POST-AVENGERS DISORDER: DC Fans and the Marvel Blues
It may be filling movie theatres around the world and causing audience to erupt in fits of applause and laughter, but many of us are left asking one question: Did "HULK SMASH" our dreams?
It's a tough time for DC fans. I should know. I'm one of them.
When I heard about the Avengers movie years ago, my first thought was, "Wow. It's awesome that comic book movies have come so far. I can't wait for a Justice League movie!" My second thought was, "Oh, man. We're never going to get a Justice League movie."
Now, I know all about Justice League Mortal, but I think its cancellation was probably for the best. The last thing DC needs is a thrown-together, tongue-in-cheek mess of a movie that tries to compete with Marvel's success. (Green Lantern, anyone?)
No, what DC needs is the kind of focus and fan service that Marvel Studios has given moviegoers for the last several years, an attention to detail that's made Avengers the success that it is --- and who among us, DC fans included, can deny that Avengers kicks ass?
I don't know what the problem is. It could be Warner Bros. and it could be DC, but someone has to be held accountable for this. My vote goes to the fella who decided we need a Jonah Hex flick more than the Flash movie we've been teased with forever. And what about Supermax, the Green Arrow flick that was supposedly in the works awhile back? Why can't DC seem to put out a successful film that doesn't involve Batman or some character from a lesser-known imprint?
All I'm saying is that we need the DC greats on the big screen and we need them now. Wonder Woman. Flash. And yes, even Aquaman could be a successful movie if it was handled by people who take the character seriously. I'm not saying every DC movie needs to be dark and gritty like The Dark Knight, but I firmly believe that if DC wants to make a name for themselves in the cinema, they need to set themselves apart from the popcorn movie Marvel-verse. (I'm looking at you, Green Lantern.)
We comic book fans sometimes forget that the average moviegoer probably has little-to-no knowledge of these characters prior to seeing their films, even in the case of major heroes like Superman. I can't tell you how many people didn't know he was an alien, or that he wasn't a part of the same world as Spider-Man and the X-Men. Thanks to their successful movies, people know Marvel. And people are willing to pay big bucks to see Thor and Hawkeye in action. Thor and Hawkeye?! How is this happening?
The DC Universe deserves better than this. I have faith in the upcoming Man of Steel, but unless they market the hell out of it, there's a very good chance that people will pass it up just like they did with Superman Returns. And his boy scout nature isn't to blame. Captain America works today, and so can Superman. All DC has to do is respect the character and his source material, like Marvel has done far more regularly than their competitors.
The next step would be to avoid Batman for awhile. People will need time to move on from The Dark Knight Rises, and for Batman to be re-vamped in a hero-filled universe, DC will need to establish those heroes. Establishing a continuity between the films would be nice, but even that isn't necessary. If people are given successful origin stories for the individual Justice League members, they'll understand what they're seeing when a Justice League trailer debuts. They'll remember their favorite parts of those films, and they'll be excited to see those characters interact together. If DC instead opts for a Justice League movie right out of the gate, with no prior introduction to these characters, the public won't care, they'll write it off as an Avengers rip-off, and it simply won't work.
This shouldn't be hard for Warner Bros. They did a wonderful job creating consistency with the Harry Potter films despite their changing writers, directors, etc. So why can't their super hero properties be given the same level of attention?
Right now, to be a DC fan is to be on the losing team. It's hard to stay optimistic when Marvel is already so far ahead in the game, but one thing is for certain: The Dark Knight Rises will deliver. If nothing else pans out, TDKR will deliver.
After that, let's hope DC can throw their film franchises into the Lazarus Pit.