How to do the Justice League movie

My thoughts on how the Justice League movie should be made

Now that it has become official that the world will get to see a Justice League movie in 2015, the folks over at Warner Bros. have some serious planning to do. Marvel’s The Avengers pleased the mass majority of moviegoers, and more importantly, made Marvel/Disney enough money to swim in Scrooge Mcduck style. So, Warner Bros. knows that it’s sitting on a potential gold mine with its DC properties, and must capitalize on it before the superhero craze loses its hype.

It seems likely that, aside from next summer’s Man of Steel, audiences will not get to see any Justice Leaguers in their own solo films until after 2015’s big team up. So, these are the core concepts I feel Warner Bros. needs to nail if it wants to see Avengers-level success:

1. KEEP CAVILL!: Even from a painfully short teaser trailer, next Summer’s Man of Steel looks promising. Anyone who has seen 2011’s Immortals can vouch for Henry Cavill’s badassery. With a good script and some great directing, Man of Steel can finally bring Superman back to the forefront of comic book superheroes. If there is one distinct reason why The Avengers was so massive, it was because it successfully linked together several separate characters into one cohesive narrative; thus solidifying the concept of the “shared universe.” If Man of Steel wins big, it would be absolutely crazy to replace Henry Cavill with a different Superman. Man of Steel’s version of Supes may not have originally been intended to be included in a team-up of a larger scale, but it is a necessity to keep some continuity; unless of course Man of Steel ends up like Ang Lee’s Hulk.

2. Batman = Iron Man: One of the only minor complaints I heard from some viewers of The Avengers was that it felt too much like “Iron Man 3” instead of a true ensemble piece. Although I tend to disagree, I can very easily see why Marvel Studios would choose to give Tony Stark/Iron Man the most screen time. When looking down the list of box office numbers for each of the solo Marvel Studios films, Iron Man most definitely took home the gold. The original Iron Man out-grossed each of the films of his teammates, which, from a business standpoint, means that if you want the most possible casual filmgoers to see Avengers; you put him front and center (let’s face it, us comic book fans were a shoe-in since day one of production). This is how a Justice League movie needs to be approached. Superman may be the traditional “leader” of the Justice League, but Batman currently holds the largest fan base, much like the difference between Captain America and Iron Man. I’m willing to bet that if 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger out-grossed 2008’s Iron Man, we would’ve seen Chris Evans front and center on every piece of promotional material for Avengers instead of RDJ.

Now for all I know, Man of Steel might be a massive box office success; propelling Superman to “it” character of Hollywood. However, if it only turns out to be a moderate success, I think putting Batman at the center of the Justice League movie is the way to go. Also, from a story standpoint, I think it would make the most sense. Bruce Wayne/Batman is the only “normal human” of the group besides Green Arrow, and it’s a tricky choice of whether or not to even include him due to the Hawkeye similarities. Since Batman can feel pain in the same way we can, we can immediately identify with him easier than an alien from the planet Krypton or an Amazonian princess. Imagine this: Batman becomes aware of a threat he knows he can’t handle on his own. He knows he will need the help of people with “special” abilities. Therefore, he goes into a recruiting process, only to find out that Superman has already brought the team together and had his eye on Batman as his next recruitment. What better way to display the true power of Batman than the world’s most powerful super-beings wanting help from a mere mortal. After all, it’s not only Batman’s endless money or deadly fighting abilities that make him such a badass, it’s his genius intellect as a detective as well. If Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Flash need to figure out who is behind some massively evil plot, who better to recruit than the world’s best detective.

3. The Roster: Every comic book fan out there immediately recognized that there were several Avengers missing from The Avengers. The choice of the roster in Marvel’s superhero epic was not based on which character had previous solo films; Hawkeye and Black Widow did not. The choice, I believe, was based on how many characters could be squeezed into one film without breeching into overkill territory (a la Spider-man 3). So, here’s who I think should make the cut: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Flash. No Aquaman you ask? I think including a character that has been the butt of 99% of superhero-themed jokes in the franchises’ first outing is too big a risk. I think Flash could serve as the film’s wild card. Hulk definitely proved to be the wild card of Avengers, and I think the JL will need one as well. Besides, if the JL film warrants a sequel, there will be ample room for the inclusion of more characters (I’m thinking Green Arrow, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and possibly Cyborg). I think having five core characters will provide a enough room for each character to get their proper due, without short-changing any of them Hawkeye-style.

4. Choose the right villain!: Okay, where to start? If you choose Lex Luthor, audiences will say they’ve seen too much of him on the big screen. If you choose Darksied, audiences will say he’s too similar to Thanos. So, which direction do you go? In my opinion Lex Luther is the right choice; however, I’m not talking about the done-to-death Richard Donner/Bryan Singer version of Lex. I’m talking about the version of the character audiences have never seen on the big screen before (more akin to Smallville’s Lex). Now, what could get tricky is how this choice could affect or be affected by the events of Man of Steel. If Lex isn’t introduced yet in next summer’s potential blockbuster, introducing him into this universe for the first time in this manner could be a bit counterintuitive. So, here’s my logic: Lex will be the man behind the curtain; pulling the strings of several other villains that are the physical threats. This could make it possible to bring him back for a Man of Steel sequel, like Loki’s double appearances in Thor and Avengers only in reverse. As far as which villains to include, I’m thinking Mark Strong’s Sinestro (with or without Ryan Reynolds reprising the GL role), Brainiac, Deathstroke, Metallo, and Amazo.

5. Choose the Right Plot: Now I’m sure many CBM fans just read that villain roster and said, “What the f*ck?” “How can you fit so many villains into one film if Spider-man 3 couldn’t pull off fitting in three?” “Why not choose a villain from each hero’s rogue’s gallery?”

My logic goes something like this: Try to choose villains that are unique from one another, serve some functional purpose for the villainous mastermind (Lex), and can either have their origin skipped (if it’s fairly self-explanitory) or quickly explained (like Metallo). Obviously, Sinestro can suppress Green Lantern and already has his own back story from the Green Lantern film. Metallo is basically a kryptonite-infused robot (Lex’s Superman-repellant). Brainiac is both a physical and intellectual threat and is from Superman’s homeworld, which makes him an extremely useful ally. Deathstroke is the sneaky assassin who can be paid to fight for Lex. Amazo is the wildcard due to his ability to steal abilities. Try to think of them like chess pieces. So, how could Lex possibly get each villain to fight for him? Well, they each share a common enemy. Why not choose enemies for Wonder Woman and Flash? They’re not recognizable enough. Lex will go on thinking he’s in control of the whole plan to take down the JL until the end when he finds out that Brainiac was allowing it the entire time only to facilitate his own plan. Queue Justice League sequel. After all, who’s more of a criminal genius: Lex or Brainiac? The finale of the film should play out in a similar way to the opening CG cinematic from the DC Universe Online video game. If you have not seen this yet, I definitely recommend that you go on Youtube and check it out. If the filmmakers are going for a big spectacle action-epic akin to Avengers, then it is my opinion that the best way to top an epic alien-invasion battle is an all-out slugfest on an epic scale; heroes versus villains. There is nothing more satisfying at the end of a great superhero action film then a climatic final battle. Usually this final battle would take place between one protagonist and one antagonist; this would be a five-on-five war. The heroes don’t have to stick to fighting just one particular villain. They could switch up on-the-go. Imagine the match-ups.

6. Choose the right cast: Here is my rundown of casting choices for the film’s major players…

Superman: Henry Cavill
Batman: Michael Fassbender (I know this choice has been done to death all over the internet but there’s a reason for that)
Wonder Woman: Gina Carano
Green Lantern: Ryan Reynolds or Armie Hammer
Flash: Chris Pine

Lex Luthor: Bryan Cranston
Deathstroke: Jason Statham
Brainiac: Ben Kingsley
Metallo: Taylor Kitsch
Sinestro: Mark Strong
Amazo: David Bautista

Well, there it is; my take on how to create a Justice League film worth watching. I know this article is probably way too long, but I could write about this stuff forever; I mean, they’re making a friggin’ Justice League movie! What are your ideas? Let me know in the comments below!
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