3 Reasons The Avengers Are WAY Better Than The Justice League

The Avengers premieres this Friday, May 4 and has already established a ton of momentum via early screener reviews.

For a great spoiler-free review of The Avengers, check out MTV & IFC’s Rick Marshall on Episode #34 of our podcast from earlier this week! If you’re looking forward to this movie, it’s a great segment to check out – and we take great measures to keep it spoiler free!

As if the release of The Avengers wasn’t enough – Saturday is Free Comic Book Day!

It takes a juggernaut to dislodge Star Wars from the peak of Geek Mountain on May 4 (May the Fourth Be With You), and The Avengers have turned into just that.

Dead Men Walking

A Marvel Comic property stealing the spotlight from Star Wars on May 4 is like a Major League Baseball free agent signing dominating the sports news on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s like ABC announcing a Perfect Strangers reunion on the same day the Two and a Half Men series finale airs (that’s gotta be coming soon) (both things) (hopefully). And yes, I realize “Men” just got picked up for a tenth season. I said “realize” not “understand why”.

The Avengers are the most important and valuable superteam in the comic book world. They could represent the gateway that the comic book industry has so desperately been looking for for decades, driving non-comic book fans to their local comic book shops to “dip their toe in the kiddie pool” of the comic book culture.

In their rise to mainstream recognition, The Avengers have surpassed their Marvel-mates The X-Men (whom they go to war with this summer in AvX), and DC Comics’ resident superteam, The Justice League. Here are 3 reasons they whip The Justice League’s collective ass:

1. Team Chemistry

“We don’t need Hal, I can be both.”

This one is kinda obvious but too important a factor to overlook. Justice League apologists might say: “The Justice League has a pretty damn good rapport for such a diverse team- there’s a billionaire, a guy from another world, a super-strong unstoppable guy, one super-hot female hero.. they all have their own agendas and how could they possibly be any better..” and then you realize you’ve just described The Avengers as well, who DO have a much better team dynamic.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the fact that over the years, no matter who has written them, Bruce Wayne and Hal Jordan don’t get along. I like that purely due to his strength and moral code, Superman seems to be the de-facto leader but Batman doesn’t fully trust him. I like that their abilities and powers compliment each other, but there’s just something missing.

Here’s a fun exercise: take all of the DC Justice League characters that have had their own feature films (Batman, Superman, Green Lantern). Try to use any combination of the actors who played them and cast a Justice League movie that sounds like it will work. Christian Bale, Henry Cavill and Ryan Reynolds? While it may be decent, that cast has nothing on The Avengers cast. I would have been onboard with a Michael Keaton/Christopher Reeve led Justice League, but that Batman and that Superman were from different decades.

Justice League movie poster by Daniel Morpheus

 

2. The Team Members are More Likeable

Let’s face it. We all love Batman, but he goes out of his way to make you not like him. Let’s stick with the Justice League for a sec. Superman is an invulnerable alien. Aquaman and Wonder Woman are royalty from other worlds. Green Lantern is a space cop. Out of the core 7, FOUR of them are from other planets/worlds.

Looking now at The Avengers – Thor is from Asgard. That’s it. Bruce Banner is just a dude. Tony Stark is a dude. Steve Rogers, Clint Barton, Nick Fury – all just dudes.  Natasha Romanoff is a human female; not an Amazon, not an alien, just a gal. For the most part, they’re just humans with either enhanced abilities or technology to support them. In other words, relatable.

There’s a reason that Batman is the only DC Comics character that has worked on the big screen and garnered mainstream appeal – he’s just a rich guy in a suit with a ton of tech. He has no powers, he’s not from another world. We humans can get behind that.

 

3. The Setting

I’ve always said that Marvel Comics have an inherent advantage over DC with regard to translation to the big screen. That advantage? Their setting.

Think about where Marvel Comics (and movies) take place: New York City, San Francisco, Canada, Afghanistan, Europe. Look at DC Comics: Metropolis, Gotham City, Coast City, Keystone City. One of Green Lantern’s most memorable story arcs involved the complete obliteration of his hometown, Coast City. Did we care? Not really. It’s not a real place, not real people.

One of the cool aspects of the Spider-Man movies up to this point has been the use of New York City as a supporting character. Naturally, we care more when a train full of New Yorkers is in danger, because some of us are New Yorkers, or have family in New York, or have read books about New York, or saw a Pace picante sauce ad about “New York City?!” when we were kids.

Point is, it’s a real place with real people. Nobody gives a crap about Coast City.

Justice League Watchtower. On the moon.

Here’s another problem: The Justice League’s base of operations is on the fucking moon. The Avengers operate out of the earthbound Avengers Mansion, or the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier which hovers over earth. Not the moon. Way to alienate the fans even more.

“There’s trouble down on Earth!”

“Ahh hell, let the cops handle it. We’re all the way up here on the moon…and I just put a Tombstone in the oven! It’s movie night!”

“Good call. F ’em. None of their cities are real anyway.”

 

Howie Decker is the co-creator and editor of UnderScoopFIRE.com. He likes fantasy baseball & taco night. You can read his “Letter from the Editor” here.

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