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Justice League: Judgement reserved but take a bow for the Gal Gadot posters DC

Jhinuk Sen | Updated on: 17 November 2017, 14:27 IST

The divide between DC and Marvel fans is usually very clear. But today, pretty much everyone is waiting for Justice League.

Initial reviews have started trickling in, articles some of us have avoided like the plague, and they are mixed. India, however, has to wait until Friday to see if DC has managed to salvage the low it hit with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

The consensus on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (BvS) has been largely divided. Most viewers said it tanked. Only avid DC fans swear by the Batman-Superman face-off which also had a bit role for Wonder Woman. And those with greater loyalties egg you to watch the three-hour-plus director's cut of the film.

There is a lot riding on Justice League. With Zack Snyder on the director's chair, the movie brings together Superman (Henry Cavill), Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to battle with Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) and his parademons.

It is a power-house team. But what is most interesting in all the endless promotional campaigns and the media push is how Wonder Woman and Gal Gadot has almost been the face of it all. And this is a first for DC.

Marvel has come nowhere close to having female lead star posters and promos and we don't see the trend changing with Thor: Ragnarok being the latest Marvel offering and Black Panther (the trailer looks incredible by the way) coming next in line.

Marvel, I love you, but can we FINALLY have some kick-ass female characters to turn the franchise around please? Thanks.

So why Gadot and Wonder Woman? We will need to backtrack a little for this and go back to BvS first.

Of fans and super-fans

To be brutally honest, I tried watching BvS many, many times. I am primarily a Marvel fan and the DC-verse began for me with Michael Keaton playing Batman (1989) and nose-dived when George Clooney took over in 1997. With Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan, the Batman franchise got the boost it needed in 2008. But then all s&*t hit the ceiling when Affleck became Batman with BvS.

That movie did not work for me because I had paid close to zero attention to DC-verse, swooning over Henry Cavill in Man of Steel notwithstanding. Decently enjoying Suicide Squad also does not count.

I only had the patience and interest to sit through BvS because someone took an effort to explain it to me. More than the Marvel-verse, DC suffers from the burden of history. It is hard to zone-in on what is happening in the movie unless you are up-to-date with the older films. And Justice League is at the peril of suffering the same.

For example – Steppenwolf is not just any villain, he comes back to earth because he knows Superman is dead. The earth no longer has Kryptonians (the planet imploded remember?) or Lanterns (the same green guys from the terrible 2011 movie that starred Ryan Reynolds. We are glad Deadpool happened to him) protecting it. This explains one of the lines Steppenwolf says in the Justice League trailer.

Of course, if you are not a super-fan or do not have super-fans around you – you won't know. And this throwback is just the beginning.

BvS, with a production budget of $250 million, raked in about $873.3 mln world-wide. It made $166 mln in its opening weekend.

Let's talk figures & feminist icons

Gadot's Wonder Woman, with a production budget of $149 million, made nearly $821.8 mln worldwide and there are movies still screening it. The opening weekend saw the film earn $103.3 million in the opening weekend.

Besides giving the bigger-budget BvS a solid run for its money, Wonder Woman changed the game for DC. With a woman director, Patty Jenkins, and a kick-ass feminist, and an LGBT, icon – Wonder Woman did everything right. 2017 loved it.

DC had given one of its most famous female characters a solo movie and it stole the show. Every little girl wanted to be her. Harley Quinn probably became the second favourite the very moment Diana Prince broke the World War I battle lines to rescue a village.

To top the sheer awesomeness, Gadot recently made sure that producer Brett Ratner, accused of sexual misconduct, is no longer a part of Wonder Woman 2.

With all this going for Gadot, DC could not afford to keep her in the shadows. They had to make her stand out and the posters did justice.

Even when Henry Cavill made it to the posters – Gadot was still starring it.

Hey Marvel, whats up?

With a whole bunch of pretty cool franchisees to boast of, here's the one thing that Marvel has not done. They have not given a female character a solo film yet and the kick-ass ones like Jean Grey/Phoenix, Rogue, Storm and Mystique (all from X-Men), Black Widow (Avengers) and Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy) are lost somewhere in the mess of the ensemble cast every time.

Blink and you miss Black Widow in the posters of The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War.

The fact that most Marvel flicks have ensemble casts does not help the debate. Only the men – Thor, Dr Strange, Deadpool, Logan (Wolverine) and now Black Panther have their stand-alone films. Though some of those were quite painful, for example – Thor: The Dark World, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine.

Logan and Thor: Ragnarok salvaged the franchisees and Deadpool knocked it out of the park.

As much as I love Marvel and as much as hard-core DC fans have been convinced and quarter-converted by Logan and Deadpool – it's 2017 Marvel, maybe you need to learn something from DC?

So, after all this, what can we expect out of Justice League?

Perhaps a story that is easier to grasp for a viewer who walks into the hall without any prior knowledge of the DC-verse. But that might be asking for too much. Justice League stands on a tremendous amount of history. And in that case, let's hope the characters save it.

Here's looking at you Wonder Woman. Oh, and Aquaman.

First published: 16 November 2017, 20:12 IST
 
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