Why ‘The Avengers’ Worked and ‘Justice League’ Didn’t

The Avengers and Justice League; two ensemble superhero movies that saw some of our favorite heroes team up to fight a daunting foe. One movie is under Marvel Studios–a goliath franchise who has slowly but surely amounted a hefty following and appreciation around the world. The other movie is under the DC Extended Universe–a Marvel Studios wannabe who keeps trying to snag a bit of the essence Marvel Studios has illustrated so eloquently over the years.

Unlike Marvel Studios, the producers and minds behind the DC Extended Universe rushed events, resulting in poorly made films that have become blights among superhero movies.

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The first DCEU movie was 2013’s Man of Steel which set to introduce a flying red-cape wearing superhero in the vein of Marvel Studios’ first feature film highlighting a red-armor-wearing, flying billionaire.

Four years later, after a few more poorly-reviewed DCEU movies, they decided to unleash Justice League onto the world and it was met with more disdain and bad reviews.

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The Avengers did not receive the same flack. After four years and several movies, Marvel Studios released The Avengers and people were ready for it because we already knew all of the characters to begin with.

Justice League had the difficult task of introducing three new superheroes in the middle of the massive storyline in Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash. Because of this, not enough attention was provided to the actual meat of the story which was the Justice League’s fight against Steppenwolf.

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Steppenwolf, by the way, was a TERRIBLE villain. Poorly CGI-ed and as cliche as they come, Steppenwolf exuded zero scariness or the chance of being a legitimate threat to the heroes comprising the Justice League.

Paired with a confusing storyline about Motherboxes and so forth, Justice League crumpled under its inability to deliver a concise and impactful storyline. The Avengers never failed to deliver, producing a jaw-dropping final battle sequence that I still consider one of the best in the MCU.

The DCEU is having a hard time getting on its feet because the producers are rushing stories to be told when they should take time to tell better stories that culminate in an epic event later down the line.

I wish the DCEU’s first crack at the Justice League had been incredible but it wasn’t. Maybe in the future, a new Justice League will be one of the greatest superhero ensemble movies ever made.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a fantastic day.

2 thoughts on “Why ‘The Avengers’ Worked and ‘Justice League’ Didn’t”

  1. Marvel spent around six movies giving us reasons to care about the heroes, and did a good job with just about all of them, before they made the Avengers. There was at least one Iron Man movie, the first Captain America, two attempts at the Hulk, and the first Thor movie before they put them all together and went to the Avengers. This front loaded a lot of audience investment in them all, and gave them a long time and creative effort to get it right. Plus, for that matter, Marvel just has a lot more institutional knowledge in what works in superhero movies, as they’d also watched licensed properties like X-Men, Spider Man, and to some degree the Fantastic Four swimming before they went there. They saw what was working and what didn’t.

    The only recent movies DC has truly gotten right were Batman and Wonder Woman. Aquaman was kinda ok, Superman was ok for one movie and then got a little worse in the crossover with Batman with a fumbled effort at both Lex Luthor and a disastrous Doomsday. (Side rant: Can Hollywood please stop reimagining the origin stories behind big time properties in real time? I’m sorry, suits, Doom is not Resident Evil with the Rock in it, Doctor Doom is not what you did two different failed times, and Doomsday is an alien and not a clone.) The director behind Batman was getting tired of it and wanted to walk away, and they didn’t even let the director of Wonder Woman go near Justice League. It’s been super hit and miss, and what’s been hitting isn’t really portable to everything.

    Marvel’s works because they did the spade work and got people who like what they’re doing. And they just got better people. DC got two people who like their material and a bunch of other people who were just cashing checks and didn’t bring anything good to the table. And, if we’re being frank, Marvel’s source material just crosses over better to audiences beyond comic book fandom because the characters are less removed from the real world — even the ones with greater superpowers. If you can’t sell the movie past the comic book fan base, it won’t work… and their attempts to do so changed too much and not in a good way.

    Liked by 1 person

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