How Marvel Forced DC to Lighten Up With 'Justice League'

Despite having six superheroes central to its narrative, Justice League is poised to be a breezy movie. Apparently, Warner Bros. Studios insisted the movie be less than two hours, making the almost three-hour slog of Batman Vs. Superman a distant memory. If reports are to be believed, Justice League was forced to get leaner and meaner by the Marvel competition.

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal published an article by Ben Fritz titled “The Quest to Save Justice League.” In it, Fritz outlines several fascinating behind-the-scenes details about the production, including the fact that the runtime of the film was mandated by the studio, and not the two directors, Zach Synder and Joss Whedon. “Mr. Tsujihara also made clear he wanted “Justice League” to be under two hours, said a person close to the movie,” Fritz writes.

Tsujihara is the CEO of Warner Bros., and according to Fritz, considered catching up with Marvel’s success to be “crucial” to the future of the studio.

What all of this means is clear: despite existing in the same cinematic universe as the previous DC films, Justice League won’t be near as dark or gritty, because it has been proven by Marvel that the fans want a kinder, gentler, more fun superhero movie. Fritz also points out in his article that the surprise hit of Wonder Womanalso forced DC to reconsider its strategy.

The public demand for brighter, more optimistic superhero movies might be a passing fad, or it might depend on the superhero. For example, doing a bright and funny Wolverine movie doesn’t make a lot of sense, which is why the dour and serious film Logan was so successful. The flipside to this thinking is that the world can’t handle another dour and serious Superman film. And make no mistake, Justice League is a Superman movie.

Despite him appearing sporadically in the marketing for Justice League, Superman’s “secret” appearance in the film is the worst kept secret in the entertainment industry. We all know Supe is coming, and for his big rebirth, it makes sense to also lighten the tone of the DC films. Superman isn’t a character who works well in overly grim stories, a lesson which DC seems to have finally learned. Which mean, we met get Henry Cavill acting a little more like Christopher Reeve for a change.

But, with less than two hours to work with, will viewers be able to really reflect on any of the other heroes — including the mega-popular Wonder Woman? For now, it looks like Justice League is betting that being faster than a speeding bullet will allow them to finally leap over the tall buildings of Marvel, to become a more powerful box office locomotive than ever before.

Justice League opens everywhere on November 17, 2017

If you liked this article, check out this video where the stars from Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman talk about how psychology helped created Wonder Woman.

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