Updated: Jan 18, 2019
By Logan Murray
Zack Snyder returns to direct the newest installment of the DC Comics Cinematic Universe, Justice League. Many fans were eager as the trailers came out as more and more of their favorite heroes were revealed to play a major role in the next blockbuster. I myself was fairly excited, but the leading emotion for my feelings towards the film was concern. In particular, for the last two DC films that Zack Snyder has worked on both were commercial failures and ultimately crucified by critics and fans.
The initial ratings for the film were quite low and the reception was overwhelmingly negative, I still had my hopes. However, after seeing the film it was far worse than I ever could’ve imagined. Again Zack Snyder has found it upon himself to make some of the most beloved characters in the mainstream media almost unwatchable on the big screen. In my own opinion, I believe there are two main reasons why this film was a miserable failure while other studios like Marvel are laughing to the bank with their blockbusters.
Firstly, I think that the DC Cinematic Universe has been rushed solely to compete with Marvel in the movie theaters and in the end is only hurting the quality of the product. Marvel, for one thing, has put the time and effort to really gain the attention of their audiences and fostered a real love for these characters with the audience. Marvel provided all of their key characters their own stand alone film where they can develop their own backstories and personalities. DC Comics on the other hand, has jumped the gun a little earlier. About 10 movies to early. The only films that DC had made to develop their characters were only for Superman in Man of Steel, which was one of Zack Snyder’s flops, and Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman. Instead DC decided to cram and develop their three new characters all at once during the film, while also focusing on the major plot of the entire film. In result, almost every major character that appeared on the screen were just face value and the stakes in the film just weren’t there for me as a viewer because I just did not care about these heroes.
My second point is that DC’s subject matter for the film was hard for even the most die-hard DC comics fan to truly grasp. The villain of the film and the goal of the villain is very foreign to anyone without an encyclopedic knowledge of the DC Comics franchise. The introduction and foreshadowing of some great threat from outer space was introduced with almost no introduction or explanation that people in the audience around me were on their phones most likely trying to figure out what was going on in the film in the first place. DC in hopes to play catch up as Marvel’s own threat from space is revealed in the new Avengers: Infinity War trailer, is trying to achieve the same scale of importance of their story without putting in their time to justify why these events are important to the viewers. Marvel has tackled new and unfamiliar intellectual property in their Cinematic Universe before like in Guardians of the Galaxy. The Guardians were a very obscure and rarely heard of comic book line that was turned into the film. Marvel was able to make the franchise a critical success thanks to great casting, a nostalgic soundtrack, and easing the audience into this new world of outer space.
As a viewer and as a fan of DC, it’s frustrating to see them failing so often with properties that have worked time and time again. For example, they’ve achieved success recently with Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman which broke records on its opening weekend with a rotten tomato score in the 90’s. To see DC and Warner Brother, the production company of their films, keep enlisting the repetitive and unoriginal leadership of someone like Zack Snyder is almost maddening. Patty Jenkins’s, on the other hand, was able to break records in the box office on her first time directing. I believe that the root cause of why these problems keep occurring is due to DC and Warner Brothers lack of courage to reach out to new and fresh talent to lead their pictures and their impatience to seriously put in the time to get the audiences invested. So if you are considering seeing Justice League soon, staying home is probably a better use of your time and money.