The first of at least two planned Marvel Avengers movies took the box office by storm last summer. It destroyed opening weekend records and performed well around the world. It was awesome. It was fun. It was in 2D, 3D, IMAX, URMAX, WEALLMAX, YATZI!! Okay, maybe not those last few. But it was great. And it was.... unexpected? No. Not really. This reaction came as little surprise to those of us who'd been paying attention for the last few years. I doubt the execs over at Disney were all that surprised either. They obviously saw something coming when they bought Marvel not long before the movie was made. In fact, many fans were worried that Disney would interfere and ruin what the people at Marvel had been working on, building up to the Avengers movie. Apparently, the people at Disney decided that you shouldn't mess with a good thing. As the old saying goes, if it aint broke, don't fix it.
Some people who did seem surprised were the PTB over at Warner Bros. They had always focused on the individual movies when it came to comic book movies with the one exception being the Watchmen which is a very good movie btw. And I say that it seems to have come as a surprise to Warner Bros mainly, because it was AFTER the success of the Avengers movie that they finally dusted the cob webs off of their own long awaited plans for a Justice League movie. This thing had been talked about and bounced around from creative team to team for years and years. And until the Avengers movie hit it big in the box office, there really wasn't any buzz being heard about the League movie. It seemed very much dead and that Warner would be focusing soley on it's individual properties for now such as Superman. But then, all of a sudden, we start hearing that not only will Warner be making a Justice League movie, but they're doing it Soon. It's already scheduled to be released in 2015 which is the same year that Marvel has said it wants to release the next Avengers movie and that Disney will be flexing its newly acquired force powered muscles in the form of a brand new Star Wars movie. Now, the Star Wars thing is somewhat unrelated, because I'm quite sure that if Disney had acquired the rights earlier, a Star Wars movie would be coming out sooner than that.
Anyway, the fact that Warner Bros now thinks this whole superhero team movie thing is a good idea isn't in itself a negative point against them. Since Warner owns DC comics and the rights to all their movie properties, they have a HUGE character and storyline stable to draw from. They could indeed theoretically make an awesome Justice League movie. But, in my opinion, they won't. Don't get me wrong. They'll make the movie. And it might be passable. But an Avengers movie or Avengers quality movie, it most likely will not be. Now, let's look at why that is.
First off, I think most people are aware at this point that Marvel didn't just churn out a superhero team movie overnight. This thing has been in the works for at least four to five years. They built it up and lead into it with not one, not two, not even three or four, but five stand alone movies based on their individual characters! To my knowledge this has never been done before in any genre. It seems to me that Warner Bros may be neglecting that fact. The most important thing that I think Marvel did though was to put people in control of all of those movies who not only knew about their characters and characters' backgrounds, but actually CARED about them. That can not be stressed enough. If you look at Warner Bros' comic based movies in contrast, you see quite frankly pieces of garbage like the Halle Berry Catwoman mess of a movie, "Batman and Robin" (We will never forgive you for that one), Jonah Hex (even though I did like that movie, it was FAR from what the comics were), and most recently Green Lantern. There is such a thing as creative license, but these aren't your normal movie properties. These are for the most part characters and stories that people have been growing up on and reading for decades. People do care about this stuff and the studio needs to do more than slap the name on the movie and call it good. Some times, things need to be changed a little for adaptation to the big screen and believe it or not, most fans undestand that. It worked pretty well for the Blade series for example (except probably that last one...).
Still, there is something to be said for quality and in the case of the Marvel movies, continuity. For example, there is no way that Nolan's Batman is going to exist in the same world with Ryan Reynolds' Green Lantern or more likely than not, the new version of Superman about to come out this year. Yet, the execs over at Warner were already rumored to be trying to get Joseph Gordon Levitt to portray Batman in the Justice League movie. Now, even if this movie is set outside of the continuity of the most reecent Batman movies, that's still where everyone's minds are going to go if they see Levitt as Batman. And all Warner seems to be thinking is, Hey that movie we had him in did well at the box office. Let's keep him as Batman for Justice League. Hey idiots! If you put any character in that movie as Batman OTHER than Bruce Wayne, the fans will tear you apart. Plain and simple. And if you try and cast Levitt AS Bruce Wayne, it will just seem stupid after is previously mentioned role in DKR. That's the problem though. The people in charge over at Warner Bros only seem to see the dollar signs and go with what little they know about this medium and these characters and that's usually based on previous movies. For example, they thought that Chris Nolan's "obvious" choice for the final main villain against Batman in his trilogy was the Riddler. Now, nothing against you Riddler fans out there, but any fan of Batman from the comics should be able to tell you that you don't follow up Ra's Al Ghul and the Joker with the Riddler. If you're going to have a series like that, want it to be serious, and want a big finish with a real challenge for Batman, it really could only have been Bane or a very small group of other villains such as maybe HUSH. But Warner Bros doesn't know this, because they are NOT fans and they DON'T care. They want money and they want it the easy way. But you can't trick the fans into liking crap that you don't put any real effort behind.
Now, I've said a lot of things about Warner Bros that may seem negative. It may seem like I'm a Marvel fanboy or something of that nature. The truth is that I grew up reading both Marvel and DC comics and if I had to choose a favorite character or book, to this day it would still probably be Batman. I know what the Justice League movie COULD be. I know what I hope it becomes. I'm just saying that Warner Bros doesn't really have a very good track record when it comes to quality in any comic property other than Batman in the last twenty years or so. Watchmen was good in my opinion, but it was realistically a one and done movie. Its not something you build a franchise off of. But maybe I'll be proven wrong. Maybe Warner Bros and DC will surprise us all and knock this movie out of the park. But Disney, Marvel, and the Avengers have set the bar pretty high for this one. And we've still got a few years before the movie is supposed to come out. So, anything can happen. If you'd like more details on what we DO know so far about the up coming Justice League movie, check out this article which all the most recent news about it. And you can go here to see what's up with their new Superman effort.