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 411mania » Movies » Columns

The Justice League of America Gets The Greenlight – But Are Warner Bros. & DC Ready For It?
Posted by Jack McGee on 04.28.2014

I think that it's safe to say that we're living in the golden age of comics as it relates to TV and movies. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is clicking big time, making money, making new fans and also helping the industry as a whole. Marvel is a name many associate first with comics (not that it is correct, just something I know from experience) so for them to succeed mainstream, that bodes well for DC and others to succeed. The movies are big, DC does some fantastic animated DVD releases, and on TV, The Walking Dead, Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have found both loyal audiences and critical acclaim.

And now the stakes have been raised. The Avengers was a mega hit, Iron Man 3 was a mega hit, Thor: The Dark World made $200 million more that the first installment, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier is closing in on making $300 million more than it's first installment. Man of Steel made approximately $670 million at the worldwide box office, and now, due to that we're heading for a Superman vs. Batman film and the long awaited Justice League.

But are DC and Warner Bros ready for it?

While Warner Bros & DC will try to convince you other wise, they are in competition with Marvel and they want to emulate the model that the MCU has achieved so well. In theory, when creating a cinematic universe, Warner Bros & DC has the upperhand because they own the film rights to their characters, while Marvel is handcuffed and without many money making franchises such as the X-Men and Spider-Man. Unfortunately, Warner Bros & DC are still way behind in the game. They had no plan. They let Christopher Nolan create a Batman Universe that they would never be able to use for the Justice League. While those films were great and made a lot of money, they did nothing for the Warner Bros & DC cinematic universe as a building tool.

For example, Nolan's Batman could have and should have been the groundwork to link the cinematic universe, it should have been their Iron Man. Instead it was Nolan's creative arts project, and again, while I enjoyed the films they also put Warner Bros & DC in a bad position in terms of building the stability of their cinematic universe. Now we're starting over with a new Batman and a new universe, and while the allure of Superman and Batman sharing the screen sounds amazing to me as a fan, I am not sure how strong this will be leading to a Justice League film. We're going to have Superman, Batman, Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman and Cyborg as of this writing in the film. Now I hope they stop there, because we're getting close to overload, to a point that the characters won't get their time, not enough time to make people care, to become emotionally invested. Say what you will about the MCU all you want, but that was a planned and methodical attack on comic fans and it worked perfectly.

For almost two years I have been discussing the fact that the success of The Avengers (for better or worse) would talk Warner Bros/DC into this, and it has. Don't kid yourself, they didn't stumble across a great story; they see dollar signs and are now chasing them. They are behind in the game, they are the big league hitter looking for a grand slam instead of playing small ball, manufacturing runs and getting it done through timing and skill. DC has had cold feet with Wonder Woman, and now they are going for it, although not many are happy with the casting choice. Arrow is fantastic, but word is that they do not want that TV product having anything to do with their cinematic universe. Which is a shame, because if The Flash is half as good as Arrow, they would have a fanbase that they can cater to and stay connected with the movies in between projects, similar to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

Eh, that's too easy…

"I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you…"

I don't want to speak for everyone, that's not my place, but to Warner Bros & DC I want you to know that I wish you all the luck in the world, because as a fan, I'm counting on you. You have a big chance here, you have Batman and Superman coming to the big screen together. Something only thought of as a dream becoming a reality. Sure Green Lantern was a colossal failure, but you have to dust yourself off and get back to the drawing board, and you seem to be doing that.

I hope you have a plan, I hope you have carefully crafted a story and I hope that you don't get cold feet. I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not because it's perfect, but because they took the time and properly put together things and made me care. It's enjoyable, it's connected, and it feels like you are along for one big adventure. And there is no reason that the Warner Bros & DC Universe can't be the same; connected, making you care, getting you invested, and making you excited. They have big name heroes, they have big name villains, they have fun secondary heroes, and they have the big team mash up that is a desirable property. We could have the best of both worlds; it isn't about Marvel vs. DC, it's about getting something we can enjoy.

But I am not sure they are ready. Zack Snyder is their guy, and I liked Man of Steel, but I feel they are putting the cart before the horse. Again, despite what they say in interviews, they want to be the MCU, unfortunately Warner Bros & DC don't want to put in the time, effort and planning that made the MCU so successful. And it is that reason I do not feel that they are ready for a Justice League movie no matter how bad fans want it.

I may be completely wrong, Batman vs. Superman and The Justice League of America may be awesome and make a billion dollars, and I am fine with that. I hope I am wrong, because I want good movies, and I want Warner Bros & DC to really be in the game. Prove me wrong, right your previous wrongs, and good luck, we're all counting on you…

Jack McGee is an aspiring investigative journalist with interests covering TV, Movies, Wrestling, MMA and Sports. When not hunting the Incredible Hulk, Jack works on his surfing, his Johnny Utah like throwing motion and origami.


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