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Thoughts on the Upcoming Justice League Movie

As you may or may not have heard, Zack Snyder is apparently going to be directing a Justice League film in 2018.

On the one hand, it is definitely great to see a Justice League film. On the other hand, I am wary about both A. It being an extension of the Man of Steel universe and B. It being another Zack Snyder film.

Clearly, DC is pretty much doing the opposite of Marvel’s approach, where they had individually successful films and then combined the characters into one film. Instead, we’re going to introduce the Justice League in a Superman vs. Batman film and then have the Justice League follow from that.

My concern with that is that if you’re introducing these characters as supporting characters in another person’s movie, it seems to diminish their importance and thus all you GET is a Justice League movie, rather than a Wonder Woman movie or a Flash movie or another Green Lantern movie.

And as for Snyder, I’d prefer to see a unique take on the team film rather than an extension of the Snyder films, because then you’re putting a whooooole of your eggs in just Snyder’s basket.

81 Comments

I think Warner Bros is desperate to get ‘their Avengers” out there and have not given a lot of thought to why THE AVENGERS was such a big hit in the first place.

No one outside the comic shop culture had any idea who those characters were prior to 2008. Getting two Iron Man movies, a Thor movie, a Captain America movie and a couple Hulk movies out there overcame that. By the time the team-up movie rolled around, Iron Man, Cap, Thor, Black Widow, The Hulk and Nick Fury felt like a big deal. Moreover, Marvel hired film-makers that put their own stamp on the universe and so seeing them play together was interesting.

DC has a leg up in that Superman and Batman are two of the biggest ‘stars’ to have emerged from superhero comics, but they don’t offer the sense of discovery that Marvel films offered. Green Lantern is that guy from that terrible movie to most people. No doubt, some of the kids that came of age on JLU consider Hal Jordan a white-washed hero. The Flash is a guy from a failed TV series to those that know him at all. Wonder Woman is Lynda Carter.

Not a ton of sizzle there. They appear ready to add Cyborg (“Wait ,,, from Teen Titans Go!?! Is Beast Boy in it too?”) and I am sure Aquaman (or The Guy from Entourage). It feels like a flop.

It is a shame. I love these characters and want other people to love them too. Marvel laid down a pretty good template and there have to be some people out there who are smart about universe building.

The Flash tv show didn’t fail for lack of trying, Dean. It was simply beyond CBS’ budget at the time. By the time the movie comes out the Flash could very well be a household name with the new tv show.

Bill Williamson

April 27, 2014 at 11:47 pm

Since when did Zack Snyder get such a good name anyhow?

Man of Steel was an awful movie, not least because of its direction. Sepia toned footage. “Found” footage. Overuse of flashbacks. Horrible over-acting (Zod especially came off completely one dimensional). And on. Snyder badly abused techniques that had worked for him in previous movies like Watchmen.

The result I would argue is a movie that succeeded in spite of itself. If MoS grossed as much as it did, imagine how much it would have made if it were as well constructed as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a superhero movie that is now the highest grossing April release EVER. There is so much demand for Superman and Batman that we can get drek like MoS (and Superman Returns before it – also bad in a different way) to “succeed” at the Box Office.

MARVEL-DISNEY KNOWS BETTER. Maybe because their characters aren’t as gold-plated as Superman and Batman, they realize that story, storytelling, and technique are important aspects of a movie ABOUT their characters. To not just shovel out some half-baked, overwrought crud featuring the character and scoop up the dollars that fall out of the sky by magic.

Snyder doesn’t.

While I really enjoyed Man of Steel and the Nolan Batman trilogy, I’m losing enthusiasm for the JL movie. It just seems that WB is exerting too much control rather than giving DC space to make these characters shine. I think Marvel has been successful because they got control over their own material. If they could get Spidey, FF, & X-Men back from Sony and Fox they could probably do them right, too.

Anyway, I’m just setting the bar very low so I won’t be disappointed. Anyone else feel this way?

Yes, THE AVENGERS was a Huge Hit, but it wasn’t necessarily because it was about the preceding movies (I mean, it didn’t hurt…). I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about a Justice League movie since the Avengers was released, and what got me was that it came out about the same time as Justice League (New 52) #6, so I was able to compare them side by side.

Sure, we got to know and love RDJ’s Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers/Captain America, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and umm… Edward Norton reminded us of Banner/Hulk, before Mark Ruffalo made him awesome. Even Nick Fury and Agent Phil Coulson.

But in the first six issues of Justice League, Geoff Johns again reminded us what the word decompressed meant. In the first issue we had Batman and Green Lantern, a glimpse at Victor (soon to be Cyborg) Stone and a full page splash of an angry Superman. Issue two added Barry Allen/Flash, and then Wonder Woman, Aquaman, then Vic became Cyborg.

And writing down the list like that, I realised the quintessential difference between Avengers and the Justice League. Rewatched Avengers…. yep.

In the first act of the movie we see: Nick and Coulson, Hawkeye, then Steve Rogers working out, Natasha Romanov being the ultimate femme fatale, Bruce Banner as a doctor and Iron Man underwater.

Hawkeye and Iron Man are the only two in costume, and Iron Man becomes Stark literally two minutes later.

Whereas the Justice League comic had Batman being the goddam Batman, Green Lantern being Green Lantern, Vic Stone as a football player, Superman being more powerful than a locomotive, Barry Allen as a forensic scientist who then “suits up” to fight Superman, then Wonder Woman and Aquaman.

All those naming conventions were deliberate, because new fish Vic Stone and the only JL member who is vaguely human (Barry Allen) are the only two shown in costume. Batman unmasks to Green Lantern in the climax, but we never hear the words Clark Kent or Arthur Curry or Diana Prince.

Because in the 1960’s, these people were not important. They were placeholders, taking up a few pages before the Dark Knight, the Amazonian Princess and the King of the Seas leapt into action. Hell, these days Diana Prince and Arthur Curry are barely used at all; they had secret identities because that’s just what you do.
Marvel, on the other hand, thrived off their secret identities, these people with realistic flaws. Without them, the Avengers just wouldn’t be interesting.

So, a Justice League movie could come out this Christmas with (in my opinion) no problem. Because we know the characters well enough by their titles: Man of Steel. Dark Knight. Wonder Woman. Green Lantern. Fastest Man Alive. King of the Seas. Cyborg. And their origins: Last Son of a Dead Planet. My Parents are Dead. Superpowered Woman Leaves Utopia to be a Hero. Space Cop because he is Fearless. Lab Accident. King of the Seas. Accident of some sort lets genius dad make him a Cyborg.

Any attempt to build up their human side would inevitably be a pale facsimilie of the Avengers, so just do what Geoff did, what DC was built around: Highlight the Capes, Cowls and Kickassery, and ignore the secret identities and origin stories. Hell, even Grant Morrison summed up Superman’s origin in eight words.

Capes. Cowls. Kickassery.

DC’s problem in a nutshell is that they think EVERYTHING must be about Batman and that people will only accept other characters AFTER they’ve been associated with Batman.

Bill Williamson

April 28, 2014 at 3:09 am

@ Wandijina: I find it…interesting that you would cite the New 52 Justice League as the way to do a Justice League film. While it was certainly A way to do Justice League, it’s not THE way. Although, that’s probably what this Justice League movie is going to be based on.

Otherwise, I agree that secret identities and the people behind the mask are less important when it comes to doing team stories. The Justice League animated series barely touched on them. The Teen Titans animated series didn’t even have secret identities really.

Even The Avengers, their secret identities don’t matter too much, at least when they work as a team. The biggest thing is the team dynamic, how these very different people find a way to work together.

I don’t think Snyder will get that right. He’s already displayed a complete lack of understanding about who Superman is, I don’t really have any confidence that he’ll display better understanding of the Justice League as a whole.

Agree on the Zack Snyder-verse, but I don’t think you can say “it worked for Avengers it will work for JLA” or that it should be done that way. Yes, Wonder Woman will be a supporting character in Superman/Batman and JLA, but they then have the chance to spin the characters off from there. Which Marvel should be doing now. Instead of plans for Captain America 3 they should be working on Black Widow or Hawkeye. Growing the universe, not shrinking it.

Metal Men? All the stuff DC has available and Metal Men is a possibility for a movie in the 21st century? Wha? That’s the thing that jumped out to me in that story.

I hope the B’Wana Beast movie is next up….

Eh. Honestly, Man of Steel was a huge let down for me. And as it seems like that, and by extension the Nolan Batflicks, are a template of what to expect from DC flicks, I’m honestly not even interested in seeing this in the cinema.

The reason Avengers worked was because the characters were so well realised, but i honestly can’t think of a single character from Man of Steel who was anything more than just an exposition source used to movie the plot forward. The closest thing it had to a hero was Zod. Hell, at least he was trying to do something for a legitimate reason. Why was Superman trying to save humanity? Pa Kent pretty much said fuck em, Clark spent his whole life traveling, alone, making no real connection with the species, and yet in the end, given the chance to see his people return from the dead, he chooses humanity. Why? Because otherwise the film would have had a really downer ending and ruined any chance of sequels. People blame Snyder for having no ability with character, but you have to blame Goyer for delivering a script without a single moment of character development or any real emotional beats.

I wonder if this means that the rejected Justice League script by Will Beal will leak sometime soon…

I really don’t see how the tonality of Man of Steel and the Nolan Bat-movies really works for something like Justice League. I don’t think it worked for Superman, and I certainly don’t see it working with characters like Green Lantern and the Flash.

I don’t think that Snyder is a good director for this movie. Man of Steel was an epic and I do not think that this will suit well for the Justice League. Snyder was always a director who pretended to be something more – which is strange due to the fact that he first worked in advertisement.
But I do not want to criticize something that is far from being ready. I hope that fans of Justice League will be happy about the final result

I thought Man of Steel turned out dreadfully. If that’s the movie, the director and the style they’re going to build a DC movie universe from, I have zero hope.

I care more about Guillermo Del Toro’s Justice League Dark film.

One important thing to keep in mind is that Marvel Studios is its own studio that is ONLY doing the Avengers-feeder movies, while any DC Comics movies are but a line within Warners. To have connected films there, regardless of the success of Marvel’s “Cinematic Universe” really means doing it as a sequence, since it’s a different power structure being answered to than with publishing. Remember that DC has *not* shown Warners the success of linking their characters in disparate films before, so the brass isn’t about to take that chance just because another studio is doing so (and because a small fan community on comics message boards call for it) — especially with the money that MAN OF STEEL already made despite any complaints some might have.

The logical build-up, given DC’s structure within Warners and the untested nature of these characters’ linkage in live film media is to do just what they’re doing: have a growing trilogy, where the two known characters prominently star in #2 with small appearances/introductions/cameos by some other characters who will figure equally prominently in #3 (likely cliffhangered off of that film in some fashion and filmed back-to-back). With wide success comes spinoffs and other team-ups, but at least this way there’s the setup internally within a likely-skeptical Warners of doing a larger project with a cast of more-unknown characters (especially after the failure of GREEN LANTERN and the presumption that many of the DC characters are “TV characters”).

The other thing to remain conscious of is the difference always between the opinions of dedicated comics fans who populate message boards, casual comics fans who know these characters but don’t share the same zeitgeist, and the wider action audience who will watch a Superman, Batman, or Zack Snyder film.

I think that its really interesting to see that WE – the hardcore fans – sound everyday like bored of the superheroe movies. Hey, I’m including myself here!

Of course I’ll be there on the release day of the JL movie, but I’m not so excited, and with little trust on the results, instead to be HAPPY as I’d sure would be if this were happening in, let’s say, 1993…..(SH movie fatigue?)

Without a doubt if WE, THE FANS are satrting to be bored with the superhero movies, this means the end of this trend for a while…and I’m ok with that too,

I LOVE superheroes, but I know that this is only a hollywood trend as westerns or war movies….and of course you and me will be there every wednesday in the comic store after this trend, and the great thing is that posssibly a lot of new kids/fans will be there too, thank to this holywood age of superheroes….

Yeah, Kaniole, I wonder if the WB movies will signal the end of the trend. There’s always backlash after a big blockbuster, but the responses to Rises and Man of Steel turned sour rather quickly and loudly. It may be telling that this year’s Marvel movies like Winter Soldier and GotG are genre hybrids, blending the superhero with 60s conspiracy thriller and lighthearted space opera, respectively. (If it weren’t for the Marvel branding, would GotG even register as a superhero genre movie?)

My sense is that Avengers and The Dark Knight will be looked back on as the high water marks by most people. (Both films have their detractors, but still seem to enjoy a mostly positive reputation.) Everything since has been somewhat divisive, excepting perhaps the recent Cap flick, and again, that one is relatively grounded for a superhero film. Part of the problem some people had with Rises was that it lost the grounded feel in favor of a more over-the-top threat and stuff like a whole city held hostage for three months. That, plus its huge runtime and deliberately anticlimactic ending, probably contributed to its split reputation as of 2014.

And while I’m likely in the minority in being apprehensive about Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, I predict it will not be as well received as the previous Whedon effort. For one thing, it already seems like it’s trying to do too much plot/continuity stuff by using HYDRA, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver being introduced and going from terrorist pawns to Avengers, *and* introducing and developing an original take on Ultron all in the same movie. Whedon has a good, light touch for this sort of material, but the film still runs the risk of being seriously overplotted.

If Snyder was as visionary like Nolan I would say this was a great call but Snyder is an MTV hack.
Watchmen literally adapted the work without bringing in any sense of the cinematic wonder or opening it up that was required. Man of Steel had a confused story which was over-produced with meaningless CGI destruction.

DC are actually suffering from having all their character rights at one studio; that one team can only produce a limited number of films. While they can have a shared universe for all their characters it causes all sorts of problems in scheduling.

Marvel actually benefits from having 3 studios making films of their characters, as each studio will strive to make them as successful as possible. It means multiple Marvel character films each
year and it adds to the total brand recognition and awareness. So much so that I believe smaller fare like Guardians and Ant-men will also be favorably welcomed.

The core problem is that DC characters are rooted in the Golden Age & their sheer familiarity offers very little new to the the audience hence the constant rebooting of the DC universe.

I like DC characters – they deserve great movies – but they are being ill-served by Warner Bros.

MAN OF STEEL was so depressing. I don’t take this “announcement” as news because we all saw it coming, but it still bums me out that MoS is setting the tone for JUSTICE LEAGUE. Beyond anything else, MoS so fundamentally got Superman wrong as to not make sense — if anything, the Superman presented in that movie should have allied with Zod. He had been taught his whole life to fear and distrust humanity. I know it’s just a movie, but it still breaks my heart how horribly all involved missed the point of Superman.

I actually find it funny that the two new reboots are both really missing essential origin beats: MoS made Jor-El the inspiration and downgraded Pa Kent to a paranoid suicidal nutter, and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN had the requisite Ben scene but is building a saga around… Peter’s parents!? I’m not sure if the respective production teams just wanted to do something different from previous films, but in doing so, they just fundamentally did. not. get. it.

Someone above made a point that we don’t “need” individual films or time to get to know these characters like we did the Avengers, because DC characters are costume-first, people-second, and that’s often true (sometimes to their detriment), but that doesn’t mean audiences don’t need time to get to know the caped character. The worst thing about AVENGERS, in my opinion, is the traitorous Hawkeye at the beginning, because we don’t know him well enough to really understand or care yet. It doesn’t matter if Hal Jordan takes a backseat to Green Lantern, Green Lantern will end up being nothing more than light-up CGI on a human frame if the character isn’t developed (although that’s more Snyder’s style anyway).

Even though I hated MoS, I think it’s mind-blowing that Warner is seemingly sacrificing a solo trilogy to make a team movie. Are they really so tapped out of Superman ideas after Zod (again) that they have to go the team route to get a script up and running? Will film audiences EVER see a Superman film with a villain other than Luthor or Zod? One assumes Darkseid is the logical JL villain, but Thanos is going to beat him to the screen and invite unwelcome comparisons aplenty.

Finally, I think it’s worth remembering that Marvel is very good about making the movies they explicitly promise to make, whereas Warner often mentions projects that then go away. This time last year, it was SUICIDE SQUAD and JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, now it’s METAL MEN and SHAZAM. And how can Warner keep a straight face saying they haven’t figured out a way to make Wonder Woman work solo, yet they’re now planning movies about a group of malleable robots with cartoon personalities made by a kooky scientist? If they wanted to make a WW movie, they could find fifty talented screenwriters bending over backwards to do it. Honestly, if Marvel can make a BLACK WIDOW or CAPTAIN MARVEL movie before Warner announces WONDER WOMAN, Warner is going to have their butts handed to them. Marvel is pumping out well-received movie after well-received movie, while also diversifying subgenres, and Warner is taking a decade from IRON MAN’s Avengers kick-off to introduce their shared universe.

Yeah, I’m not looking forward to two more superhero films from Snyder. MAN OF STEEL had elements that worked (Henry Cavill was good as Superman, some of the set-pieces were well done), but huge chunks of it were just ill-conceived.

Bill Williamson

April 28, 2014 at 7:03 am

@ Stephen B: I could not agree more. With regards to the origin beats, I’ll add that it distresses me how all involved not only completely missed the point of the characters they write about, but pat themselves on the backs for doing so.

warners must really want to finaly get the dc universe on film. given how zack also did the watchman film. and this way even though they kind of hurt wonder woman and cyborg by having them in superman vs batman. this way they can’t be told they are just copying disney over and over. but will zack be able to pull it off.

For me, this quote from Snyder pretty much explains why I’m not looking forward to his Justice League film:

“I guess for me–and in the original version of the script he just got zapped into the Phantom Zone–David and I had long talks about it and Chris and I talked long about it and it was like, ‘I really think we should kill Zod and I really think Superman should kill him,’” Snyder explained. “And the why of it was, for me, that if it’s truly an origin story, his aversion to killing is unexplained. It’s just in his DNA. I felt like we needed him to do something, just like him putting on the glasses or going to the Daily Planet or any of the other things that you’re sort of seeing for the first time that you realize will then become his thing. I felt like, if we can find a way of making it impossible for him–like Kobayashi Maru, totally no way out–I felt like that could also make you go, ‘Okay, this is the why of him not killing ever again, right?’ He’s basically obliterated his entire people and his culture and he is responsible for it and he’s just like, ‘How could I kill ever again?’””

Yes, Snyder had Superman kill Zod because Superman needs to have an origin for his aversion to killing.

“My concern with that is that if you’re introducing these characters as supporting characters in another person’s movie, it seems to diminish their importance and thus all you GET is a Justice League movie, rather than a Wonder Woman movie or a Flash movie or another Green Lantern movie.”

My take on DC/WARNER’s strategy is that they were planning on following MARVEL’s gameplan, but the huge failure of GREEN LANTERN ($219,851,172 world wide box office as compared to a $200 million production budget) rattled them.

I quit DC when the New 52 started, and I have hard time being interested in anything they do now. I did not bother to see Man Of Steel, and from what I have hear it was not a movie I would care to see.

Nothing I have heard about MOS 2 or the JLA movie has even tempted me to change my mind.

I think that its really interesting to see that WE – the hardcore fans – sound everyday like bored of the superheroe movies. Hey, I’m including myself here!

Of course I’ll be there on the release day of the JL movie, but I’m not so excited, and with little trust on the results, instead to be HAPPY as I’d sure would be if this were happening in, let’s say, 1993…..(SH movie fatigue?)

Without a doubt if WE, THE FANS are satrting to be bored with the superhero movies, this means the end of this trend for a while…and I’m ok with that too,

First, you can only speak for yourself here. Just because YOU’RE bored doesn’t mean “the fans” are bored. Look at the blockbuster business Winter Soldier did and how much fans liked it. I don’t see superhero movie fatigue at all. At the end of the movie everyone was already buzzing about the sequels.

We’ve been hearing about this so-called superhero movie fatigue for over 10 years now. Especially right before or right after an obvious flop. And then lo and behold the next great (or overrated, but I won’t name names) superhero movie comes out and people are excited again.

People have and always have had BAD MOVIE FATIGUE. People won’t get tired of superhero movies that are good, just like there will never be an end to drama, action, or comedy genres. I do think people may tire of a specific TYPE of superhero movie (obvious Joseph Campbell template with darkness, overwrought angst and a hamfisted score, AKA the Nolan-Goyer-Snyder template) but I see no signs of it abating given how each time a new movie record is made (the latest being biggest April opening ever), it’s almost always a superhero movie.

I’m not excited about this movie either, but that’s because modern DC sucks, and the current cinematic universe architects seem intent on taking cues from the modern comics, often with disastrous results. If this same movie was being done by someone like say Brad Bird or some of the big names behind some of the better recent DC Animated fare like Greg Wiseman I’d be perfectly excited.

My take on DC/WARNER’s strategy is that they were planning on following MARVEL’s gameplan, but the huge failure of GREEN LANTERN ($219,851,172 world wide box office as compared to a $200 million production budget) rattled them.

I don’t think that rattled them so much as the performance of Man of Steel to be honest. Man of Steel was the first movie that was explicitly stated to be the beginning of a larger cinematic universe, whereas Green Lantern wasn’t. Man of Steel did well and was profitable, but it underperformed, and even worse, it had mixed to terrible word of mouth, which I think really made them worry about their momentum and the anticipation for the sequels. That’s why they started resorting to gimmicks like announcing Batman, Wonder Woman, and now Cyborg.

Omar (and Kaniole) –

People have been announcing the demise of the superhero movie “trend” since 2002 or so. The next summer is always going to be the one when people finally get bored of the genre and then it will be all downhill from there.

For some reason though, it never happens. Superhero genre burnout is like the rapture with Evangelicals. It’s always next year.

Sometimes I think Grant Morrison is right. With people in the 21th century growing more and more disilusioned with current political, scientific, social, and religious leaders, they’re discovering what comic book nerds already did for decades: that superheroes are a great, big antidote to feelings of aimlessness and powerlessness.

I’m not as fervent in the belief as Morrison, in that I doubt that superheroes will be some sort of cultural catalyst for a new human being or whatever, but I think he does has a point, and that people will still be taking those few doses of “superhero hope” every year.

Even though I hated MoS, I think it’s mind-blowing that Warner is seemingly sacrificing a solo trilogy to make a team movie. Are they really so tapped out of Superman ideas after Zod (again) that they have to go the team route to get a script up and running?

They were tapped out of ideas before they even made the first Superman movie, which is why it’s just Goyer doing his same old shtick: pick a them, a single theme, and write every last bit of the movie around that theme, and insert it into as much of a Star Warslike Joseph Campbell hero’s journey stock script format as possible. So the problem was never a lack of ideas. Goyer can’t run out of ideas because he’s working off a template. The second installment would have been Superman’s Empire Strikes Back Movie, like his Dark Knight was (everything ends on a dour note) and his third movie would have been his Return of the Jedi (heroes come back from second movie to rally to final victory). Joseph Campbell’s monomyth has 17 steps total I believe, and there is an existing template created by the Star Wars movies on how to apply it to a trilogy, so Goyer was never going to have a problem creating a trilogy. It’s not about having a lack of ideas going into the sequels because Goyer never has ideas going into ANY movie. Having ideas is irrelevant to what Goyer does just like having an artistic vision is irrelevant to painting by numbers.

The problem is simple: the Man of Steel movie underperformed, and they want to stack the deck with gimmicks. When Marvel launched it’s cinematic universe with Iron Man, from the beginning it had a hugely positive word of mouth. They had generated enough goodwill that they could afford to take their time with solo movies and build to the Avengers. They (arguably) kept topping themselves or at least maintaining quality enough to do that.

Superman’s word of mouth was highly, highly mixed. They spent a ton of money on it and although it generated a profit, the second week dropoff in box office take was HUGE. That scares companies and shareholders. The expectations for superhero movies now post-Marvel Studios is way different than it was when Iron Man first debuted. Marvel Studios is making squels with their lower rung characters like Captain America that can outgross Man of Steel’s numbers in a measly three weeks!

With that bad start, they have to jump to the big guns early and in the most gimmicky way possible because they have generated none of Marvel Studios goodwill. If Man of Steel’s box office take dropped so drastically between 1st and 2nd week, who knows what the reception to a Man of Steel sequel would be? The non-lazy option would be for them to realy take a long hard look at why Man of Steel failed to connect with audiences and retool the sequel accordingly in such a way that will rebuild goodwill. But this is Synder/Goyer so non-lazy isn’t an option. Instead just do the same thing, except louder and with the gimmick of more characters sooner.

renenarciso –

Exactly! This narrative of superhero comics always coming to an end I think is a reaction to comic fans who are used to their hobby being rejected by non-fans not able to process their hobbies newfound popularity with the public. Part of me thinks fans on some level WANT it to happen because something that was once THEIR thing is now something the cool kids have hopped onto, and it feels unearned and like a bandwagon, especially to people who stuck with comics when it was totally uncool to do so. So we gladly anticipate when the cool kids will get tired of and “return” superhero comics to us.

I also think another thing is we’re so used to having out hobby rejected by the mainstream that we’re unable to fully trust its newfound mainstream acceptance and grow comfortable with it. We keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. So as a defense to a sure-to-come rejection we try to get in front of it and call it out first, almost as a form of owning the rejection, or rejecting the mainstream before they get a chance to reject us (again).

I’m not trying to say these are specifically Omar and Kaniole’s motivations, as I don’t personally know them. I do think though that in a general sense a lot of the doomsaying does come from an inability to process this newfound mainstream acceptance. It’s the age old dilemma of how does a soldier define himself once he wins his war?

Also, to the person who called Westerns a trend, they were hugely popular from the silent era and were consistently produced for over 40 years. It’s a bit more than a trend. If superhero movies do as well as Westerns did that will still be quite an impressive run and more than a trend.

The way some people go on about “superhero movie fatigue”, you think they had dozens of them every year, every weekend, crunching out of a production facility. Marvel is doing a grand total of TWO this year. Fox has one, Sony has one, and Disney is doing one. So that’s six.

OUT OF HUNDREDS OF MOVIES THAT ARE RELEASED EVERY YEAR, there are six that will center on superheroes. They’re not even particularly related, one had a conspiracy thriller vibe, one’s a space opera, another is a sci-fi time travel epic, etc. If you ever got tired of them, there were plenty of other options, ya know? Man of Steel did not stop Before Midnight and 12 Years a Slave from getting created.

I really don’t see how the tonality of Man of Steel and the Nolan Bat-movies really works for something like Justice League. I don’t think it worked for Superman, and I certainly don’t see it working with characters like Green Lantern and the Flash.

I don’t think it even worked for Batman. Joyless, dour, “grounded” “realistic” movies go against everything that makes superheroes awesome.

Superheroes is a new genre – much like the ubiquitous Western it’s replaced.
Where the western became a vehicle for examining current social conditions, see Eastwood’s Josey Wales as a comment on the Vietnam war, the superhero genre has started to do the same.
The most relevant so far have been Nolan’s Dark Knight and Cap Am 2, will other’s continue this trend?

Look at how Ford used The Searchers as a vehicle to examine racial prejudice; the superhero genre will only thrive if it continues to break out of the predictable.

Bernard the Poet

April 28, 2014 at 9:16 am

Making a Justice League film should be fairly straightforward. No? The formula is already in place. Look at films like the Seven Samurai, the Dirty Dozen or the Guns of Navarone.

You establish some threat or menace. Superman, is your main hero, he recognises that the threat is too big for him to overcome alone, so he needs to recruit a team. Some of the group won’t be entirely trustworthy, but Superman is desperate so he has to take a risk. Maybe, Superman has a specific plan that requires that someone who can stretch or run at the speed of light.

The first part of your film will be gathering the team. Then they train together, practice the plan. When they go to put the plan into motion, mishaps will occur, before they are finally triumphant.

To differentiate your film from the Avengers, you could kill off two or three of the B Listers. If any particular character stands out, you might give them a spin-off movie.

I don’t see why Warner Bros are making such heavy weather of this.

Well, Westerns were cyclical. The public would get tired of them and they would be dormant for a while. A very good example is the 1930s, when high-budget Westerns were considered box-office poison.

(There were A LOT of low-budget Westerns in the 1930s, but they were hour-long, ludicrous, kiddie fare. John Wayne made a lot of these and they are sometimes a lot of fun, but they are cheaply made and dumber than hell.)

But the Westerns came back in the late 1930s with films like Jesse James and Stagecoach.

So despite Westerns being around for decades, I could see studio executives in 1940 wondering how long the Western “trend” would last.

Bernard the Poet

April 28, 2014 at 9:46 am

@Asif -” the superhero genre will only thrive if it continues to break out of the predictable.”

I agree with you, but I am not hopeful. You have got to bear in mind that these films cost hundreds of millions of dollars, If the film flops, then people will lose their jobs/struggle to get hired for new jobs. So film-makers err on the side of caution, they play safe and they repeat what has worked before. In 1978, Superman was a big hit, and thirty-six years later most Superhero films still use that as the blueprint.

And it is not just Superhero films, it applies to all Hollywood movies. I remember hearing Neil Gaiman interviewed once, roughly his point was that, ‘you can walk into any movie at random and within 15 minutes, you will know what is going to happen in it.’

The truth is that the mass majority of people prior to the Superhero Film Revolution were comic book virgins, especially in regards to Marvel. This was Marvel’s biggest triumph in one way. They didn’t have to worry about decades of Marvel canon when they made the Iron Man, Hulk, Thor..etc movies. They got the parts the fans wanted but made it all available for the bigger and vastly ignorant market.
DC has a big problem with success it seems like to me. Superman will always have Christopher Reeves comparissons while Batman has a sort of “been there done that” feel. I mean, just about every major villian in Batman’s rogues gallery has been represented in the past 20 years of films. Kind of hard to be original now.
Dean is correct about Wonder Woman and Lynda Carter…you can’t get away from that unless you work at it.
Flash should be such an easy movie to create. He’s an intelligent CSI guy, he has that nice guy quality, a bit shy maybe and he can move very fast. It shouldn’t be hard to work some story out. He should be a very approachable character.
Green Lantern needs an overhaul. The concept was good but they tried to put too much in it too soon. No intro movie should have 2 bad guys. Forget OA and all the space stuff for the majority of the film.

Westerns never died. They just mostly mutated into the modern action cowboy cop movie in the 1970s. They didn’t become outdated, actually the rise of urban crime caused westerns to become “acceptable” in contemporary settings!

Why the hell is DC Entertainment rushing for a film to rival “The Avengers”?

The reason “The Avengers” worked was because starting from 2000 MARVEL started making a name for themselves on the big- screen. “X-Men” and “Spider-Man” made bank and even B-listers like Ghost RIder got movies. Then MARVEL decided to take the helm and took risks with Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Thor. Not only did this pay-off but they planted seeds for their big payday along the way.

I’m surprised they’re pushing for a Justice League intro only after one installment of their intended cinematic universe (cause I don’t want to count the Nolan movies as part of that yet). Even in “Smallville” where they eventually decided to make it a world where other popular DC characters exist, the other heroes were introduced sparingly and it took approximately 7 seasons for a Justice League to show up there.

Heck. The most they can probably do is adapt from Geoff Johns’ initial story arc (which was kinda to similar to “The Avengers” in my opinion) where it takes place YEARS after Man of Crap… i mean Steel and heroes have been active for a while and deal with origins and related stuff like that later (just like in the TV movie! har har).

Westerns never died. They just mostly mutated into the modern action cowboy cop movie in the 1970s. They didn’t become outdated, actually the rise of urban crime caused westerns to become “acceptable” in contemporary settings!

GREAT insight!

For me, this quote from Snyder pretty much explains why I’m not looking forward to his Justice League film:

“I guess for me–and in the original version of the script he just got zapped into the Phantom Zone–David and I had long talks about it and Chris and I talked long about it and it was like, ‘I really think we should kill Zod and I really think Superman should kill him,’” Snyder explained. “And the why of it was, for me, that if it’s truly an origin story, his aversion to killing is unexplained. It’s just in his DNA. I felt like we needed him to do something, just like him putting on the glasses or going to the Daily Planet or any of the other things that you’re sort of seeing for the first time that you realize will then become his thing. I felt like, if we can find a way of making it impossible for him–like Kobayashi Maru, totally no way out–I felt like that could also make you go, ‘Okay, this is the why of him not killing ever again, right?’ He’s basically obliterated his entire people and his culture and he is responsible for it and he’s just like, ‘How could I kill ever again?’””

Yes, Snyder had Superman kill Zod because Superman needs to have an origin for his aversion to killing.

This is a big problem with “hack thinking.” For example, hacks think every genre fiction has to slavishly follow Joseph Campbell to a tee, especially as interpreted by Christopher Vogler, so they have all these steps including the repeated refusals of the call to action along with the spiritual mentor (which is why Jor-El is reinvented into a hologram Jiminy Cricket similar to Obi-Wan Kinobi). Because it’s called “hero’s journey,” a big part of it has to be about showing the hero “become” a hero, he can’t just start off heroic. This is why the Captain America first movie, for all its faults, was bold and daring in a very quiet way. He at no point has to be
“convinced” to be heroic. He starts off heroic, even before he has any powers. He stands up to bullies even as a 98 pound weakling. Writers who engage in “hack thinking” can’t fathom that because it’s not in their screenwriting bible.

Not only must there be repeated refusals of calls to action, it must be dragged out as long as possible. This is why so many people hated Hal Jordan in the Green Lantern movie. He spends so much time being unheroic and resistant to the call to heroism that by the end of the movie when he does finally become a hero it’s too late, you already hate him.

Hack thinking dictates that people who are just inherently decent are “unrelatable,” which is why the makers of Man of Steel wanted to make Superman more morally ambiguous and less “perfect,” but what they got instead was mixed lukewarm response and people who didn’t find him relatable anyway. Meanwhile the Winter Soldier movie, which wasn’t made by hacks, had a guy who was inherently good who didn’t refuse any calls to action and it had a hugely positive response and people found the main character extremely likable and relatable. Amazing, it’s almost as if people care most about actual good writing and full characterization rather than screenwriting formulas and cardboard cutout 2-dimensional archetypes off a checklist.

Another aspect of hack thinking is that everything needs an “origin.” For example in Nolan Batman trilogy, nothing can just “be.” Batman does a suit change, the suit change needs an “origin.” He can’t just have a new suit. Part 2 has to open with them creating some ridiculous in-story reason for the suit, something to do with dogs. Winter Soldier, Captain America just has a new suit. Why? Why not, it looks cool. It’s not important. Goyer was a co-writer with Geoff Johns for a while, the guy who gave Hal Jordan’s leather jacket and Barry Allen’s bow tie an origin. If he wrote Spider-Man Year One I’m sure Johns would have given the Ditko blue blazer an origin also. That’s another reason why Superman not killing needs an “origin.”

Besides my distaste for MoS, I think they’re going about it wrong just so they can say “See? We’re not doing the same thing as Marvel.” (Though trajan23 makes a really good point that it may be because of GL). JLA might be doing it with bigger names….(well, ok, two or three), but what they’re doing really isn’t all that different than what has been done already. X-Men, Fantastic Four. Superhero teams. What made Avengers epic, other than the idea that we’d probably never get to see this on the big screen (and done so well) was that no one has ever combined franchises like that before, and brought them all together. It was epic. DC/WB could do the same. But they’re choosing not to. And that’s a mistake.

Because as opposed to some other ideas in the thread, we care about what happens to the Avengers because we know their other ids. And who they are as characters. Cap’s melancholy end in First Avenger. Tony Stark’s wit covering his insecurities. Etc. Just throw them in, and that doesn’t work. We don’t really care about Hawkeye, because he’s only had a cameo. Black Widow, a little more. Throw new people in for the first time, and it won’t work for everyone. In X-Men we care about Wolverine, and maybe Rogue, as well as Professor X and Magneto. But Cyclops, Storm? No one cares about them, because they’re just there.

I think sometimes it comes down to the fact that Marvel has hired filmmakers and guided and pushed them into how to make a superhero movie, and WB has hired guys who think they’re comic guys and then tell them to change things, or just let them do whatever they want. If you have Nolan that might turn out really good. Maybe not as a superhero movie, but as a film. If they’re not as good as Nolan, well, you get Man of Steel.

Bernard the Poet

April 28, 2014 at 2:33 pm

The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, Reservoir Dogs, The Wild Geese, Ocean’s 11, The Expendables, X-Men First Class, Star Wars, Saving Private Ryan. There are countless examples of commercially and critically successful films, which involve a group of interesting characters banding together to complete a mission.

You don’t need three or four films building towards a Justice League film. Just do it.

You don’t need three or four films building towards a Justice League film. Just do it.

Exactly! There’s nothing wrong with starting with a team movie. Look at comics even. There weren’t a bunch of solo comics before making an X-Men comic, the book started with them as a team from the get-go.

Justice League will suck, but it will suck because of the culture of incompetence and hackery at DC and it’s movie division. It would suck even if they did solo movies first and then did the Justice League.

@ T.

Exactly! There’s nothing wrong with starting with a team movie. Look at comics even. There weren’t a bunch of solo comics before making an X-Men comic, the book started with them as a team from the get-go.

Justice League will suck, but it will suck because of the culture of incompetence and hackery at DC and it’s movie division. It would suck even if they did solo movies first and then did the Justice League.

The difference between the DC and Marvel film projects is that the Marvel cinematic project is headed up by someone with specific taste (Kevin Feige) and DC is run by a marketing person apparently without personal taste (Diane Nelson). Nelson was great when she had a creator that had a strong, appealing aesthetic in JK Rowling. However, no one involved with DC is anywhere close (excluding maybe Chris Nolan, who is out).

Feige was able to say “I’d love to Branagh’s THOR and Joss Wheedon’s AVENGERS”. Diane Nelson just seems to want to make something (ANYTHING!!!!) that makes money. Big difference.

Yeah, though I think X-Men isn’t all that useful as an analogy because it’s a different kind of team. The X-Men, like the Fantastic Four, was traditionally a tight-knit group that lived together and generally spent all its time together. The JLA, like the Avengers, is more of a commuter team of A-list heroes who spend most of their time off having far-flung individual adventures but band together when the threat warrants it. With that in mind, it’s helpful to establish the superstar status of each hero individually before lumping them all together as faces in the crowd.

buttler – But it could also work the other way around. Start with a really strong first story that shows you the team, but admittedly can’t get very indepth with any of them. But show just enough of every character to generate a lot of interest. This can then whet a lot of appetites for the solo movies.

I say it CAN work, although I think it likely won’t because under DC’s go-to guys for TV and movies (Berlanti, Guggenheim, Snyder, Nolan, Goyer, Johns) the skills are simply not there. But under those guys the reverse route of solo movies first and then team movie is likely to fail also.

@ Trajan23:

My take on DC/WARNER’s strategy is that they were planning on following MARVEL’s gameplan, but the huge failure of GREEN LANTERN ($219,851,172 world wide box office as compared to a $200 million production budget) rattled them.

Probably.

To me, Green Lantern flopped because DC/WB muddled the difference between a movie and a franchise. Movies are a vehicle to tell stories. They can be genre stories, like superheroes, but they mostly have to be good. By that, I mean that they have to be satisfying in and of themselves.

Franchises, on the other hand, are about creating stories within a world that people want to re-visit. It is nice if the stories themselves are good, but not actually essential. Fans returns to their favorite fictional universes over and over almost irrespective of the quality of any individual story.

A great movie can tell a totally unpleasant story, but a franchise cannot be set in an unpleasant world. The world GREEN LANTERN created kind of sucked. No one would want to visit there. Ever. The story wasn’t any great shakes, but that was a lesser failure.

Sadly, that is a lesson that they haven’t learned. I thought MAN OF STEEL was a totally fine movie, but the world it created was terrible in a lot of the same ways as GL. It is not a place to which I am eager to return.

Renenarcisco, I disagree. While the Western did influence urban vigilantes, that doesn’t make them Westerns, any more than the Kurasawa influence on the Magnificent Seven makes that a samurai movie.
One problem with Snyder’s rationale for Superman killing Zod (one of the many, obviously) is that it isn’t in any way shape or form something you can get from the film. He could have said something to the general or Lois afterwards (“Never again. I’ll protect this planet, but not by killing.”) but all we get is one tortured scream.
A tortured scream doesn’t translate into a no-killing code. All it says is that he hates to do it. It could just as easily mean “I hate killing, but I know that sometimes I have to and I’ll do it again when that time arises.”
Jumping back to Snyder’s Watchmen, am I the only one who thought the fight scenes were ridiculous? Nightowl’s punches seemed to hurl people impossibly huge differences, which is fine in some stories but not in something shooting for a realistic veneer.

It’s nice to know what’s keeping Brian up at night. But seriously, I’m disappointed that Afleck didn’t get the directing gig because he might have mediated some of the lamer ideas that popped up in Snyder’s Superman. Snyder is capable of good work. I thought Watchmen was well done with the soundtrack being the only real let down for me. But Superman really lost sight of what makes up the core of the character is.

Very interesting points Wandijina. I’d never thought about it before, but the DC and Marvel characters do seem reverse in the way they define the characters. DC tends toward: Origin defines character, while Marvel tends toward not only character defines character, but character defines origin to some extent. Batman is Batman in personality and Superhero because of what happened to him. Not only becoming Batman, but also his personality is defined by his origin. Iron Man is not only very much more about Tony Stark, but even his origin is traced back to his personality rather than his personality being a result of his origin. He would not have even been there to be captured if he weren’t an egomaniac war profiteer (though later being against the war profiteering side). He wouldn’t have been Iron Man unless he were Tony Stark. Captain America is who he is as a character because of Steve Rogers super patriotism. Which he wouldn’t have even become Cap without that attribute defining Steve Rogers. Even Spiderman, though his powers come from an accident, he is more defined by the “with great power, Great responsibility” tag. Which comes from his previous actions.

Even though I liked the way they did the Avengers, by making the other character movies first, I think JL could work well without doing so. Do it kind of like the X-men. Start off with the story of a couple of characters (Wolverine and Rogue in X-men), Batman and Superman of course for JL. Then introduce the big threat and have them gather a team. Batman could have been keeping a list all along for just such a case. They track down the Amazon etc. in a series of short scenes like X-men First Class did. Though personally I would make a Wonder Woman movie first.

Bernard the Poet

April 29, 2014 at 4:13 am

@T – “Justice League will suck, but it will suck because of the culture of incompetence and hackery at DC and it’s movie division. It would suck even if they did solo movies first and then did the Justice League.”

Sad, but true.

Warner Bros purchased the rights to Superman from the Salkinds in 1993. Since then, they have spend hundreds of millions (they gave Nicholas Cage $20m not to star in their movie), they have hired and fired at least four directors and a dozen writers. And they have managed to make just two movies, both of which have under-performed at the box office.

Bernard the Poet

April 29, 2014 at 4:17 am

@ 00Gonzo – “But Superman really lost sight of what makes up the core of the character is.”

There are undiscovered tribes in the middle of the Amazon jungle that know that Superman comes from Krypton, works for the Daily Planet and fights for ‘truth, justice and the American way.’ If ever character didn’t need an origin movie, it was Superman.

Dr No didn’t open with James Bond going for a job interview at MI6, Raiders of the Lost Ark didn’t show us Indiana Jones passing his archaeology exams. They begin their adventures fully-formed. Man of Steel should have followed the same template.

Sadly, the hacks at Warner Bros saw what had worked for other superheroes and decided to repeat it as closely as possible. The rule book says that superhero franchises start with an origin movie, so that is what Superman got.

Yet at the same time, the hacks knew that Superman’s origin was so well-known that if they didn’t up-date it, then there was very little point in people going to see the movie. And how do you up-date Superman’s origin? Well if you are a hack, you make it darker.

Hey, Fraser –

I didn’t say contemporary cowboy cop movies are westerns, I did say that westerns mutated into them. But if the mutation metaphor doesn’t do it, let me explain it better. The cowboy cop movie like Dirty Harry more or less occupies the same mental space as westerns used to. It’s the same expression of lone manhood making right through guns and guts.

But before the late 1960s, they needed a shift in scenario to make that work for audiences, they had to remove it to the past. But since 1968 or so, with the rise of urban crime in America, the attending feeling of powerlessness of common citizens, and the feeling of American heritage under threat, everything that was the western could now be played out in modern times.

Bill Williamson

April 29, 2014 at 5:18 am

@ Bernard the Poet: That’s not completely fair. Yes everybody knows Superman’s origin, but the difficulty as a creator is trying to put your own stamp on it and to make it unique, which is much more difficult to do if you start at a later point.

Remember, Bruce Timm re-did the origin for Superman: The Animated Series, perhaps the best modern incarnation of the character, and he did so knowing full well that everybody already knew the origin story. His arguments for doing so were, exactly like I stated, they wanted to do their own take on it and make their version unique.

Snyder’s problem isn’t that he re-did the origin story, it’s that he did it very poorly. The same goes for Webb and The Amazing Spider-Man.

Rene, okay, that does make sense.

I’m inclined to agree with Bernard. If someone wants to put a stamp on Superman, they don’t have to start from the origin. And I wish they hadn’t, though I agree Snyder wouldn’t have done much better without it.

One thing I like about the MANTIS TV super-hero movie (much better than the series that followed) is that the film starts with Mantis already fighting crime and gives us backstory in flashbacks and news clips. It’s obvious what the origin is, but we never really get an origin scene.

Bill Williamson –

I don’t think the Amazing Spider-Man was such a bad movie or a bad origin for Spidey. It was not my Spider-Man, it was more based on the Ultimate version, with the stuff with his parents being so prominent, but that is okay. Also, so soon after Sam Raimi’s successful take, they HAD to go another direction if they were going to do the movie at all.

Bill Williamson

April 29, 2014 at 8:14 am

Rene: Ultimate Spider-Man basically got me into comics, so believe me when I tell you that Amazing was nothing like Ultimate. The only real similarity is that Peter’s parents are scientists and not CIA agents.

Personally I feel that Amazing was a bad movie, and a bad origin, both in writing and in visual sense.

It isn’t hard to do better than Raimi’s take. In my opinion that film series really only built up momentum with Spider-Man 2 (and then lost it with Spider-Man 3).

@renenarciso — Westerns never died. They just mostly mutated into the modern action cowboy cop movie in the 1970s. They didn’t become outdated, actually the rise of urban crime caused westerns to become “acceptable” in contemporary settings!

I’m assuming that you’re either not American or that you’re very young? Because I’ve noticed that there seems to be some confusion about what exactly even constitutes “the western genre” outside of America and among the younger generation.

“Western” refers to stories of the western frontier during the era of western expansion following the Civil War. That’s something that simply doesn’t exist today, so a “modern western” is a contradiction in terms and is just flat out impossible.

I think the confusion comes from the fact that the so-called “spaghetti westerns” have supplanted actual westerns in some people’s minds. As superb as the Dollars Trilogy might have been, there’s a big difference between a gunslinger movie and a western. Dirty Harry definitely falls into the latter category every bit as much as The Outlaw Josey Wales, but neither are “westerns”. On the other hand, Little House on the Prairie is most definitely a western in every sense of the term despite not featuring any cowboys.

So I think it’s better to say that gunslinger cowboy movies have been replaced by gunslinger cop movies. You could also make a case that superhero movies follow a similar logic and function.

Bill Williamson –

Well, maybe it’s me. I’ve met a lot of fans that are, to my eyes, very exacting and demanding when it comes to superhero movies.

Maybe it’s a matter of age. You must be young if Ultimate Spidey got you into comics. I am an old fart that saw the day when Nicholas Hammond was the only live-action Spidey and the number of good superhero movies ever made was exactly one: Richard Donner’s Superman.

When I think of those lean years, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man looks like Citizen Kane to me. Marc Webb’s Spider-Man is not quite Ingmar Bergman, but it is at least Martin Scorcese or Wim Wenders.

Of course, to your eyes, I suppose it’s my standards that are low when it comes to superhero movies.

“He could have said something to the general or Lois afterwards (“Never again. I’ll protect this planet, but not by killing.”) but all we get is one tortured scream.”

Now that you mention it, it is pretty funny that Zack Snyder felt that the best way to establish Superman’s no-killing code was to have him kill somebody.

““Western” refers to stories of the western frontier during the era of western expansion following the Civil War. ”

This is a super-pedantic read on the genre. It makes some sense in isolation, but within a conversation *about* genre it is pretty clearly absurd. Genres are not defined by things as specific as location or time period, so to do so for *just* westerns is inconsistent and strange. Imagine saying that all comedies had to be set between 1925 and 1981, in Kansas, or they aren’t comedies, just silly dramas.

Imagine saying that all comedies had to be set between 1925 and 1981, in Kansas, or they aren’t comedies, just silly dramas.

Um, OK. I’ll try to imagine someone saying that.

And then I’ll try to remember the formal name for this particular logical fallacy. I believe it has “absurd” in there somewhere.

And then I’ll try to remember the formal name for this particular logical fallacy. I believe it has “absurd” in there somewhere.

Indeed.. Reductio ad absurdum.

But I don’t agree with the assertion that Westerns have to be limited to that period either. The Western as a genre has more to do with setting, style and narrative tropes than with actual time period. The gunslinger movie is an interesting attempt at a distinction but not a recognized genre in its own right.

Anonymous –

I’m 38 and Brazilian. I’ve watched a lot of westerns, or “movies that one could call westerns”.

There is something to be said for time and place, but I prefer to take them as starting points or as a part of a list of characteristics that define the genre. If you take time and place as absolutes, or at least the ones you mentioned, then it seems to me that you’d have to exclude movies like The Wild Bunch (set in 1919) and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (a big portion of it not in the America West, or even in America, at all).

Spaghetti Westerns and Gunslinger movies I’d consider sub-genres, but still very much part of the larger Western genre.

Bill Williamson

April 29, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Rene: I see your point and I understand, But, at the same time the way I see it, The Amazing Spider-Man is little better than the aforementioned Nicholas Hammond Spider-Man. Sure, it pays lip service to the source material, far more than that Live Action TV series, but at their core they’re the same. They’re both just whoring out the Spider-Man name recognition in a ploy to make the studio producing them big money. The difference between the 70s and now is that a studio will spend more money, time and effort into making a bad film look well made so as to distract an audience from realising its inherent flaws. In either case the people making them don’t really care about Spider-Man or comics in general.

It’s like what Roger Ebert said about Punisher: War Zone. It used to be that bad films were badly made. Now it seems that even the worst films are expertly crafted. Amazing Spider-Man was better executed than Punisher: War Zone but the principle is the same.

The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, Reservoir Dogs, The Wild Geese, Ocean’s 11, The Expendables, X-Men First Class, Star Wars, Saving Private Ryan.

The difference between those movies and JLA is no one was ever intending on spinning off characters into their own movies from those. Have there been any other successful movie spin offs of this nature other than Wolverine? You’re much more likely to get Catwoman or Elektra. No one had ever successfully merged things like the Avengers did before, but there isn’t a lot of examples of having background characters getting their own blockbuster movies. Wolverine is giving Steven McQueen his own movie; JLA wants to give Brad Dexter his own movie too. Good luck.

And thematically Westerns are dominated by the encroaching society and civilization taking over from the wild west and it’s outlaws, but still needing the outlaws to create a world where the civilization can live. That’s not much different from Dirty Harry, where a liberal world looks down upon him but still fears crime and only he can deal with it. And it’s not just cop movies. Lots of Sci Fi has becomes Westerns too. Firefly, obviously. A lot of Star Wars. Heck, Star Trek was originally sold as Wagon Train to the stars.

And while I thought the villains were pretty silly in Punisher War Zone, I still think he was an awesome Punisher and wouldn’t mind seeing him again in a better movie. Volstagg is PISSED!

LouReedRichards

April 29, 2014 at 2:52 pm

@Fraser: –

Jumping back to Snyder’s Watchmen, am I the only one who thought the fight scenes were ridiculous? Night Owl’s punches seemed to hurl people impossibly huge differences, which is fine in some stories but not in something shooting for a realistic veneer.

I totally agree with you. I never could make sense of that or just how blood thirsty he and Silk Spectre were in their fights. It’s one thing to beat the thugs up, but breaking arms and killing them seemed out of touch, esp. with Night Owl’s character.

I liked the film overall, but I would love to see someone edit the ending to include the gigantic Lovecraftian squid.
I figure it’s only a matter of time.

LouReedRichards

April 29, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Honestly my expectations from Warner Bros. are so low, it’d be hard to make it worse than the crap I’m seeing in my mind. I really, really hope I’m wrong though.

At least we will always have the “Timm-verse”. Batman, Superman, and esp. JLU, the last couple of seasons of that were just incredible.

@LouReedRichards:

The WB animation group has generally been awesome in its treatment of DC properties. In addition to the Timmverse, we have had Brave and the Bold, Teen Titans Go! and some pretty decent direct-to-video features. The majority of ‘good’ DC content has come from the animated folks over the last 15-20 years.

Now, they are beholden to *shudder* the Nu52 continuity.

Bill –

Maybe you’re right and I’m being too kind to Amazing Spider-Man.

I was very impressed with Sam Raimi’s movies, with the usual caveats (Spidey becoming “evil” in 3, Green Goblin with that inexpressive facemask). I thought they really captured the spirit of Spider-Man’s comics, though Sam Raimi’s brand of humor was a little campier than the one found in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.

With Amazing Spider-Man, I was in a very generous mood, more or less like “I already had my dream Spider-Man movie franchise, now I don’t care very much if this new series departs from the comics”. I don’t think the movie was bad, I guess I just don’t feel so strongly about it either way.

To me, the problems started when WB announced that Batman would be in “Superman 2″. This just smacked of the studio not having any confidence in Superman holding his own trilogy of movies.
And who can blame them? It’s not like Superman had a 4-season TV series in the 1950’s, a 4-movie run in the 1980’s, a 4-season TV series in the 1990’s, a 10-season run in the 2000’s, and a new movie a few years ago. Nah- they need to turn this “Superman” thing around right now and get Batman and the Justice League in there.

However, I’m sure the executives at WB saw how much money The Avengers made so now they’re rushing to make that much money as well… without really considering that it took Marvel a few years to establish the characters and their personalities.

LouReedRichards

April 29, 2014 at 9:01 pm

@ Dean Hacker:

Oh I agree, there have been some excellent projects that fall outside the Timm-verse.

I love the Brave & The Bold, it took me an episode or two to switch gears into a 50’s Batman style, but after that I was hooked. Most of the Movies I’ve seen have been quite good, New Frontier and Year One being particularly excellent. I am getting tired or them just making adaptations of existing comics though. I haven’t felt the urge to try the ones that take place in the New 52, I’m not sure I have the heart for it.

I haven’t watched any of the Teen Titans, Batman Beyond or the Green Lantern series, I still need to get around to those.

So many cartoons, so little time…

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Here’s my issue with all of this:

On the one hand, you have Marvel with more hits overall than misses in movies in the last decade plus. Yeah, some aren’t as good as the others, but by and large they’re watchable to some extent. And Marvel very clearly has a plan.

And then we have DC/Warner looking like the group that wants a piece of that pie and will do whatever they can as quickly as they can to get it, missing the point that it took time to do what Marvel has done because Marvel had a plan that made sense.

Nothing good can come out of this when you’re strictly reactive and not pro-active. What DC needs to do is sit down, think out a solid marketing/film strategy to introduce the characters in an intelligent way, and then move to the team film. What they’re doing instead is going for the fast buck and riding Marvel’s coattails.

I don’t see how this ends well.

@LouReedRichards

Young Justice is easily one of the best non-Timm verse cartoons they ever released. And then Cartoon Network chopped it off at the knees. But if you can find the seasons for viewing, do so.

@LouReedRichards – Hey, at least JLA will look like the Citizen Kane of superhero movies compared to the new Fantastic Four. So they’ve got that going for them, which is nice.

And I’m still a little scarred that DC animation didn’t use Conroy for The Dark Knight Returns. Yeah, I’m ok that they don’t use him for EVERY Batman feature (though I think it’s a mistake), but that was the one…the Holy Grail of DC animated properties, that they should have strived to make perfect. And while I like Weller a lot as an actor, he didn’t dispel my fears by sounding pretty monotone through it.

Sigh.

symbiote1982

May 2, 2014 at 4:17 am

I just don’t understand why they don’t have Batman vs Superman reboot at least the Batman side of the franchise, DKR didn’t really leave much to work with as far as Bruce Wayne still being the Batman was concerned. Also i can’t really see myself enjoying a JLA film that uses the New 52 everyone’s a dick to everyone else characterizations
Although it seems WARNER Bros. prefer the bleak interpretation that began with Batman Begins over some of the more lighthearted stuff Marvel Studios puts out, there are no positive messages to take from them, unless becoming so driven if forces you to fake your own death/snap baddies necks are positive messages these days, personally I’m more interested in how Guardians of the Galaxy turns out .

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