'Justice League': What the Superhero Epic Needs to Succeed
Coherent story, actual characters, and more!
Warners Bros. released the second trailer to its upcoming superhero epic "Justice League" over the weekend at the San Diego Comic Con. Running around four-minutes long, the trailer showcased the epic team-up of Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and The Flash. While Superman's presence was certainly looming over the trailer, his actual physical presence was not (there is still no sign of his mullet).
"Justice League" will be the fourth film in the DCEU and the first to assemble DC's greatest heroes (minus Green Lantern) in an attempt to compete with the other billion-dollar superhero franchise at the House of Mouse. While somewhat financially successful, it's no secret the DCEU films have been pretty trash outside of "Wonder Woman." Will "Justice League" run with the newfound momentum "Wonder Woman" created? Or will we just be getting a bigger, louder, "Batman V. Superman?" It's possible that the movie ends up being good, but only if it meets certain conditions.
Want to know the main issue with the DCEU prior to "Wonder Woman?" Everyone was an asshole! Batman was a cranky old bastard hellbent on killing an alien immigrant, Superman was meant to inspire hope yet he spent two movies moping about being a hero, and well, everyone in "Suicide Squad" was a villain, but dammit, they could have at least been charming about it. "Wonder Woman" was a fresh change of pace because director Patty Jenkins created characters the audience wanted to root for. Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman was empowering, amiable, and most of all, a hero. "Man of Steel" ended with Clark Kent accepting his role as Superman because, well, he might as well. We couldn't really root for Batman in "Dawn of Justice" because in doing so, we'd be rooting for Superman's death (which we still got, albeit prematurely in the DCEU.) "Suicide Squad," meanwhile, presented us with a somewhat likable Deadshot and Harley Quinn, but that's about it. If "Justice League" is going to succeed, it needs to give audiences a reason to root for these heroes. Enough with the brooding. Give us a reason to want a sequel to this film.
A Villain with Substance
If the world needs Batman to ask for help from The Flash, then you know you've got a problem on your hands. A hero is only as good as its villain, unfortunately the last three DCEU films have been lacking in that department. Worse, the last three films have ended with a fight with a CGI villain. While Ares had a little more to do than Doomsday and Incubus, he still amounted to little more than a big CGI monster for our hero to punch. The Justice League will be squaring off against Steppenwolf, uncle of evil despot and lover of equations Darkseid. Based on the trailer, he does seem to be yet another CGI monster for our heroes to punch. Hopefully that isn't the case, but the fact that a bigger name wasn't cast in the role doesn't inspire too much confidence. Steppenwolf should be more than just a scary-looking minion out to do his master's bidding. He should have his own motivations. Surely having to take orders from his nephew must be a little annoying, maybe the film should delve into that. Seeing your favorite superheroes beat the crap out of an old geezer in a silly outfit is nice, but dammit, there should be a compelling reason as to why our favorite superheroes are beating the crap out of an old geezer in a silly outfit.
A Substantial Redo by Joss Whedon
I don't hate Zack Snyder, let me get that right out of the way. I actually enjoyed "Watchmen" and he did a pretty good job with the "Dawn of the Dead" remake. It is unfortunate why he was forced to step aside from "Justice League." Beyond that however, Joss Whedon taking control of production could be a good thing for "Justice League. Snyder has delivered visually appealing set-pieces and fight scenes ripped straight from the comics, but for the most part, he simply cannot tell a good story. The only reason "Watchmen" wasn't a complete train-wreck was because he stuck completely to the original source material which was incredibly well-written to begin with. But when it comes to his own creations? Well, we get "Sucker Punch" and "Batman V. Superman." Sure, his films look pretty, but a director's first priority should be to tell a good story. If reports are to be believed, Whedon's reshoots have been substantial (and sans-mustache).