marvel films did WB/DC commit to the idea that a unified cinematic universe could work...because it just did (Thank you Joss Whedon!). Even Zack Snyder back in March of 2011 said that his Supes was to have no connection to any Justice League film. http://goo.gl/YPsmq So his rumored inclusion in the continuity is clearly a last minute ditch effort to capitalize on the success of Marvel's business plan. Which worked. Beautifully.
Here is what the WB/DC will try to do. They will attempt to capitalize on the success of the Avengers by releasing the same summer as part 2. Quite possibly one month after, but not more than two months after the Avengers 2 hits. The WB/DC will operate under the (mostly correct) assumption that their characters are all already household names, better known than Marvel's and that they need no backstory to be introduced. Moreover, the movie will succeed. Why do I know this? How can I be so sure? Because the average moviegoer is pretty dumb.
We Geeks know of the world of comic books inside and out. We know each character mythos as if they were our very own Greek Gods. However, Emma May Johnson from Poughkeepsie doesn't. All she sees is a movie with hot guys dressed up as superheroes that she remembers seeing on TV as a kid.
A great deal of moviegoers don't even understand that the Hulk and Superman do not exist in the same continuity. This ignorance is something that WB/DC will do their best to capitalize on...most likely by simply putting on an air of ambiguity towards it all. And they will succeed.
I will say that people are getting more educated on the whole Comic Book scene, but not enough that WB/DC couldn't cash in on the average consumer's misunderstanding. In fact, I'll bet a shiny silver dollar that I'll hear from at least 5 people that year (2015) that Tony Stark is expected to have a cameo in the JL movie.
This may all come off as pretty negative. But I want to set the record straight. I think a Justice League movie is a great thing! Any chance I can have to go enjoy a Comic Book movie in the theaters is one that I look forward to. More so if the film is made with the love and respect that Marvel's films have all enjoyed. If WB/DC puts forth the effort to make the Justice League and make it right? I have no doubts that it can be a resounding success for both DC, Marvel and Comic book fans alike.
I now offer my only suggestion. Give the project to Paul Dini and Bruce Timm and everyone else should piss off. These guys KNOW DC. They KNOW what works. They've done it many times over and I am sure that they could spearhead a Justice League project that knocks the socks off of anything else the WB could possibly cook up.
Don't agree? SOUND OFF! I want to hear it!