Film | by Shane “League Fatigue” Hnetka
This year has been big for superhero movies. Most have been pretty good — Fox’s Logan, DC/Warner Bros.’ The Lego Batman Movie and Wonder Woman, Marvel/Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor: Ragnarok, and Marvel/Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming were all varying degrees of delightful. The only stinkers were Power Rangers and … well, I haven’t seen it, but I haven’t heard too many good things about Justice League.
These days most of Hollywood’s big blockbusters are either superhero movies or movies set in their own shared cinematic universes. Love or hate the trend, it’s become quite obvious that Marvel is leaps and bounds ahead of the other studios. Marvel got a head start by launching their cinematic universe over nine years ago, even before the company was bought by Disney (hard to wrap your head around it now, but Marvel used to be an essentially independent studio struggling to find funding and distribution partners). Its movies were decent-to-good, and Marvel showed the courage to stick with its long-term plan rather than chickening out and taking short cuts.
Seventeen movies later and Marvel is on top of the world. The studio just released the first teaser trailer for Avengers: Infinity War — its third Avengers movie, due in May — and it looks amazing.
It also broke the record for most views in its first 24 hours with 230 million. Marvel has got this stuff figured out.
She’s Out Of Their Justice League
On the other side of the cinematic comic coin, there’s DC/Warner’s cinematic universe with Superman, Batman and the rest. I haven’t cared for them. I’m far from alone. That studio’s attempt to make their superheroes distinct from Marvel’s has mostly flopped, as Zack Snyder’s ostensibly dark and gritty films have mostly come across as mean-spirited, adolescent and increasingly desperate. Snyder is clearly no Christopher Nolan, and the studio has now thoroughly wasted all the momentum Nolan’s Batman trilogy gave it.
Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman was the first sign of a turnaround — it was both a good movie and a money-maker. Its success — along with the participation of Joss Whedon, who took over Justice League after Snyder bowed out — raised hopes. Unfortunately, the results still fell short. Justice League only made $96 million on its opening weekend on a budget of $300 million. The critics didn’t much like it, either. Back to square one.
Hopefully the DC movies to come will be more like Wonder Woman and less like something written by high school students. In the meantime, as Marvel wraps up 10 years of movies, DC is starting over. Again.
Shane Hnetka is a made-in-Saskatchewan film and comic book nerd.