Will Superman attend Marvel

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On the big screen, they continue to take a break. Superman, Batman and "The Falcon & the Winter Soldier" pay a visit to the living room.

From Christian Fuchs

The pandemic achieved the unimaginable: in 2020 not a single superhero film came to the cinema. The situation seemed too uncertain for the big studios to publish expensive blockbuster spectacles. With "Wonder Woman 1984“Warner Bros. broke this lockdown in February. The long-held film was brought onto the market via streaming, and a few open cinemas in the USA were also allowed to play it.

Unfortunately, the pop-comedic sequel disappointed on many levels. Despite this, “Wonder Woman 1984” has rekindled the hunger for comic action with many fans. Fittingly, there is now streaming replenishment from the DC Extended Universe. Thread puller, producer and director Zack Snyder presents his magnum opus. The Justice League returns four years after a flopped theatrical release completely renewed.

Dark heroes in operatic dimensions

Opinions differ on Zack Snyder. For some, the US director is a directing hooligan who is bored with endless Tschingbumm sequences, who stands for soulless computer animations and kitschy hero characters. His followers celebrate Snyder as the black grandmaster of comic cinema, as a visionary artist in the blockbuster field. Both factions are right, as "Zack Snyder’s Justice League" proves once again.

HBO Max / SKY

It is well known that the latest film has a long history. In 2017, Snyder's heart project was overshadowed by a personal catastrophe. When his family committed suicide while filming "Justice League", the director withdrew from the set.

With “Man Of Steel” and “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice”, Snyder had previously redefined the DC universe for the big screen, everything is darker, more mythical, more bombastic than in the ironic Marvel output. Even Superman (Henry CavillI ), the radiant savior of mankind, has its sinister sides. Batman, controversially embodied by Ben Affleck, turns out to be a bitter, cynical curmudgeon. To the thundering music of Hans Zimmer, the two fight a duel in operatic dimensions.

Ironically, regular Marvel director Joss Whedon, known for laconic punch lines, completes “Justice League” on a studio assignment. Two contrary worlds collide in the finished film, in the end "Justice League" is neither dark nor funny, just pretty bad. A box office flop too. Then starts under the hashtag ReleaseTheSnyderCut soon a fan campaign for a new version.

Thin plot, colorless villain

At some point there is the green light for an extensive revision, Snyder is also allowed to re-shoot a few scenes. What was planned as a miniseries now turns out to be a film. "Zack Snyder’s Justice League" lasts four hours and 2 minutes, you have to let that trickle down first. That's longer than “Avatar,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “The Irishman” or “Lawrence of Arabia”. And that in the unfamiliar 4: 3 format.

Does it pay off to immerse yourself in the realm of the Justice League for half an eternity? For fans of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman & Co., the answer is definitely yes. Snyder took out a lot of the inappropriate humor, darkened the mood. Everything is more epic, more pathetic, a Nick Cave song can be heard when Aquaman disappears in slow motion into the icy waters.

HBO Max / SKY

If you just enjoy the atmosphere, then "Zack Snyder’s Justice League" is full of goosebumps as you know from the director’s better films. In addition to the main characters, the ensemble also moves much more into focus. Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Flash (Ezra Miller) are allowed to sparkle in well-composed sequences, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman has fantastic appearances. Batman and the resurrected Superman convince again as grim versions of themselves.

The problem is: The plot of the film aims at a similarly cosmic showdown as the last "Avengers" parts, including extraterrestrial Rubik's cubes that are sent to the Infinity Stones recall. Compared to the sophisticated Marvel storytelling, the plot around the Justice League looks ridiculously thin.

In addition, the central weak point of the original film has not disappeared despite a digital retouch: Steppenwolf continues to prove to be one of the most colorless villains in comic film history. In the eternal battle scenes, almost staged as airbrush still images, the CGI overkill around his armies tires the eyes.

HBO Max / SKY

Those who survive the 6 chapters will then be rewarded with a newly filmed epilogue. Jaret Leto, the Joker from "Suicide Squad", is allowed to flash his twisted grin. The absurd: The director teases further sequels with it, but they will never come.

In summary, is "Zack Snyder’s Justice League" better than the original? Definitely. Is it a good movie? One can argue about that.

Superhero sitcoms and serious drama

One thing is clear after the Snyder epic: Not only Thanos suddenly has the impression of a Shakespeare villain compared with Steppenwolf. Against the virtuosity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in terms of world building and networking, the DC competition pales a lot.

Marvel / Disney +

"WandaVision"

Unfortunately, fussy cleverness alone is not the key to perfect superhero happiness. Even if Marvel always works with fresh creative forces and directors newcomers are constantly getting involved, the corset of the superstructure is tight.

"WandaVision" for example, the first official series from the MCU, started as a quirky superhero sitcom that caused astonishment. From episode 4 at the latest, however, the old Marvel recipe for success was served: Elaborate action scenarios, ironic dialogues, traumatized characters, an inevitable effect overkill in the final episode. Business as usual.

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”, also launched on Disney +, relies on this tried and tested mix from the very first minute. The new Marvel series begins with a cinematic bang. An aerial fight between Falcon and a group of terrorists looks like it was inspired by the Mission Impossible series. The action is tough and despite the digital tricks, there is a sense of realism. Immediately afterwards, director Kari Skogland reduces the pace. Bucky, the former Winter Soldier, is introduced as a badly damaged character.

Marvel / Disney +

"The Falcon and the Winter Soldier"

It's about the legacy of Captain America in this first episode, about a dangerous group of conspiracy activists and about everyday problems of the characters: credit debts, self-doubts, therapy sessions without result.

"The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" tells the story of these two stumbling Avengers in a very classic way, as a serious drama that is riddled with outbursts of action. You shouldn't expect any formal surprises. Charismatic leads Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan are half the battle on this show.

Conclusion: A series for the many fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with many more to follow. Until the cinemas reopen and the first comic book blockbusters start rolling, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is at least a passable bridge.