Ever since the resurgence of ‘SuperHero Movies’ during the early noughties, nerd culture has become the new cool. Maybe Big Bang Theory did its bit to make ‘geek chic’ more mainstream. But by and large it has always been Camp DC vs. Camp Marvel.
SuperHero movies were apparently not quite blockbuster material that they have become today, during the 80s and 90s. Obviously, they didn’t have credible special effects back then. However, by the turn of the millennium, Marvel made a super smart move. A bunch of movies were made based on it’s relatively less known creations: X-men and Fantastic 4. SpiderMan and Hulk followed suit. All these franchises had moderate to good commercial – and critical – success.
Marvel then introduced a quirky solo character. Robert Downey Jr. was a perfect choice for the brilliant Tony Stark aka Iron Man. Iron Man released in 2008 and paved the way for the first Superhero crossover film viz. The Avengers (2012). Then came Captain America and Thor and even Ant Man! Just when you thought, Marvel has run out of sell-able characters, came the big surprise: Guardians of the Galaxy. The second sequence of Chris Pratt (Star Lord) dancing to the tunes of 80s rock n’ roll, kicking some tiny dino butt, to get to his loot…well, I haven’t seen something that fun in any other Superhero flick. And then of course you had Groot! GotG Vol. 2 didn’t disappoint either.
On the other end of the spectrum, DC too gauged the Millennial’s pulse with movie adaptations of SuperMan, Batman, and the not so successful Green Lantern, Watchmen, and Jonah Hex (among others). And then came the first movie of the Cinematic Universe (officially DC Extended Universe): the much anticipated Man of Steel (2013). Sadly, it didn’t quite catch the fancy of the average movie-goer.
And if Batman vs. Superman was anything to go by, DC has a long way to go before the larger audience (and not just the fanboys) laps up Justice League like The Avengers. I have never read DC or Marvel Comics per se. But I usually enjoy the movies based on them Comic Books. Trouble is, DC, unlike Marvel, has a propensity to create/sanction films that touch upon more mature and ‘dark’ issues through Comic Book characters.
I would any day prefer Tony Stark’s wry humor to a brooding and embittered Bruce Wayne. Besides, just because Nolan made ‘The Bat’ more than a comic book hero, doesn’t mean people will relate to a similar treatment in the larger scheme of things.
Zack Snyder attempted to create a SuperMan who was as Human as he was God/SuperHero. Unfortunately, Henry Cavill’s deadpan expressions spectacularly failed to create a convincingly ‘complex’ SuperMan; something Christian Bale (and even Ben Affleck) pulled off with ease for their respective Batmans. Also, DC assumes the audience to know the backstory while watching the film(s). I have to admit that as a ‘non-nerd’, it was rather difficult for me to piece together the subplots in Batman vs. Superman. It seemed unnecessarily non-linear and angst-ridden. The only advantage I had was the presence of the nerd-half to help me fathom the goings on in a rather convoluted story-line.
Surprisingly, the only memorable moment in the two and half hour-long movie was the entry of Wonder Woman. Perfect timing coupled with superb music. And Gal Gadot’s thick accent – obviously an embellishment for cinematic purposes – somehow makes the most prominent female member of the Justice League all the more attractive.
Suicide Squad yet again failed to lift DC up in terms of storytelling. But Harley Quinn and Deadshot were a treat to watch. Joker over-rated and more of a distraction than value addition. I was hoping, it’d do to DC what Ironman did for Marvel. It seems, keeping with the times, Wonder Woman is going to break DC’s jinx, come June
Probably It would be the very first female SuperHero movie (Please let’s not debate about Catwoman! And in any case she can not be categorized as a ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ conclusively) on the big screen. And when it comes with a teaser like this (please watch clip!), the movie has to rock!
As for on screen Super Heroines, it’s surprising that the the only one featured in The Avengers series is The Black Widow. There’s at least 10 in the group. It’s the same with DC. Wonder Woman is the most prominent woman in the Justice League. But there are more. Catwoman and Batgirl, to name just a couple. At least, DC’s made the effort to make a full length feature film on one. One thing Marvel can take a cue from.
Here’s to hoping we’ll get to see more Super Women in future!