EDITORIAL: JUSTICE LEAGUE THE MOVIE... Really?
Word today that WB was serious about developing a Justice League movie was met with at least as much derision as it was excitement, many people feeling this was a knee-jerk reaction to the success of The Avengers.
The studio, Variety or Mark Millar can all claim that this has been in development for some time, but the timing does seem a little... convenient.
Whatever the situation, when looking at the notion of a Justice League film it becomes extremely difficult to imagine how it's going to work beyond the action level. Now granted you're in safe territory if you start with Superman as there isn't all that much you need to know about him that isn't already in our collective DNA - though one does have to wait to see what the collaboration of Henry Cavill and Zack Snyder will bring.
Batman? Well, sure, if you're basing it on the interpretation created between Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale, it would be incredible. But THAT take on the character comes to a close with this summer's The Dark Knight Rises, and Bale has made it clear that he won't be continuing in the role without Nolan calling the shots, and Nolan, in turn, has apparently shot his Bat-load. Still, one might be able to assume that whoever would be wearing the cowl would do their best to keep that dark and brooding interpretation alive.
So far, so good.
Green Lantern? Yes, the character starred in a $200 million film that virtually nobody saw, but there remains the image of Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, and it wouldn't be a bad thing at all to have him reprise the role and bring a bit of continuity to a Justice League film. Besides, as he demonstrated in Safe House, Reynolds is becoming more comfortable with action.
The Flash? With no disrespect intended for the comic or the character's fans, as far as the MAINSTREAM audience is concerned, this is a guy who runs fast. And that's it. There is definitely a need to get to know Barry Allen as a man before he is transformed into the scarlet speedster.
Aquaman? Sadly, mostly remembered for Super Friends and the brunt of pop culture jokes ever since, though there's a bit of a cool factor generated from all the movie talk on HBO's Entourage.
Wonder Woman? Probably the easiest of the group to establish without too much background. Plus, not to be a sexist pig, but the costume is the first thing that comes to mind and a woman kicking ass IN that costume is the second. Gina Carano, anyone?
Now WB reportedly has Flash and Wonder Woman scripts in development, but the impression given by reports is that Justice League is likely to precede them. If that is indeed the intent, that's where the problem is likely to stem from.
Naturally the response to WB/DC Entertainment doing individual films leading to Justice League would merely result in the chorus screaming "rip-off," but there is a reason that The Avengers worked for audiences around the world: those audience members came to it with knowledge of who these characters were, whether it was through theatrical or home viewings of the Iron Man films, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America. This, in turn allowed things to move briskly without too much set up of who's who (although they were all given strong introductions). A Justice League film - which should be a full ensemble piece as opposed to Superman and Batman leading the charge with a bunch of supporting players - would be challenged to successfully establish who these people are as individuals before we see them interacting as a team.
What WB/DC has in its aresenal that Marvel simply DOESN'T have, is the World's Finest combination of Superman and Batman. Mainstays as a team for decades on radio, in comics and in animation, these two characters who are so diametrically opposed yet inextricably linked, would, under the right creative hands, ignite the big screen in a live action adventure. Maybe a similar pairing from Marvel is slipping my mind, but somehow Luke Cage and Iron Fist don't bring with them the same cache.
On paper a Justice League movie may sound ideal corporately speaking, but there would be much more to be gained in the long run by bringing Superman and Batman together initially, which could in turn pave the way for an expanding DCU on the big screen.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Please sound off below.
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