How Justice League Can Take On Avengers at the Box Office
For non-comicbook geeks out there, it’s important to understand the chasm between Marvel and DC if you want to follow some of the decisions that are being made by big film studios. These are the two big forces in comic books, and the two main publishers of the actual books themselves. On the one hand you have DC (owned by Warner Bros) which has been around somewhat longer and has more classic superhero characters under its belt such as Superman and Batman, and then on the other you have Marvel (owned by Disney) which has managed to do a better job of staying relevant and relatable and which has a larger roster of recognizable characters (Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine, X-Men, Iron Man etc.). Each of these publishing companies meanwhile also has a major superhero ‘team’ that acts as their flag bearers and which is made of the most popular characters they have under their control. For Marvel it’s the Avengers, and for DC it’s The Justice League.
Now as we know, the Avengers recently made a killing at the box office and became a literal phenomenon so it stands to reason that Warner Bros would want to accomplish something similar with their own Justice League – and it turns out that they do. As such Warner Bros has announced that Justice League is in the works, but there are some problems with this. For one, the Avengers film had the benefit of the five preceding films (Iron Man 1&2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America) to introduce the characters and create a shared universe. And at the same time the Avengers did it first meaning that any similar DC is just going to seem reactionary and will be more likely to be judged harshly.
So what can the Justice League do to ensure a Dark Knight-style success rather than a Green Lantern-style flop? Here are some great places DC could start…
The Director: What made the Avengers truly great wasn’t the unprecedented nature, nor the stellar cast (though they helped), but rather the incredible direction and writing from Joss Whedon that gave every character a chance to shine and really got you routing for the team. DC need to find a similar director that understands the genre and has a knack for this kind of film.
The Tone: With Avengers being big, bombastic fun, I would argue that the tone of The Justice League needs to be much more gritty and real in order to stand out. With Christopher Nolan likely to produce, and a more real precedent set by The Dark Knight Trilogy and Superman this could seem likely, but more recent rumours are suggesting a cosmic-style bad guy (called Darkseid) and a plot involving space travel which seems to be too similar to Avengers and not particularly grounded.
Continuity: A lot of speculation surrounds the continuity of the Justice League movie. Will Superman be Henry Carville? Will Green Lantern be Ryan Reynolds? While this might be tempting for Warner Bros, it doesn’t really make that much sense seeing as the films starring those characters were never designed to be compatible and have completely different tones. Likewise with Christian Bale almost guaranteed not to be involved, the company’s biggest franchise is going to be forced to reboot meaning it would make sense for the film to stand on its own outside the continuity of Man of Steel and other projects. But please no origin stories – we’ve had enough of those to last a lifetime.
Andrew Simon is a comic addict. He likes collecting comics and has a huge stack of Batman comic series in his house. He watches all the new movies of superheroes without fail.