5 Things the Director of the Justice League Movie Must Have

A look at five necessary things that should come with the man (or woman) who takes the director's chair for Justice League!

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By BattlinMurdock - 8/29/2012
5. A Grand Sense of Scope


The Justice League's roster is "bigger" than The Avengers. That doesn't make them better, but this is a point that needs to be brought up because bigger heroes often mean bigger stories. When I talk about "scope," I'm not talking about cool action pieces that can be filmed in IMAX, I'm talking about the bigger picture of the film. As much as I loved The Avengers, JL needs a bigger scope than a final battle in New York City.

The project calls for a director who can handle not just large set pieces, but a plethora of them. You don't want to introduce too many cities or locations, but you do have to remember the fact that these are heroes who have their own defining cities to guard, so coming together to face a massive threat means leaving those respective cities, which is a huge deal to these heroes.

The JL director has to be comfortable with numerous filming locations if the film is to be as big as fans want it to be. Note that it doesn't have to outmatch The Avengers in action; it just has to be a more universal threat.

Best Directors for Scope: JJ Abrams, Brad Bird


4. A Specific, Identifiable Style


The JL can also not be an Avengers knock-off. While I admit that it'd be great to see another more comic book-esque shot film, early reports of the screenplay say that the film is darker in tone and probably steers away from Whedon's style.

The director has to have a specific style that is not just recognizable to fans of the director's previous work, but creates frames that can stand iconic in retrospect to other movies. Style is more than making things flashy or brooding, it's how a director conveys the subtleties in a movie to make elements reminiscent of feelings the filmmaker wishes to elicit in viewers. Style is sometimes very apparent and sometimes very subliminal. I believe that the director of the JL movie would have to be very defined in a style that sets it apart from other superhero films.

Best Directors for Style: Zack Snyder, Ruben Fleischer, The Wachowski Brothers


3. The Ability to Create Genuine Emotion


Understandably, The Avengers got a free pass when it came to a lot of emotion, being that we understood where the characters were from their previous films. The Avengers lacked an agenda where we were forced to care about the characters, and instead made us eager to see how they would all work together.

In contrast, the general audience (if JL comes out before the solo films), this film will then have two agendas: 1) Make the threat great enough to bring the heroes together and 2) Make us care about character who never got the big screen treatment. In essence, JL will almost have to be like a war film, giving us a look at all the soldiers and still driving home the point that they're all willing to give their lives for a greater cause. So, case in point, we need a director established in giving us the absolute necessary pining for these characters in order for the film to be a success.

An "all-action, all-scope" director only gets half the job done. If we want to see these characters fleshed out in solo films, then we'll have to have a reason to go see them other than the fact that they're cool or badass (a reason why I don't see a Deadpool movie being very successful).

Best Directors for Emotion: Ben Affleck, Brad Bird


2. A Direct and Stand-Alone Story


One thing TA got very, very right, was that it was its own stand-alone story. While there is the foreboding threat of Thanos, the film can exist within its own merits (as people who missed out on all the solo films could still have a general idea of what was happening). The threat at hand is dealt with, the heroes are assembled, and then they go their separate ways.

The JL should follow suit. A plot too complicated with all these "new" characters would falter if it ended with an extreme pending continuation. The safe route is for the studios is to make a stand-alone film, see how it does, and then create an overarching story to follow (so, please, keep Damon Lindelof very much away).

Best Directors for Story: Zack Snyder, Ben Affleck, Brad Bird, Ruben Fleischer


1. A Heart for the Characters


Need I explain more? I know a lot of crap goes to studios and studio heads who try to take the reigns of productions and deviate them away from core concepts of the characters' source material, but Marvel got it right with both Kevin Feige and Joss Whedon. It's something that WB should follow, almost to a "T."

I don't know about Will Beall's history with comicbookdom, if he's a fan or not. But I hope that he is. And a director to follow up with that who has a real heart and passion for the project is truly the way to go.

Best Directors for Characters: Depends on public statements made by directors
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15 Comments
LoudNoises - 8/29/2012, 11:32 AM
I would add a good comedic sense. I think in part what made Avengers work so well was that Joss understood that the idea of bringing these very extreme characters together as a team in a live action environment had the potential to come off as silly. Once you realize that the idea of these extreme characters working together is kind of silly, you can either attempt to treat the material very seriously and hope it sells or you can embrace the extreme perhaps slightly silly nature of the situation and take advantage of the humor that comes with making a Demi God interact with a guy who gets angry and turns into a giant green monster. JL needs a sense of humor. We have a guy who runs as fast as lightening next to a Amazonian princess with an invisible jet. EMBRACE IT!
DrDoom - 8/29/2012, 11:38 AM
They also need: an appreciation of Doctor Fate. He would be an awesome seventh member rather than stupid Cyborg. (Silly New 52).
JDUKE25 - 8/29/2012, 11:38 AM
Yeah, JL needs comedy (there's a good amount in the first few issues of the new 52 Justice League between GL, Flash and Batman. And plenty in the Justice League shows and anitmated movies)

Something simple like this.


But I don't want Justice League to be a comedy filled as Avengers was. Remember, hearing the same joke over in over is going to lose that funny factor and just become an annoyance.
JDUKE25 - 8/29/2012, 11:38 AM
*as comedy filled
Tainted87 - 8/29/2012, 12:06 PM
Comedy...
Wachowskis
Ben Affleck

But here's a point I'd like to add that kind of undermines this whole editorial...
Zach Snyder started off making music videos.
Ben Affleck was something along the lines of Channing Tatum in the acting biz before becoming a director.

Clearly they have come a long way, but the point is that (and this goes for everything, really) you really can't determine with absolute certainty who would be best for a movie, and who would be horrific... not until a heck of a lot more information is given about the project, and by then, the director will have already been signed.

Examples:
A) M Night Shayamalan was a favorite of mine with movies like the Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable, and the Village... but then he made the Last Airbender.
B) Robert Downey Jr was a washed up actor and a drug addict on the wrong side of the law more often than not before he cleaned up his act and made Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang - but fewer than most gave him the benefit of the doubt and pretty much missed that film. When he was announced for Tony Stark, my reaction was similar to the idea that Brett Ratner might direct Justice League. He proved everyone who doubted him wrong and then some.

The way I see it, WB/DC (but WB especially) has seriously screwed up. Forget GL, and let's ASSUME that MOS is going to be fantastic (I really hope it is), that still leaves an extremely important part of the equation out, one essential that won't even be made until after "Justice League" - and that is Wonder Woman.

That's like Thor making his entrance in the Avengers without Kenneth Branagh having introduced him a year beforehand, but the consequences are far more severe, and further-reaching.

95% of English-speaking literates can spot Wonder Woman and call her by name. The same cannot be said about Black Widow, or Elektra. Because Elektra flopped so spectacularly in the wake of "Catwoman", there hasn't been a single movie depicting a superheroine in her own exclusive feature. Studios don't believe in women.

If Wonder Woman tanked, there would be NO hope whatsoever for female superheroes on the silver screen.

Considering Diana is more than likely going to be introduced in Justice League, there really isn't much of an option for her "spin-off" (which is what it will be called) to take an independent direction. The director and writer(s) will have to seriously take into account what the heck she's doing in "Justice League" in order to establish continuity.

Bottom line, Wonder Woman is going to be a sloppy second.
Tainted87 - 8/29/2012, 12:41 PM
Would you set the standard for the DC universe with...
Lex Luthor escaping prison, tracking down Lois Lane, shooting her in the abdomen, beating her, stripping her down, and taking pictures of her... for Superman to see?

Those dark stories are not definitive, and considering the audience WB needs to reach, wouldn't be at all appropriate.
Bumble - 8/29/2012, 1:28 PM
Nice article. You touched on a lot of things that I think lean towards my thought that jumping into a JL movie, with on lead in via solo, set-up movies, like Marvel did, is a big mistake that will doom the movie. You are right: DC's characters in JL are much "bigger," scope wise, than the members of the Avengers are. That's the way DC's drawn them. There have more of a "larger than life" feel than the more down-to-Earth, believable characters that make up the Marvel stable. So you are going to need this big, epic threat to get these big, some what egotistical characters together. You need someone like Darkseid to really bring them a threat that would warrant them to come together. Quite frankly I don't see how you can properly introduce Darkseid in a 2 and a half or three hour movie and really get it across how dangerous he is. You'll leave alot of stuff out and leave alot of people in the dark.
Tainted87 - 8/29/2012, 5:03 PM
@JokerFanHAhaHA
Get over yourself, I was pointing out that just because there are dark stories, doesn't mean we should see them in movie form right off the bat.

This movie will be demonstrative of what DC can offer the audience, and should be welcoming.
Toasty - 8/29/2012, 5:07 PM
6. A good knowledge of the Comic Book Lore and History.
Tainted87 - 8/29/2012, 5:18 PM
I still feel an animated Pixar-esque theatrical run is the best way to go.
They can do a whole lot more with the characters, introduce so much more than live action through sheer fantasy - and at a third of the usual production budget. The excitement for the live-action standalone movies that will come after would be much higher especially considering WHO would be bringing to life those animated roles.
Tainted87 - 8/29/2012, 7:02 PM


It flatters me that you care so much, but I don't understand your commotion. It's kind of clear that I read your comment a bunch of times already... But sure, you're right, CBMs don't have to be light-hearted to capture the comics. :)
MrCameron - 8/29/2012, 7:13 PM
BRAD BIRD FTW!

I mean seriously, if he can bring the same magic to a JL movie that he did to The Incredibles, then the movie is pretty much a guranteed success :P
Tainted87 - 8/30/2012, 8:13 AM
You know, it just occurred to me, and I'm laughing at myself for it... but unless Atlantis is sealed in an enclosed underwater environment, there isn't going to be much conversation in an Aquaman movie.
tonytony - 8/30/2012, 2:43 PM
Really good editorial. Particularly agree with point 2 on the film being great as a standalone. If it ended with what felt like an incomplete story I would leave feeling cheated. I hate when people do films with a huge slant on a sequel so that the movie taken on its own cant standalone, invariably audiences get turned off by them and those movies go on to be flops. A complete story with a hint of something else in the after credits is enough for me.
RobGrizzly - 8/31/2012, 1:59 PM
I agree with the article completely, but I think there are 2 things more important than any of those combined:

1. Believability
No matter the scale, action or story, if we don't buy it, it won't work. Period.

2. Team camaraderie
Avengers plays off the differences between each member. JLA shouldn't copy that. DC's animated cartoons have done the best job I've seen of what makes the League kick ass: They are each of them professionals.
Instead of playing up the dysfunction (a lot are suggesting comedy, but they're basically just asking for the same thing twice- they want Justice League to BE Avengers), JLA needs to play up the fact that these icons work like a well-oiled machine. The drama comes from the personal threats to the individuals. Not team in-fighting.

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