EDITORIAL: Why The JUSTICE LEAGUE Movie Worries Me And Why You Should Be Worried Too

Zack Snyder's Justice League movie received a lukewarm (at best) response from most critics, and is limping in the box office. What does this mean for the future of superhero movies? Get my thoughts below!

I walked out of Justice League worried. Not because I had eaten too much popcorn or because I saw a late showing and needed a Lyft home, but because the movie I had just seen was mediocre, verging on bad. As a rabid fan-boy of both Marvel and DC, I was worried about what this means going forward. 

I think about comic culture before the boom in 2008 and beyond. Before Iron Man and the subsequent sage of the MCU, which heroes were the most well-known? Setting aside Spider-Man, I would hazard a guess that the most popular heroes, or at least the most recognizable in the cultural zeitgeist, were DC heroes. Everybody knew who Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were. Justice League was an easily more recognizable property than the Avengers. 

The point I'm trying to get across is this: Justice League should've been better. It should be doing better. This is the movie that all comic book fans have been waiting for, even before the MCU boom. The fact that Avengers was made before Justice League astounds me to this day. Now, of course, this is laughable. The Avengers properties are some of the most recognizable properties in popular culture. But there was a long period of time when The Avengers were second fiddle. In pop culture before 2008, Justice League was more popular, more recognizable.

And then Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Justice League happened.

I don't want to rag on these movies. That's not the point of this piece. The point is that to the layman, comic culture is most likely to be digested through film. People who are not hard-core fans interpret Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, and all the others based on the films in which they appear. 

And with the exception of Wonder Woman, who had a solid solo film, the last few appearances of DC heroes, Batman and Superman especially, has not been good. They've been mischaracterized, or worse still, made into caricatures.

On top of this, the movies themselves were poorly cut, strangely paced, and tonally strained.

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Let me take a moment to say this: I love DC. My first comics were DC comics. It breaks my heart and frustrates me that some of my favorite characters are being warped and mistreated.

But as a fan of the superhero genre itself, I'm worried. Worried because more and more people use the term "superhero fatigue." Worried because nothing burns people out on a genre more than mediocre movies that do nothing interesting or new.

Marvel recently seems to have clued in to the fact that in order to stay on top of things, they need to shake up their formula. Thor: Ragnarok is a straight up Waititi comedy. Black Panther looks epic and completely different to past films. Infinity War is a mega-culmination of 10 years of work.

DC, however, has not recieved the memo. They're treading water, unsure of a direction to take, stuck in a quagmire of their own making. Justice League should have been great. It's a property that shouldn't have to work hard to be fun and engaging. Instead, it just kind of was. It didn't bring anything new to the table, and it wasn't supremely entertaining. Jokes didn't land, the villain was poor, and heroes with a near century of back-log and character traits were given little or nothing to do.

I love superhero films, but if bad or forgettable films keep getting made, they will fade away. People will get burned out, fans and non-fans alike. Think about it. If a superhero movie is great, people will want to see more comic book movies. If people want more, people will make more, and they'll be able to experiment and try new things. We have only gotten where we are now because of how good and new Iron Man was, and how fresh Avengers was. Guardians of the Galaxy gave people permission to get weird. Wonder Woman disproved the stupid "girls don't sell movies" notion. 

All that Justice League proves is that superhero movies, even ones starring the most reconizable heroes of all time, can be a real slog.

As comic book fans, we need to set aside the petty Marvel vs DC rivalry, and will every superhero or comic property to succeed. Encourage ingenuity. Discourage mediocrity. 

Hopefully Warner Bros learn their lesson from Justice League. I doubt it, but a man can hope. I really want me a Black Canary movie.
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