Warren Buffett’s famous quote of not putting all your eggs in one basket would fit extremely well to Warner Bros and DC comics. Both studio and comic book companies have been power houses in their respective fields. Before the advent of Marvel’s cinematic universe, DC heroes, Batman & Superman were arguably better known worldwide. Similarly, Warner Bros along with DC have always been one step ahead of Marvel when it comes to games and animated series and movies. However, they haven’t been able to make a mark in the cinematic universe.
Marvel and Disney Studios have followed a long & prolonged journey before coming to the level they are today. Their journey started in 2007 with Iron Man. Marvel from Iron Man ventured into different characters and learnt from mistakes along the way. DC along with Warner Bros has done things quite quickly and placed too much burden on Justice League and the entire crew.
Warner Bros and DC’s success in areas other than the cinematic universe seem to have hurt their egos as well. After continuously falling behind in the movie arena, both companies tried to become too big too soon. However, they failed to realize that for a brand to emit resonance, it needs to follow a long-term trust building process with the general audience. Warner Bros and DC unfortunately were unable to do any of that.
The only characters that the fans knew of before the Justice League were Superman, Batman & Wonder Women. Flash was known by some from the comics, while Aquaman and Cyborg were completely unknown characters. If you’re a comic book fan, then probably you would like the movie but if Warner Bros wanted to create a mass marketed product then they did something very wrong in identifying their target market.
When Disney released the Avengers, the studio had developed familiarity of its characters among the fans. The general audience (Comic book fans & others) was excited on the prospect of their favorite super heroes coming together as a single unit. In contrast the Justice League wasn’t able to create such feelings of excitement and anticipation among its own fans.
Coming to the Justice League movie, everything in the movie seemed rushed. Clearly the introduction of characters in the Avengers & the Justice League had different implications. Things were more difficult in the latter and fans had no idea of what hit them. Starting off from Cyborg, no general introduction was given. Cyborg’s past as a teenage football player was also not shown. Fans had no idea of what the guy was and were clearly disappointed.
Aquaman despite giving a better performance than Cyborg had major problems as well. Aquaman’s powers other than him swimming in the ocean were not depicted properly. Even in water he needed all the water to drain out before interacting with his fellow Atlanteans. Moreover, the rationale behind taking the final fight with Steppenwolf on a land locked location was unclear. In our opinion the fight should have been taken nearer to the sea so that we could have seen the full extent of power.
Coming to the Flash and he seemed like a kid way way way out of his depth. The TV series Flash despite having a generous side was smart, intelligent, and daring. The movie Flash on the other hand was inconsistent. At first he wanted to join the team but later he was too reluctant to fight the villains.
Steppenwolf also was too easy to beat. The type of origin story relayed in the first half of the film portrayed a menacing beast. But with the ease with which Superman destroyed Steppenwolf, the over exaggerated back story was unjustified.
DC and Warner Bros ought to take things slow and think critically when it comes to developing story lines. They still have a lot of potential with super heroes that are extremely close to our hearts. If they follow a proper methodology they might be able to shake the humongous structure in which Marvel currently dwells in.
Granted Snyder’s abrupt departure from the movie may have made things difficult and the final product may have been rushed, but the inconsistent stoyline and the audience’s lack of familiarity with the lead characters seems like a huge missed opportunity. Justice League could and should have been a much better movie.