OPINION: Why Marvel Knocked Avengers Out of the Park and Why Warner Bros. Will Ruin Justice League

Wil Avitt
Wil Avitt's picture

The Avengers is currently the third highest grossing film of all time behind Gone With the Wind at #1 and Avatar at #2. It should also be noted that Avatar's and Gone's numbers include DVD and television revenue (and in Gone's case that includes more than 70 years of revenue), so a good case can be made for Avengers being the most successful film of all time. Of course, it didn't take too much longer after Avengers hit the ONE BILLION dollar mark that Warner Bros. started talking about resurrecting the Justice League movie that was aborted back in 2007 or 2008. But why was Avengers so successful and can Warners possibly replicate this success?

The answer, of course, is no. Justice League will be an abysmal failure, which is a shame because I'm a DC Comics fan and prefer the Justice League to the Avengers (which is basically the same thing just with a different stable of characters). The reason Warner Bros. and DC Comics is going to screw it up isn't because the characters are bad. It's because of two reasons, really:
1. I don't think ANYONE, including Marvel, by the way, will be able to replicate this successfully, really. I'm not saying Avengers was a fluke at all, because I don't think it was. But Marvel hit a certain number of the right notes so perfectly that it would be near impossible to replicate. And...
2. Warner Bros. isn't taking the concept seriously, at the very least not as seriously as Marvel did. They're just looking for the big payout Marvel and Disney got and when money is your ONLY driving force behind a project, as I truly believe it is here, you're destined to fail. You have to be passionate about ANY endeavor to be successful and profitable in that endeavor. Money should never be the goal, at least not primarily, ESPECIALLY in a creative endeavor. But Warner Bros. doesn't understand that.

So, why was Avengers so successful? Well, as I said, Marvel hit all the right notes and made all the right decisions out of the gate. It started with Iron Man, which was a superb movie. Marvel was focused on Iron Man and making Iron Man work by itself. Avengers was always a goal, but Iron Man was about making Iron Man good. Avengers was just a teaser at the end. A teaser a lot of people missed at first because they did such a good job of keeping that nugget under wraps. Also, most people came away from Iron Man (I know I did) not really expecting Avengers to get made. I saw the Nick Fury segment as a joke. I really did. But it planted the seeds of hope.

Likewise, a few months later, when The Incredible Hulk came out, Marvel's focus was squarely on the Hulk. Then Tony Stark appeared and talked about putting a team together. That's when it really hit me. This was happening. The Avengers was all but in the can. It was nerdgasm times infinity. I mean, this was ballsy. Remember, we had been told for years that a group movie as massive as a Justice League or an Avengers was just unfilmable. No one will ever make a huge superhero team-up movie because it will require introducing too many characters. No one ever even thought of crossing the movies over like the comics do. Not until Marvel's Avengers Initiative.

And that brings up probably the biggest reason Avengers worked. Marvel introduced every major team member in his own solo film (or in the case of Fury and Black Widow, developed them in Iron Man 2, after Stark had already been developed). The point is, you go into The Avengers already knowing all the major players. The only character truly introduced was Hawkeye, who just had a cameo in Thor. And every solo movie ended with a teaser leading up to the Avengers. The anticipation was building. There was suddenly not just a desire to see this movie, there was a burning NEED to see The Avengers. It had become a requirement. People were now in the position where if it came down to going to The Avengers or paying your light bill, you were going to The Avengers.

All of these things made for a potential blockbuster already. Add to that the amazing decision in hiring Joss Whedon, a television creator who had only directed ONE feature film before (I know that sounds insane, but it's true. Serenity and The Avengers, that's it). Joss made all of the right decisions in The Avengers, and I went more into that in my review of The Avengers, if you've read that. But Joss made all the right decisions. He found the exact glue to hold all of these elements he had been given together. It was like a puzzle. He was given the pieces and assembled them (no pun intended, I swear) into the perfect picture.

Now, this was a once in a thousand lifetimes success. Justice League can't live up to it, because I don't think Avengers 2 can live up to it. But to make matters worse, Warners and DC already has the blueprint. Marvel has written down the algorithm, and Warners has already announced that they don't intend to follow it. Rather than building upon what's been done in Batman and Green Lantern and what will be done in Superman, and building further with a Flash and Wonder Woman (Aquaman can be the one they introduce in the Justice League movie) they just want to rush right into Justice League. They want to shoehorn Superman and Green Lantern into it and then introduce everyone else in Justice League and spin those characters off from that. So Justice League will now be tasked with introducing a new Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash and (presumably) Aquaman. Basically, they intend to do what everyone has said since forever would be impossible. And it isn't going to work.

I want to see the Justice League movie SO badly. But I am willing to wait for Warner Bros. to take the time to do it properly, and they're not going to. They've already said they won't. Who cares if you're just going to be doing what Marvel did? It worked! Do what worked! Don't do a watered down version of what worked, because it will feel watered down. And for the love of Rao, PLEASE don't release Justice League in 2015 (which is the current plan). Avengers 2 is coming out in 2015 and it will kick this watered down version of the Justice League's butt. If you release Justice League in 2015 you are going to guarantee it will be a failure, which, incidentally, will guarantee that we won't see a Flash movie or a new Batman or a Superman 2 or a Green Lantern 2. We'll be stuck with nothing but adaptations of Vertigo titles, like a Swamp Thing remake or something stupid.

Ok, I've ranted. Let's talk about it. What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments section directly south of this sentence.