If you’ve been anywhere near a discussion about Man of Steel or Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, you’ll have heard one major complaint: “It’s tooooo dark!” While it’s a bit of a simplistic criticism, I think they’ve got a point.
Zack Snyder, for better or worse, clearly takes these heroes’ psychological and personal problems dead serious, resulting in some occasionally painfully po-faced melodrama in which it becomes perilously difficult to take seriously a super-powered space alien debating with a billionaire dressed up as a bat.
Spooked by the critical mauling that Batman V Superman received, it’s commonly assumed that Warner Bros. realized they needed to adjust course quickly and that if Justice League was a humorless slog it ran the chance of killing the whole DCEU project. Hence getting Joss Whedon in to finish the film and reportedly engaging in last minute reshoots to inject a couple of gags.
Now, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot have directly addressed this change of tone in a recent interview:
“Justice League is a big change tonally because you now have the personalities of all these different characters coming together and it gives you a chance to infuse a lot of humor into the scenes. For Bruce, he’s having to open up and play well with other because he knows he needs them ,so while he doesn’t lose sight of how serious the threat is, he’s humanized by the Flash’s earnestness, Diana’s warmth, even Aquaman’s needling.”
Given how much of a gloomy git Batman was in BvS, it sounds right that it’d take the combined strength of the world’s most powerful superheroes to yank free the stick so firmly shoved up his ass. Furthermore, perhaps the key ingredient in any ensemble film is chemistry between the various characters, and Gadot promises that in spades:
“The goal of the team is intense – they have to save the world, after all – but the humor that comes into it from all of these characters trying to work together, some of them with more experience, some with essentially none, results in a lot of laughter and playful banter that I believe audiences will really enjoy.”
I hope so, too. Wonder Woman managed to pull off the balance between peril and humor perfectly, balancing a sincere look at the horrors of World War I with a beautifully pitched fish out of water story ably conveyed by the unexpectedly great comic chops of Gal Gadot. I guess we’ll find out if Warner Bros. have successfully transplanted this atmosphere into Justice League pretty soon. Word is they’re still chopping and changing the film in response to test audience criticisms, so at the very least it sounds like they’re desperate for a populist crowdpleaser in the MCU mold.
Justice League hits cinemas next month, on November 17th.