EDITORIAL: Ten Things I Want To See In The JUSTICE LEAGUE Movie

With Warner Bros. finally moving ahead with a Justice League film (which may be released in 2015), comic book fans' expectations have been sky-high. Hit the jump to find out what I most want to see concerning DC Comics' answer to Marvel's The Avengers.

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By Paul Romano - 8/17/2012


To many comic book fans, a live action Justice League film has merely been a dream. Lately, however, Warner Bros. have been interested in finally getting the project off the ground. After hiring Gangster Squad writer Will Beall to pen the script last year, it was recently reported that WB were eyeing Ben Affleck (The Town) to direct the DC Comics team up film. Due to conflicting reports, it's currently unknown whether or not Affleck would be interested in directing the movie. If he passes (which wouldn't be surprising), then there are other directors who should be considered (click here to check out my editorial on who should direct Justice League). We should (hopefully) be hearing more news on the ambitious project soon.

As a lifelong Justice League fan (I watched the animated series as a youngling), I don't think there's a movie that I'm anticipating more than the first big screen team up of Batman, Superman, and many other DC heroes. And naturally, there would be a lot of things that I would want to see in the movie. Below are ten things that I most want to see concerning what could be the biggest comic book movie to date.

1. Feature A Darker/More Grounded Tone.

One of the best things about The Dark Knight Trilogy is its use of a darker/realistic tone to accompany its story. Next year's Man Of Steel looks to have a similar tone (though obviously not as realistic). From what I can see, this tone can work very well for a DC Cinematic Universe. While clearly it shouldn't be as realistic as Chris Nolan's Batman, Justice League needs a similar amount of believability. Plus, a darker tone could help make DC's films stand out from Marvel Studios' more family-friendly fare.

Comic book writer Mark Millar recently state that the Justice League script was "dark and mature", which of course hasn't been officially confirmed yet. Though, Ben Affleck (whose films are usually dark in tone) being Warner Bros.' current top choice could give us a hint as to what the movie's tone will be.

2. Don't Be As Colorful As The Avengers.

As a continuation from #1, I'd like to stress the fact that Justice League needs to be very, very different from The Avengers. In addition to a darker tone, JL shouldn't feel as comic book-y or light-hearted as Joss Whedon's masterpiece. While Avengers was full of colorful set pieces, a grittier tone for Justice League would be a much better fit. Also, while The Avengers worked perfectly as a blend of action and comedy, I don't see the same working well for Justice League. I would focus more on the drama/serious aspect, with occasional moments of humor coming from The Flash and Green Lantern.


3. Focus On Continuity Begun By Man Of Steel And Green Lantern.

It's been rumored that Man Of Steel will be the starting point for a DC Movie Universe, similar to how Iron Man was for the MCU. While it hasn't been officially confirmed, I don't think WB are stupid enough to market two different Supermen at once. Unless Man Of Steel underperforms at the box office (which would be surprising), I can see the studio wanting to bring back Henry Cavill to don the red and blue suit for a much bigger movie. Cavill seems to be the perfect choice for Superman, based on the little we've seen of him. So if he turns in an excellent performance (I expect no less), he needs to reprise the role for a Justice League movie.

As for whether or not the Green Lantern character needs to be rebooted, I'm all for Ryan Reynolds coming back. While the Green Lantern movie was disappointing, it wasn't as terrible as many make it out to be. Reynolds was one of the best things about the movie, turning in a very solid performance as Hal Jordan. He was just working with a mediocre script and needed proper directing, both of which can be fixed in Justice League. I wouldn't try making another Lantern movie until you find what works with the character in JL and make him far more likable to the audience (similar to Hulk in The Avengers).

4. Don't Include Cyborg As A Part Of The Lineup.

Cyborg was included as a part of the original Justice League lineup in DC Comics' "New 52" reboot last year. While I don't dislike the character, I have trouble identifying him as a major Justice League member (let alone an original member). I better see him as a part of Teen Titans (probably because I grew up watching the Teen Titans TV series). There are many things that I would take from The New 52's Justice League, but Cyborg is not one of them.

5. Include The Proper Villain(s).

A superhero movie is always complete with the proper villain(s). While The Avengers' Loki was an incredible adversary, his Chitauri army wasn't as much of a threat to Earth's Mightiest Heroes as they should've been (the way they all went down Phantom Menace-style at the end was just distasteful). For Justice League, a truly powerful enemy is needed to bring together the World's Finest Heroes to defend the planet. An alien invasion has already been done in Avengers, so Justice League needs to choose something else. Darkseid would work, so long as he isn't extremely similar to Marvel's Thanos. Perhaps even Lex Luthor's Injustice League could be a good choice. But it has to be a unique choice, and one that'd make sense that it would take many powerful heroes to defeat the villain(s).


6. Take Inspiration From Both "The New 52" And The Justice League Animated Series.

There are plenty of influences that Justice League could use, but two primary sources should be Geoff Johns' first New 52 story arc and the Justice League animated series which aired several years ago. The origin arc for Johns' Justice League isn't perfect, but there are several elements that I would use in a movie (such as Aquaman using sharks to attack enemies, Batman fighting Superman, etc). It gets the basic story down well, with nearly every character (minus Wonder Woman and occasionally Superman) being written well. A tweaked and more expanded version of the story would make an excellent movie.

Another source of inspiration that Justice League should use is the animated series, which aired 2001-2006. The series depicts the characters, their interactions, and the storytelling perfectly. To this day, the DC Animated Universe' take on the League is the definitive version. Taking more than a few cues from the series (even adapting full episodes) would be a very wise decision by WB.

7. Properly Develop Each Character.

Perhaps the most remarkable accomplishment for Marvel's The Avengers (other than the incredible action scenes) was Joss Whedon's ability to properly develop each and every major character, of which there were many. It certainly isn't an easy thing to do. Justice League needs to do the same thing. Don't rush anything. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Don't include more than 6-7 members of the League (I would personally prefer to see the original comic book line-up: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern/Hal Jordan, Flash/Barry Allen, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter) . The Justice League director (whoever it ends up being) should be able to work with ensemble casts and can allow all the characters some time to breathe and to be well developed.

8. Don't Introduce Green Arrow Right Away.

Arrow is one of the better League members, and while I'd love to see Oliver Queen appear in a sequel, I think it would be a wise decision not to include to Emerald Archer in the Justice League's first movie due to the fact that Hawkeye (another archer) was included in The Avengers. Seeing Arrow in the first Justice League movie would lead to audiences getting a been there, done that feeling, which should be avoided as much as possible.

9. Don't Make A S.H.I.E.L.D.-Like Organization Form The Team.

In The Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D. formed the superhero team when they saw that a universal threat has arrived. In order to keep itself further from Avengers, Justice League shouldn't be formed by any group in the government. I'd prefer if some members met in the middle of the same battle (for example, Superman fighting someone while Batman and/or Green Lantern arrive in Metropolis).

10. Don't Rush The Movie's Development.

This is the thing I most want to see. When it was finally revealed that Justice League had a writer, many were concerned that Warner Bros. were rushing the film just to cash in on The Avengers' huge success. I hope that's not the case. Just as Avengers took years to develop, Justice League needs to be developed over a certain space of time. It's an extremely ambitious project, and one that Warner Bros. can not afford to ruin.




Well, those are the things that I, a die-hard Justice League fan, would like to see in Warner Bros.' planned film adaptation. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.











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Sabconth - 8/17/2012, 2:00 PM
Your ideas are quite good, but most of them are pretty much the consensus of everyone else really.

Out of your list of directors, only David Yates and Snyder would possibly want to be involved with a JL movie. The rest would simply laugh at the notion.
95 - 8/17/2012, 2:00 PM
I want a good movie – by a director who's accustomed with motion capture work — and a script that captures the magic of each character equally.

@PaulRom That's good and all. Especially the Cyborg part.
Sabconth - 8/17/2012, 2:02 PM
@yossarian

They need a director first, and a script.

They also need to show they can make a good movie that doesn't include Batman. If Superman fails, consider a Justice League film shelved indefinitely.
PaulRom - 8/17/2012, 2:03 PM
@yossarian: As with any movie, I can see more info coming once we get an idea of who's actually making the movie. Choosing a director is the first proper step to make in developing a movie after you write the script.
6of13 - 8/17/2012, 2:05 PM
I have seen recent articles that express the same ideas.

But I do agree with points 3, 9 and 10. I like the idea of the individual heroes meeting by chance (so to speak) e.g like Green Lantern responding to a warning but finds Superman already there
MisterNiceGuy - 8/17/2012, 2:05 PM
this team is just not as apealing as the Avengers. i cant see it being as fun or entertaining. call me a marvelite i could give a shit cuz thats not the case.
PaulRom - 8/17/2012, 2:09 PM
Yeah, Will Beall apparently finished the script recently. So far, Affleck was the only one that WB sent it to.
Pokeysteve - 8/17/2012, 2:12 PM
"4. Don't Include Cyborg As A Part Of The Lineup."
Definitely don't include him. Stick with the original 7.

"8. Don't Introduce Green Arrow Right Away."
Don't introduce him at all. Arrow sucks and isn't needed in a "realistic" JL.

"9. Don't Make A S.H.I.E.L.D.-Like Organization Form The Team."
Agreed. Hopefully they won't go the Max Lord route. Superman should be the one to suggest they team up.

At the end of the day though, this movie won't happen for a while and when it does they will eff most of it up. Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter most notably. DC treats their characters like crap on the big screen although Green Lantern was an excellent try.

TayDee - 8/17/2012, 2:13 PM
I just want a release date. That's all I want for now.
StrangerX - 8/17/2012, 2:15 PM
Cool list, but I think Cyborg is a great inclusion.

I would also like to see Lex Luthor as President
HeadPool420 - 8/17/2012, 2:18 PM
I would be bored with a less colorful, non comic like, realistic take on the Justice League.
MisterJay - 8/17/2012, 2:20 PM
you are just saying ten thingns u are taking from the avengers xD... you are clearly saying that the inspiration is from avengers...

i dont want a jla movie right now cause it will feels like an avengers copy... they need time to develop the history properly
TayDee - 8/17/2012, 2:21 PM
I believe they should just do a World's Finest movie after MOS. A movie with Supes and Batman can easily show that there's far worse danger in their world and that they will need a team to fight back. At least, thats how I would want it to happen, instead of them having to make a batman reboot so quick.
thewonderer - 8/17/2012, 2:24 PM
Brad Bird is the ideal choice, so ideal.

In my opinion, Bird is a better choice than Whedon for a team up flick.

I'd say Abrams or Jackson are good second tier, but they're both extremely busy with other things.

Jonathan Nolan is wonderful, but he hasn't directed so I'd say get him for writing alongside Brad Bird.

JUST IMAGINE THIS PEOPLE!:

Justice League
Directed by Brad Bird
Written by Bird and Jonathan Nolan

*Faints*

Marvels done for
storyteller - 8/17/2012, 2:25 PM
The problem with the original line up is that frankly, it's a white team. Race shouldn't matter but it does. Avengers at least has Nick Fury as being the black man in charge. If I was making the movie, I'm changing up the race for Flash and co.

Style wise, JL doesn't need to be a gritty real movie. As opposed to trying to down play the godhood, why not play it up. Kingdom Come works because it embraces it. Batman may be a broken man, but the guy still descends from the heavens as an archangel at the end.
StrangerX - 8/17/2012, 2:25 PM
If they did a Watchmen type Kingdom Come, with an almost page for page, but the ending different. That would be cool!!
JonG303 - 8/17/2012, 2:29 PM
Cyborg NEEDS to be a part of the lineup. Not only does he bring some much-needed ethnic diversity to the team, but he also has a youthful charm and high-tech gear to attract the Iron Man fans. He should be the POV character of the movie from which we view the other legendary heroes of the Justice League.
Maximus101 - 8/17/2012, 2:31 PM
I would rather them take the grittier more realistic take for justice legue any day and it would be unbelievably amazing, they get the right director and writer, this movie will pwn. I don't like the joking funny humor for them types of movies, if I want a laugh I go see comedy movies plain and simple.
Maximus101 - 8/17/2012, 2:32 PM
The comic kingdom come is perfect, they make the movie like that comic it will turn out beautifully.
superotherside - 8/17/2012, 2:32 PM
Great write up bro.

If I was doing it, I would have one of WW's villains release Hades and call an army of the dead. This would give a very darker feel to it.

Realistic? Meh. If they do it like DCUO's cinematic cut scenes that would be fine, but I wouldn't call it realistic. More serious would be a better way to describe it.
95 - 8/17/2012, 2:35 PM
@storyteller @CloneKev Isn't Martian Manhunter green? :P
G3n3r4lzZoD9 - 8/17/2012, 2:36 PM
Photobucket
MediaMan - 8/17/2012, 2:39 PM
@TheRedHood: "This movie just reeks of the studio's desperation."

Dead on the money. WB can't even get Green Lantern right (HOW do you screw that up??). They need to take their time & develop this.

@TayDee: "I believe they should just do a World's Finest movie after MOS."

Very interesting idea. Build up to JL properly, as Marvel did. No way would Avengers have succeeded the way it did without first establishing the characters.
TheSensationalSpiderman - 8/17/2012, 2:42 PM
JL would be bigger than the avengers!
MediaMan - 8/17/2012, 2:42 PM
And btw- the Nolan Bat-films do have a veneer of realism, but they are absolutely NOT "realistic" in any true sense of the word. No city in world history has ever or would ever operate like Gotham. Nor would the Feds just sit around while the events of TDKR take place. And that's just for starters. Despite their positives, TDK & TDKR are just full of major plot holes.

Though I agree, I can see a somewhat more realistic tone for JL than Avengers, though Whelon did a masterful job of tying things together.

That said, making, say, Superman any more realistic than Thor wouldn't necessarily be easy.
YoDawg - 8/17/2012, 2:45 PM
Yo Dawg

whats with all the realistic bullshit? Does making it realistic automatically make it better? Aint shit realistic when it comes to the JLA lmao. Focusing on making it realistic would [frick] it up even more, because theyd have to go all out of their way and change the story up to make it "realistic" Serious it can be, but realistic? NO
YoDawg - 8/17/2012, 2:47 PM
And Dawg, add in Jon Stewart plz...Im still mad Panther wont be in Avengers 2....
Bodwulf - 8/17/2012, 2:48 PM
Now you know the only Justice League we are ever gonna get came in the 70's . Why U be dreamin' ?
LOTSH2, The 1970s live action DC Comics Heroes

Also includes greatest Batman vs Soloman Grundy ever!
ComicsBornAndBred - 8/17/2012, 2:48 PM
Affronsk or Abrams. Doont have Snyder direct both Superman and JL movie. Thats likeif Faverau had directed oth Iron Man and the Avengers. One director should handle the JL film and yhe others handle their own solo hero films. Leave Avengers to Whedon and JL to, my pics, Affronsky or Abrams.
Ranger14 - 8/17/2012, 2:49 PM
If they go "darker" and more "realistic" with the tone, that will be the downfall of the film. The Justice League isn't made up of "dark" and "realistic" heroes as far as I see them. Perhaps Martian Manhunter and Batman, but the rest are brighter and more vibrant characters. I would think a JLA film should be more family friendly. Of course, I want comic films that feel like the comic coming to life on screen. Not some adaptation that makes it feel like a regular film that sticks some comic book characters in it that aren't true to their actual character, just to make it "real" and more "dark". To each their own.
Bodwulf - 8/17/2012, 2:49 PM
How many recognise Roz from Night Court?
PsyGuy - 8/17/2012, 2:53 PM
I agree with MOST of this, except I'd like it to not bee too dark. I don't want it to be nearly as dark as Nolan's work.
ralfinader - 8/17/2012, 2:55 PM
I think Justice League is the perfect opportunity to:

1- Forget Green Lantern happenned.

2- Showcase costumed villians. The foes the JLA need to face are the Legion of Doom. Period. Darkseid or some single heavyweight would be to comparable to Avengers, and no Marvel Studios movie has featured a fully costumed and realized supervillian.
Orangelight - 8/17/2012, 2:56 PM
Whatever they do, if in fact they do anything, is NOT to even try to make a realistic JLA movie. That's the dumbest shit I've ever heard. How in the world can Superman be realistic??????????? And, who's going to be able to beat him, let alone the combined Godlike powers of The League????
YoDawg - 8/17/2012, 2:56 PM
@Ranger

Yo Dawg AMEN TO YOU AMEN!
*CLAPS*
ralfinader - 8/17/2012, 2:56 PM
Well, Loki, but he us a god, and isn't wearing a mask.
ComicsBornAndBred - 8/17/2012, 2:57 PM
@Ranger14 i agree with u somewhat but u can showcase the vibrant and light qualities of Superman, Flash, Aquaman and Wonder Woman in a dark and realistic tone. Man of Steel's trailer is dark but the "TREE OF LIFE" shots of the sun and light and Supes soaring through the sky showcase his lighter side. His bright altruism. But, Supermann is basically a god. A dark tone should show that he can mess u up if u dare harm his people and his planet. Its modern and realistic. Family friendly is Avengers territory but that movie was dark at times. You can show a somewhat family friendly by showing the League not just be on the offensive and stop villians viscerally, but show them save others. Show the emotional impact that a League of heroes has on the world. Supeman is a beacon of light. The people of earth should be in awe everytime they see him. Avengers didnt really ahow the emotional impact that heroes can have in people. Show a young boy or gitl being saved by Bats, Supes. Or Aquaman. Show how emotionaly beneficial that is. I was jus lt saved by Superman. Show the effects that has on the hero. Batman is dark but he wants to save ppl and not only stop crime and evil. Show him saving someone and how that makes him feel.
thewonderer - 8/17/2012, 3:01 PM
@MediaMan

Actually, the supposed number of plot holes in TDK and TDKR are extremely exaggerated. The movie isn't completely realistic but it is enough so
ThatOneDude - 8/17/2012, 3:08 PM
I think the best way is to get a Wonder Woman movie up

Introduce the new Batman and Green Arrow as his second in command in WORLD"S FINEST with WW hint/Darksied hint

Let that be the launch pad for JLA with focus on Supes learning to be the leader he's destined to be.

I think Bats and Arrow should really have the same relationship as Fury and Coulson did... But Supes definitley needs to be the IRON MAN OF THE DCMU!!!
DarkGrifter - 8/17/2012, 3:11 PM
I agree with a lot of those points. But I think Cyborg could be visually amazing if the CGI is done right, however Martian Manhunter has a really interesting origin that could potentially provide the basis for the Justice League movie plot.
Also the JL have always been colourful, it's one of the reasons they are so visually iconic, I don't think you can really take that out of a live action Justice League movie. However I do think that creating a more serious and realistic tone could make the antagonist seem that much more threatening and subsequently create the feeling of the stakes being that much higher.
The biggest challenge will be developing each character properly, The Avengers showed little character development, that's not anyone's fault, it's just a problem that comes with putting six heroes, a villain and a Nick Fury into one movie and giving them a fair amount of screen time each. So for the Justice League to develop 5-7 characters, a threat that feels genuinely threatening and create an interesting plot, seems almost impossible without some kind of miracle script sent from the heavens. But just ignore me, I'm feeling pessimistic today :P
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