Whedon Isn’t ‘Going Nolan’ With ‘Avengers 2′; Says DC Characters Harder to Adapt

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 Whedon Isnt Going Nolan With Avengers 2; Says DC Characters Harder to Adapt

Considering that we’re now fully living in the world of comic book movie sequels – phase two of the Marvel cinematic universe having successfully kicked off with Iron Man 3, with Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Avengers 2 all on the way – now is a good time to take a look at such sequels and what they promise, particularly with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy having drawn to a close.

Whether you like them or not, Nolan’s films have had an undeniably powerful influence on the public perception of what comic book movies can be, given their distinctive tone and aesthetic. Some might argue that making comic book movies as dark, gritty and down-to-earth as possible is always the best way to go, and this seems to be particularly true of sequels, where attempts to make the next installment in a franchise darker has become almost as commonplace as the promise to “raise the stakes.”

There are plenty of arguments that could be made both for and against the particular approach that Nolan took to interpreting the Batman mythos for the big screen, but variety is the spice of life and if all comic book movies were dark, gritty and realistic then we’d probably all be praying for a ray of silliness. The box office success of last year’s biggest hit The Avengers seems to be indicative of a demand for a slightly more light-hearted approach, and in an interview with Metro, director Joss Whedon has promised that he isn’t planning to ‘go Nolan’ with The Avengers 2:

“Nolan has this thing and of it he is the master; I do not have Nolan’s thing. [I'm] Tony Stark desperately trying to be Steve Rogers. I can’t stop making jokes. In my vernacular there are two gold standards for sequels: ‘The Godfather Part II’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. They are darker films but they are not suddenly pretentious and losing the mission. The joy of the thing is important: the exaltation, the nobility, the humor and the humanity. But you do need to bleed with these people a little bit or you won’t want to spend another day with them.”

Heath Ledger as Joker in The Dark Knight Whedon Isnt Going Nolan With Avengers 2; Says DC Characters Harder to Adapt

Of course, The Avengers wasn’t without its dark moments (we won’t name them here, out of respect to the three people on the planet who haven’t seen it yet), but it’s not the sort of movie that could be described as “dark” in a broad sense. When asked about the possibility of directing The Avengers 3, however, Whedon warns that the strain would probably cause him to take things down a very dark path:

“The idea of doing this three times just staggers the imagination. I’m not that young. But then, I hadn’t really intended to do a second one. In the third one, I really am going to kill everyone.”

While some might argue that creating a sequel is always more difficult than making the first film in a series, because of the certain stigma associated with bad movie sequels and the challenge of keeping the franchise fresh, Whedon says in an interview RTÉ Ten that conceiving The Avengers 2 has actually been comparatively easier, since the groundwork of the shared universe has already been established:

“It was harder the first time. We had to bring everybody together, we had to convince people that they could all be in the same movie. That’s done, and so now it’s just pure storytelling… We will see some new faces in ‘Avengers 2′, and they will be from the Marvel universe.”

Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill in The Avengers Whedon Isnt Going Nolan With Avengers 2; Says DC Characters Harder to Adapt

Whedon also suggests in the interview that some of the new faces will be female characters, due to his passion for making movies and TV shows about strong women. With that in mind, he was asked whether there was any possibility that his Wonder Woman script, which fell into development hell several years ago and never returned, might still see the light of day:

“I’ve not been asked back, and at present I don’t think there’s really an opportunity there. I don’t want to dash your hopes, but it’s not looking great. I have come up with a very original character of my own called Wondrous Gal … She’s a Flamazon.”

It looks like Joss Whedon is fully embedded in the Marvel camp, though J.J. Abrams’ assignment to direct both Star Trek and Star Wars Episode VII has shown that it’s not impossible for a director to straddle two rival franchises. Whedon has expressed his passion for the DC universe in the past, though he also said in an interview with DigitalSpy that DC characters are harder to translate to the big screen because “they are so far above us and their powers are so amorphous.”

Do you favor Nolan’s comic book movie style, or Whedon’s? Alternatively, are you just happy that they both exist?


The Avengers 2 is out in theaters on May 1st, 2015

Source: Metro & RTÉ Ten [via CBM], DigitalSpy

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
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  1. all i can think of sometimes with this guy is how he Killed The Alien fanchise with the Dreadful Alien resurrection god that was aweful. and the Avengers was entertaining but had little if No suspense to it at all

      • what…smh

  2. I could be wrong but I believe both franchises have their darkness in certain characters, modern day practicality in certain characters, and fantastical/unbelievability in others. I can’t list the pros and cons of the whole roster of characters from each franchise because frankly there are too many and some were written specifically to correct the origin flaws of another or to please some new vocal group of fanboys.
    That being said the characters that seem to live on decade after decade have something universally appealing though what that is varies from character to character. All you need to do is compare Batman to Spiderman and see how they can be so different yet appealing.
    Wise cracking is not a universal thing on either side though recent movies have left some to think it is. I seem to remember Christopher Reeve and Michael Keaton being pretty funny when there really was no Marvel equivalent on the big screen at the same time.
    For those of you who were not around when Frank Millers The Dark Knight Returns came out it pretty much set a tone away from the other Batman books at the time and recent movie directors have clearly stated its influence in the releases. So when we compare Nolan’s Batman we must also acknowledge that it is not what the bulk of DC was ever like.
    On the flip side I will say Whedon’s Avengers (or even Spiderman) are clearly more in line with their paper counterparts.
    Taking that in to account I can see Marvel being easier to adapt to the big screen and DC being harder as each DC character now may have to be written in more of a Frank Miller manner to be of the Nolan story quality.
    Ultimately I think both franchises can succeed but I believe DC will have a harder time writing theirs and Marvel already has a big head start on them and seems to have a pretty easy formula to follow. Hopefully there will be no finish line so it will not matter if Marvel took an early lead.
    To sum up, give me more movies and try to make the best you can.
    The only way they can screw this up in my eyes is to use bad CG (always leave a bad taste in my mouth) or not pay an actor what they are worth (insulting).

  3. I’d rather go the DC/WB route. Don’t get me wrong… I truly enjoyed Marvel’s Phase 1, but after watching IM3, which I felt was aimed directly towards a kids, I’d rather have a more adult film and that’s what DC/WB are delivering. Disney is gonna hand us a ton of cheese and jokes, which is ok, but I’m an adult and I need movies with depth and substance

    • “but I’m an adult and I need movies with depth and substance”

      Im an adult and that made no sense at all. Just because you are an adult (or think you are, not you you but you in general) does not mean everything has to be prim and proper.

      There are quite a few adults writing for this site and visiting this site that probably love movies that have no depth and substance. Are they then not adults?

      Now YOU may want movies with depth and substance and that’s great but being an ‘adult’ has nothing to do with it.

      • Or to put it another way: “I don’t shut up, I grow up! And when I see you, I throw up!”

  4. I think that even though both Iron Man 3 and Man Of Steel had huge issues, Iron Man 3 wins because RDJ still is witty, he leads the action rather than the action overwhelming it and at least Iron Man 3 knows its a popcorn flick. Man of Steel was trying to be both action packed and serious leading to 2 different halves. While the emotions in both films neither fully convey, Iron Man 3 at least felt something different in terms of Iron Man while Man of Steel felt like it was done before not just in the previous films but in transformers as well.

  5. Didn’t Synder make a similar comment about how DC’s characters were “pure and god-like”? Both guys clearly are biased towards the projects that are putting money in their pockets, but what Whedon said seems more like an observation based on his Wonder Woman experience.

  6. People (by people, I mean critics) are saying that Man of Steel didnt have enough humor but after seeing it I can say that I prefer that experience to the Iron Man 3 experience

  7. DC characters are harder to translate to the big screen because “they are so far above us and their powers are so amorphous.”

    Yet they were always the first.

    I call BS. The only reason they are perceived as being harder is everyone is worried about following in Nolans footsteps.

  8. I wish Whedon would stop talking and actually do something and let his work speak for itself.. Maybe its just the blanket marketing about Avengers 2 but all this talk and no action vis a vie making a film is getting on my nerves.

  9. I agree that Man of Steel was lacking somewhat in humour and that IM3 had too much humour. The best comic book movie (in an ideal world) would be somewhere in the middle, but that would just lead to generic storytelling and ultimately become monotonous and boring. Rather than trying to always make a movie dark and gritty or more fun and humourous, why not look at each character individually and do what works for that character.

    While I didn’t hate Man of Steel, I didn’t exactly fall in love with it. Maybe I’m a bit old skool, but I never for once envisaged Clark Kent growing up as a tortured individual because he had these abilities that set him apart from everyone else. The one thing I always got from the comics was because of the love and support of his parents he came to embrace and love this side of him; the only thing that scared him was how to use the abilities to help people and still be “normal” hence the creation of the Superman persona. Man of Steel didn’t show the love he has for these abilities, but that’s fine as this is a reboot. Maybe he will loosen up in the sequel and begin to revel in them.

    Dark, gritty and more based-in-reality style of filmmaking lends itself very well to Batman, because ultimately he boils down to a man in a suit who is very well trained and well prepared. This approach would work well for someone like Punisher too. There are some superheroes with powers that could also benefit from this style (Wolverine and Daredevil spring to mind) but only because of the characteristics of the man/woman behind the mask. Most superheroes, though, have powers that are so fantastical in their origin (alien, gods, magic, other dimension, time travel, mutation etc) that a real-world style makes it slightly harder.

    Ultimately, variety is a good thing. Not all superheroes are the same and that’s why not all comic book movies should be the same. There is definitely room for both types of storytelling, without choosing one over the other or trying to decide which is best. So long as it works for the character (and you don’t try to make them something that they’re not) then bring it on.

    • So, I wonder if y thought the take on Clark early life was more Peter Parker early childhood and Parker having to always holding back because of his Spidey power?

    • And that’s why doing a Justice league film would be at this point difficult, only because DC/WB have decided to do real world comic book films. Campbell’s Green Lantern would not fit in Nolan’s Dark Knight and Snyder’s Superman universes.

      • I’ve said something similar on a different thread. I can’t see how they will comfortably bring in characters like Aquaman and Wonder Woman into this new DC movie-verse.

        Morgan Taley has written that “if they plan on doing a Justice League film or Wonder Woman films, have them completely separate franchises from what Nolan and Snyder have started doing. At this point they are running out of time to try and make their other comic book characters relevant” something I totally agree with

  10. Does anyone else feel like Whedon is referencing a Infinity Gauntlet-ish storyline with his “The idea of doing this three times just staggers the imagination… In the third one, I really am going to kill everyone.” comment? Or is that just me reading too much into things? Oh I am an enormous DC/Marvel fan and their movies but any of Nolan’s Batman movies are equivalent to all the X-Men movies and that is… garbage.

  11. WoW!! It’s a Nolanites vs Whendonites Vs SW fanboy fight(Speaking in the tone of Zoolander) ;-)

  12. I would love it if Whedon directed a Justice League movie. After seeing Man of Steel, I’m not sure if I would want Snyder tackling that. It wasn’t a bad movie per se, but I like the tone of Avengers more (no I’m not a Marvel fan boy),

    • I like what Zack Snyder did w/the movie,especially the action part (FINALLY!!). The 1st 1/2 did drag a little long thou. I was starting to look at my watch.

      • Yeah the action was pretty cool. It was just the overall tone. I’m hesitant to say it was too dark because I liked the darkness of BB and TDK. Maybe it just didn’t fit a Superman movie.

  13. It’s not that hard.
    Dark Knight (all of them) were not very good. In part it was bad casting. Christian Bale and his scratchy voice were pathetic. I did like his choices for Commissioner Gordon, Joker, Scarecrow, Bain, Alfred, and Raz Al Ghul — but Harvey Dent (ie Twoface) was atrocious. In fact, the whole Harvey Dent ‘myth’ made no sense. Which was the main flaw for me — the story line doesn’t make sense if you dig 1/2″ deep.
    Now Avengers — it was upbeat, lighthearted for most of the film, and Joss Whedon is amazing. How many hero films has anyone seen with 5 fairly large superhero stars and it still works? Casting was great (except for Nick Fury IMO, but that wasn’t his call) and story worked quite well.
    ‘Nuf said.

  14. While Nolan as a film maker has merit, and I haven’t yet seen Man Of Steal, the biggest problem DC/WB has had with their franchises is a lack of cohesion. After the success of Iron Man, Marvel immediately set out to create a film universe in which all of the characters interacted. WB, after the success of Batman Begins sat on their hands and didn’t seem too interested in introducing other characters and instead decided to focus on character(s) that have already been introduced (Superman). Also, the divergent tones of the DB/WB films don’t play off of each other well. I see DC/WB doing one of two things; continue to retread their two marquee characters or, if they plan on doing a Justice League film or Wonder Woman films, have them completely separate franchises from what Nolan and Snyder have started doing. At this point they are running out of time to try and make their other comic book characters relevant.

    • I’ve said something similar on another thread. Marvel always had a plan in place. I think a lot of people have forgotten that before Phase One, there was a lot of speculation as to whether an Avengers or justice League movie was even possible: too many characters competing for screen time, too many powers etc. Now that Whedon has successfully shown that not only is it possible, but it can be done in such a way that keeps fanboys happy and still entertains the wider non-geeky population, everyone is looking at Warner for a response.

      However, Warner approach has always been “let’s make a movie and wait and see. if it’s successful, let’s make another one. if it’s not, let’s not even have a contingency/back-up plan in place.” That’s very short-sighted and reactive. It would have been very easy for Nolan to have some sort of mention of LuthorCorp in his movie or have Bruce reading the Daily Planet or something. However, Nolan always stated that he was not a comic book fan, therefore he had no interest in referencing the wider DC-verse in his movies.

      I think the only reason so many people are looking at Warner to do Justice League is only because of the success of Avengers. At this point I think it would be better if they just did individual movies, especially given the tricky prospect of which DC version of the character they should use in a movie; pre or post new 52.

  15. marvel will lose it is has nothing substancial