Screen Spotlight: The Justice League Movie- How Would It Work?

Considering some of the announcements that have been made in the last day or so, I think that now would be a good time to have a look at what DC need to do if they want to ever get their biggest and best team onto the screen.

1. The Build Up

There are two ways DC could approach this, either go in hard and fast with it as a stand alone film, or do what Marvel did and have a slow build up. The Marvel Method has been proven and is proven to be very profitable, even for characters that before hand weren’t very high in the general publics perception (step forward Mr Stark). Now considering the profile of DC’s main stars this would be a sensible way to go, provided they don’t have another Green Lantern like flop. However, there is a question of where to start the build up. The ideal place would be with this years Man Of Steel, but with the Justice League pencilled in for a 2015 release date, that doesn’t give them a lot of time (we’ll come to that later. With a Batman reboot and/or the Worlds Finest movie also slated for 2015 (I’m not sure if the Batman reboot and Worlds Finest are the same thing yet), at least Batman is sorted before Justice League happens, but that still leaves the rest of the team. Unfortunately, Green Lantern is still too fresh to be given a reboot and because of the slating it got they aren’t likely to want to do a sequel, so that one is in deadlock for the time being.

2. Extend The Timeframe

They shouldn’t be trying to compete with The Avengers. Even if you use Man Of Steel as a starting point for the movie, Marvel still got there 5 years before you. So don’t rush it. It took Marvel 4 years of movies to bring Avengers to the screen, whilst DC want to do it in 2. It’s the Justice League we’re talking about here, people will come and see it anyway, just like people will go to see the Avengers anyway if they’re up against each other. Take some time and make people care about the characters before throwing them into the big movie.

3. Characters Are Critical

Obviously Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are in, but the rest of the team has to be thought out very well. The Justice League is easier than the Avengers in this respect, because DC do have a definitive team, everyone will expect Green Lantern and Flash. It’s just deciding which GL or Flash. Hal Jordan or John Stewart, Barry Allen or Wally West. Beyond that, do you include Aquaman or Martian Manhunter, considering how maligned the former is by the general populace and how under appreciated the later is. And then there is the question of the villain. Obviously Darkseid would be the obvious choice, but Marvel have pre-emtied that by showing Thanos’ big, ugly mug at the end of Avengers. Still there are plenty of villains to choose from, just so long as they get the story right.

4. Get the right staff

With this sort of movie you can’t afford it to go wrong. If we look at the major superhero successes in the movies we can see a pattern emerging. Those involved loved the comics. Raimi, Singer, Nolan, Whedon. All comic book nerds. The best way to ruin a superhero movie is to have no-one in one of the big three roles (writer, producer, director) who isn’t invested in not just the movie, but the ethos of the character. The casting has to be right as well. Cavill and Bale did pretty good jobs with the big two and with Bale signed out of doing any more Batman, they’ll have to find a pretty good replacement. The same goes for the rest of the characters.

5. Tell us a story

Justice League will be like The Avengers, a movie about a group of people coming together to become stronger than they could be alone, that is the essence of a super team. But, it’s the story of them realising this that will get the audience interested. The movie (and any build-up movies) should focus on the human element behind the heroes. And they shouldn’t make it a Batman and some other guys movie. The guy might be the goddamn Batman but it can’t all be about him in the same way that Avengers wasn’t the Robert Downey Jr. show. One character can be the main focus, but the others need to be involved enough that it doesn’t feel like a solo movie with a famous supporting cast.

6 Responses to Screen Spotlight: The Justice League Movie- How Would It Work?

  1. I’m guessing this was written before the comiccon announcements

    So much for DC saying “well Marvel will do their thing, we’ll do ours” and go straight to Justice League.

    So we’ve got Man of Steel 2 aka Worlds Finest aka Superman / Batman for 2015, so this goes toe to toe with Avengers 2 instead of Justice League.

    Then we’ve got Flash in 2016, and Justice League in 2017.

    This makes much more sense, in giving Justice League less to do. All they have to introduce now (if the reported 5 member line-up is to be beleived) is Wonder Woman and Green Lantern – and even he’s already got some familiarity due to his movie.

    Which yeah, I know Green Lantern sucked – but I think it’s just easier from a story perspective to keep the events as a loose canon (though perhaps recon them to happen after the evens of Man of Steel – the whole superman being the first hero thing fits.)

    With Superman/Batman, I had already thought that they’d have a Bruce Wayne cameo in MoS2 (as one of the investors helping to rebuild Metropolis, as well as Lex Luthor). I think they should also have Superman/Batman set a year after the end of Man of Steel – Metropolis is already partly rebuilt, Clark is settled in at the Planet, Superman already has build a reputation, as well as the Batman establishing himself as an urban legend.

    I’d actually use the plot of the Smallville comic – Joe Chill has moved to Metropolis, so Batman wants to have his whole “this is the face of the child who’s parents you murdered”

    Now if we speculate about Flash – I’d use the Rogues. It’s not like the sinister six, where you have 6 major villains to introduce, the Rogues are just guys with tech guns and such. Yeah, you could always go with Reverse Flash, but then you throw in time travel and all that mythos at the average movie goer.

    …so yeah, just some thoughts

  2. Yeah, prescheduled posting can be a bit of a problem when you aren’t aware of any future announcements that could happen before the posting time. Still, most of the points still stand, just point 2 is a bit pointless now.

  3. William A. Peterson

    Don’t get me wrong… I like DC, and their characters! In fact, I kind of wish they were still around!
    But, with Flashpoint/The New 52, and “Man of Steel”, there IS no resemblance, any more, between the characters I liked reading (not so very long ago!), and what we’ve got, today…
    Superman in the comics is a “Super Pervert”, listening in on a woman’s conversation with her lover, because he was thinking (for 5 years!) of asking her out on a date. The new Movie version is worse, with Superman and Zod doing more damage than Al Quaeda has since it’s first bombing, and Superman then proving his moral superiority by killing Zod in cold blood. (Yes, Zod was threatening people… Come on, folks, you KNOW earlier versions of Supes would have found a way around that!)
    So, with DC rebooting it’s movie characters almost as fast as they’re “re-imagining” their own comics, what makes you think that the characters will remain stable until 2017, or even 2015?
    I don’t see them managing to make anything good of this…
    If I were going to try, I’d go back to the old “Batman: The Animated Series” for my inspiration and base continuity, and toss anyone and anything that kept the new JLA from at least matching that level of quality!

  4. ? I hope they figure out a plan that is neither, surprise everyone, and knock our sox off. There is enough talent, there are enough good writers out there to dash off a script and pull that off.

  5. NateThePrate

    I think somebody’s got the Jimmies Rustled…

  6. well to be fair to Man of Steel Supes… it was his first day on the job

    I’m sure the thought of “taking the fight elsewhere so as to avoid civilian casualty and property damage” got overpowered with the thought of “I’m gonna punch that guy”