This upcoming month offers two blockbuster super hero films: Thor Ragnarok and Justice League. I am positively giddy about the former, and highly skeptical (when I’m not feeling indifferent) about the latter. For reference, I thought Batman v. Superman was so-so, Suicide Squad was horrific, and Wonder Woman was solid. Yes, even Wonder Woman, to me, was not great. However, if Justice League can achieve that film’s level of competence and entertainment, I’ll be pleased. I am pessimistically predicting a turd. A travesty. To prove me wrong, the film will need to answer these questions:
- The tagline is, “You can’t save the world alone.” Why can’t they? This should be the most obvious and thus the easiest for Justice League to address. If you want us to believe and invest in this band of characters, you have to show why they’re needed. What does each individual character bring to the table that makes them absolutely necessary? I know it’s just an excuse to tie a bunch of film properties together and make a load of money, but it can’t feel like that during the movie. Superman is “dead,” so that takes care of part of the problem because in what world does Superman need Batman?
- Will juggling two directors cause tonal problems within the film? The main director behind this project is Zack Snyder, who previously directed Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman, but, due to a tragic family situation, Joss Whedon stepped in to finish the job. Whedon (known for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and directing the Avengers) helped a bit with the script, so continuity might not be a huge concern, but it’s still something to watch for. These kind of films are made on the fly anyways, and I’m honestly surprised more of them don’t turn into a Suicide Squad style mess.
- How can Justice league shake off The Avengers comparisons? The Avengers came first (the film, not the comics). Marvel’s brilliant business model of the “cinematic universe” came first. Justice League is following on the heels of, and openly copying Marvel’s model. Where exactly does Justice League plan on leaving off? The Avengers (2012) was characterized by: a big abstract super villain, antagonistic banter between heroes, constant action and explosions, and Joss Whedon direction, all of which Justice League can check off as well. I don’t want to see a knock-off Avengers.
- How far into the film does Superman swoop in and save the day just as everything looked so bleak causing the audience to cheer stupidly as if they didn’t know it was coming? I’m making a presumption.
- Are Aquaman and Cyborg going to be cooler than they sound? People who watch superhero cartoons, what do you think? The Flash seems to be the comic relief, so what are Cyborg and Aquaman’s roles?
- Does Batman get some kind of character buildup or are they drifting off of Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale’s fumes? At no point during Batman v. Superman did the story ever offer any character development for Bruce Wayne. He’s just a bland, stone faced plot device.
- How long will this film? With the couple of dozen characters the film is dealing with, I’m expecting a long running time to attempt to balance the cast. The Avengers was 2 hours and 20 minutes, so expect something similar.