Monday, November 13, 2017

A huge budget Justice League movie comes out this week so let's talk about why DC movies need to be funny.

I pay attention to early reviews. With Thor: Ragnarok, everyone was saying it was the best Marvel movie yet, and I think they were right. I'm a common consensus kinda guy, a sheep, or a follower if you will. Whatever word you use for "average person" I am it, and I own it proudly. Thus, what most people like I tend to like. So what's the early buzz been like for Justice League (which opens this week by the way)? Well they aren't OMG Wonder Woman, but they aren't terrible either.

However, an educated film viewer (also me) will take into account that half the early buzz is from Collider. Collider writers are on the enthusiast end of the press spectrum. Also present are folks who write for IGN, Slashfilm, and io9. So take what you read up to this week's opening with a grain of salt. Also, I want to point out that lots of people freely criticize DC as needing to be as funny (or funnier if possible) than Marvel. In fact, that's probably the number one criticism: DC takes itself too seriously. But does it really?

I suppose there's a part of me that wants to ask this question: Why do people want DC to be funny? It's a simple question, and it has a lot of complexity to it. I think that DC is oftentimes funny. Take The Flash for example. In the animated show he, oftentimes, has jokes. And the Batman has a wry sense of humor. Then again, there are plenty of DC comics that aren't funny. Take Batman: Arkham Asylum. The main villain is the Joker and despite this "comedic" villain, it isn't funny. It's deadly serious.

So, why do people want DC to be funny? Let's brainstorm a bit, shall we? Well, you're selling a property based on a comic that may or may not have an animated series. The comic has a circulation close to 50,000 readers at $2.99. That equals a steady income of $145,000 give or take some decimal points. The animated movies have a gross around the $6 million mark, so 40 times what comics bring in (they tend to be light and humorous too). So the answer to the question of why DC needs to be funny is because: money.

The average person (me) likes to watch escapist fiction that is joyful and delightful rather than grim and dark. That's just the truth. And big budget movies need to cater to the general audience, and not fifty thousand readers.

Look, it's a comic book movie, and I watch a lot of comic book movies. I suppose I just hope that it a) makes sense, b) does not have half the damn movie shot at night while illuminated by a sole Maglite, c) avoids any major missteps in characterization, and d) has lots of special effects. As far as not simply being a Marvel film in a DC costume, I think they've always had their own compass where this is concerned.

Are you seeing it this week? Comment below please :)


  1. I was just saying to my significant other that DC takes itself too seriously. There's a reason why I go see all the Marvel movies opening weekend (which I hate to do because I'm a mean old lady who hates sharing movie theaters with other people...) and wait to watch a DC movie when I can get it from my local library. (Wonder Woman being the exception, of course...)

    And Wonder Woman is the only reason I'm even considering seeing Justice League in theaters. I just can't figure out how my dislike of Ben Affleck will affect things.

  2. I'm a DC fan and Justice League was the first comic I ever purchased, so I'm stoked for the film.
    They say it does have a lot of funny elements. Also that it's not perfect but still really good and a lot of fun.
    Does DC have to be really funny? Three billion dollar Batman films say no. (And one almost billion Wonder Woman.) They aren't as light and funny as Marvel and that's all right.

  3. I'll see it next week. I don't think they need to copy the Marvel formula. That would make it feel derivative.

  4. I saw Ragnarok but will probably wait until this comes out on Netflix.

  5. It all comes down to Warner Brothers and their lack of care whether there is a story involved. They just want the money and throw heroes at the screen to get it.
    Besides, they "tried" funny with Green Lantern, and it didn't go so well for them, so they haven't felt brave enough to try it again.

  6. "The average person (me) likes to watch escapist fiction that is joyful and delightful rather than grim and dark."
    I think that's an excellent description of why. I, too, prefer fun over grim.

    Ah well, they'll do what they want to do. I hope you have a good time at the showing.

  7. Me, I could pretty much do without comic-based movies. Yet I really liked Wonder Woman, and one reason was the humor. I mean, these women are walking around in ersatz ancient Greece costumes, and one of them has super powers because she's the daughter of a god. So of course the human Steve has to serve as a witty counterpoint. But wisely, the movie knew when to be dead serious, and it was just that during the realistic war and refugee scenes.

    So yes, escapist fiction should generally be fun -- and funny.

  8. I don't think it has anything to do with funny or even the scripts. The problem with DC is they don't have enough faith in their properties. They refuse to do standalone movies. Batman is the exception but they can't keep rebooting that property. Superman hasn't made sense since the 1980s. Marvel has proven that even unknown characters can make good origin movies with a decent script and a villain of the week. DC proved it again with Wonder Woman. Yet DC didn't create any other origin movie before Justice League.

    The first Avengers movie had a team of 6 heroes (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye). All of them had been introduced in a previous movie making it easier for the viewer to understand their motivations on a crowded screen. Since then they've used the same base strategy in Avengers 2 and Civil War but even these movies struggled to work with the weight of so much cast.

    Justice League has a Batman who isn't Christian Bale and Superman who's dead (for now). The only reason I'm excited to see this is Wonder Woman because I loved her origin story. Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman? I have no idea what to expect other than memories of Superfriends and old TV shows. You'd think DC might have learned something from the twin disasters of BvS and Suicide Squad but it appears they are making the same mistake all over again.

    I don't think even Warner Brothers feel they have a hit with this one. I've read they aren't allowing reviewers (except a chosen few) to see this movie until tomorrow, 3 days before it hits theaters. That's a troubling sign they fear this one is a dog and want to hold off the bad reviews as long as possible. I really hope I'm wrong.