While my own little world has been pretty heavily invested in Batman as of late, I was still interested–and frankly, a little excited–to see how well a rival batch of superheroes has fared at the box office. Marvel\’s The Avengers has been the year\’s biggest movie, earning nearly $600 million domestically and about $1.4 billion worldwide since its May release. It\’s the third biggest-grossing movie in history.
Let\’s face it: Marvel knows how to make a great superhero movie. Sure, none of them have the grit or depth of Christopher Nolan\’s Batman sagas, but they are competent and fun–a perfect fit, really, for the summertime moviegoing audience. I\’ve seen and reviewed The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America and both Iron Man flicks, and all of \’em were an absolute hoot: fun, exciting pictures that had (if you were interested in searching for them) some good messages in play.
And, of course, they were extraordinarily effective two-hour advertisements for The Avengers. Not bad strategy, that.
\’Course, it might\’ve all come to naught had The Avengers been terrible. But it wasn\’t. In my opinion, it was the best of the bunch. Maybe that\’s my inner geek speaking: There\’s something about bringing together a bevy of superheroes that brings out my inner 12-year-old. It\’s a little like watching an All-Star baseball game that actually means something.
No surprise, then, that DC and Warner Brothers are now planning a supersize superhero movie of their own: A movie involving the Justice League–a partnership made up of DC\’s biggest costumed crime fighters–is in development now. Word is they\’ve already hired Will Beall (who wrote Gangster Squad) to write the script.
It\’ll be a tougher sell, of course: Green Lantern didn\’t exactly wow at the box office last year, Superman Returns (despite its resonant spiritual messages) didn\’t fare that much better in 2006, and of course The Dark Knight Rises marks the end of the road for Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan in the Batman franchise. And I wonder whether Warner Brothers might actually push Justice League to theaters without all the cinematic lead-ins that Marvel and Universal Pictures so painstakingly pieced together.
I hope not: Personally, I wouldn\’t be nearly as interested in seeing a fresh-out-of-the-box Justice League without getting some motion-picture backstory in play. DC\’s superheroes have the character oomph to make for some fine movies … if they can get the right folks behind it. If they\’re able to flesh out all the characters on the big screen, I\’d be waiting for a Justice League movie like a 7-year-old on Christmas Eve.
But going straight into a Justice League feature, cold? Hmmm. I know there\’s probably a strong drive to get a Justice League movie done as soon as possible–while superheroes are still big and the market\’s still primed. But if they don\’t take their time with this and do it right, I think the Justice League will feel less like a super powered all-star team-up and more a rather cynical grab for money. But I guess we\’ll see.