Should Warners Give Up On A Justice League Movie?


Should Warners Give Up On A iJustice League/i Movie? 

At least one attempt by Warner Bros. to bring DC Comics’ Justice League to the big screen has fallen apart, and the rumored addition of Ben Affleck to the project has ended up being denied by his people. Is it time to admit defeat on the idea of a JL movie?

It’s not just that the project’s past history – Remember George Miller’s plans to have Common as Green Lantern and Adam Brody as the Flash? – has either illustrated the pitfalls of a project with quite so many moving parts or proven that the very idea of a Justice League movie is apparently cursed; the incredible success of Marvel’s The Avengers has set the bar for this kind of superhero team movie so high in terms of both box office and, simply, quality of execution, that the idea of making a JL movie that isn’t as good as Whedon’s effort – or doesn’t do as well financially, and let’s be honest, how likely is that? – opens Warners up to all kinds of accusations of copycat behavior or trying to steal Marvel’s thunder, neither or which the studio would want.

And, let’s face it; DC is already having trouble with its movies. Yes, Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy did wonderfully and was well-loved, but Green Lantern has already turned into one of those films about which we at best smile politely and try to change the subject whenever it’s mentioned, and we have no idea whether or not Zack Snyder will be able to pull off a Superman movie that will make a whole new generation believe a man could fly. It’d be nice to see DC Entertainment prove that it could successfully walk when it comes to making superhero movies in this day and age, before it tries to run… or fly, or use its power ring to get to whatever it’s going, and so on.

So, should Warners just drop the idea of a Justice League movie altogether? Well… yes and no. I’d argue that making a movie called Justice League in the current climate would be a bad idea, to be brutally honest. It’s so loaded a title (and so corny a title, too, let’s be honest); it invites comparisons to Avengers, and raises expectations and speculation to a truly uncomfortable level just by its very existence – See the furore that surrounded the Ben Affleck story earlier this week – making it an astonishingly visible project at such an early stage. When you consider the importance of the movie to the studio as a franchise and tentpole of the entire DC Entertainment line, it seems too much like asking for trouble, to be honest, to announce that a Justice League movie is on its way.

Instead, I’d want to see Warner Bros. be smart, and sneak a Justice League movie into production. Instead of making an official JL movie, for example, imagine the studio manages to resuscitate the Green Lantern franchise and makes a Green Lantern 2 that expands the Sinestro-as-villain storyline, and sets up a third movie based on the Sinestro Corps War storyline from the comics… And then, the third movie centers around a bunch of aliens invading Earth… and just happens to introduce a group of new characters appearing with spectacular powers to fight them. You don’t have to call them the Justice League, or even have them deciding to team up on an ongoing basis; merely introduce your future Leaguers in the background, show them working together as a team, and essentially make a stealth JL movie to see how the audience reacts.

(If the aliens invading thing is to close to the Avengers movie, then have the third movie skip directly to the Blackest Night storyline as the worldwide disaster that brings the other heroes out of hiding; there hasn’t been a superhero zombie movie yet, right?)

The central idea of bringing the Justice League to the big screen isn’t a bad one – I just worry that trying to do so in a movie called Justice League is proving to be so troublesome that just deciding to try it from another direction might really be the way to go.

  • Only the Avengers movie, featuring 4 Marvel characters from 4 individual films, were able to beat Batman at the box office. 4 Marvel characters. Count them. 1 Batman. DC characters are iconic and when treated right are just as relevant, if not more so, than Marvel characters.

  • No one`s forcing you to buy the damn comics.

  • they may even first make a superman baman and flash/green lantern team up film then make a justice league film, so let see how audience react to that and since justice league is a very big 7 member team compare to avengers 4-5 core members. i dont think it would be possible to cover al of them in one jl film. how abt making a batman reboot introduce new batman in the superman batman film provided superman man of steel prove successful it just like comics that superman heard of bat creature in gotham and he would think that he may found a meta human like him 🙂

  • given how warners is trying to make the film to get the avengers box office gold of their own and has proven other then superman and batman they really do not know how to do dc characters in ohter media right warners should wait till they can figure out how to do jl so it does not fail like the way marvel did with avengers.  take time plus the fact to get a jl movie done right means warners has to let batman and super man team up on big screen and warners hate that idea due to the thinking it would dilute the franchises. warners needs to take time and do jl right or not at all

  • This is why Cory is not in the film industry. He has shit ideas, and frankly, no talent outside of telling us all how he is so much more talented and knowledgeable than everyone else.

  • dc need to get some one like kevin feige to get the ball rolling i mean people at warners had no idea abt green lantern in one design of sinestro in GL film they draw him wit a armored crown like thing to show his warrior side it was mark strong who insisted on staying true to comic book design sigh

  • It’s a shame Nolan wrapped up his Batman in such a tidy bow, I could see Balebats as the lynchpin of a Justice League franchise, like Iron Man is for the Avengers.  It would give the League automatic credibility.  But, that ship has sailed, apparently…

  • This writer suffers from the same issues DC suffers from. Insecurity!

    As a marvel guy I’m not ashamed to admit that the Justice League was way more recognizable a name than the avengers. Flash, Aquaman, wonder woman, batman, and super man were far more recognizable names in the minds of the non comic book public than any marvel characters with the exception of spiderman and hulk. The DC characters were recognizable by multiple generations due to decades of tv like spidey and the hulk.

    The reason I say insecurity is DCs backtracking on what it seems as corny. Captain America would never have made it to screen under DC, they would struggle to think a guy wrapped in American patriotism and nationalism would be accepted world wide, but it exceeded expectations over seas.

    Superman is a character with ultimate red state appeal. Truth, liberty, justice, the American way with all the apple pie you can eat, but DC got scared of what made superman so special. Immediately there was controversy before returns hit the theaters, Warner brothers dismisses the American way line and it makes news in drudge, superman was the true captain America to many people. They even give him a son out of wedlock, redestate super hero knocks up Lois and becomes a dead beat dad for five unexplained years.

    The reason these are important is marvel saw no need to update captain America, they found something that everyone could relate to the Steve Rogers and despite ideals that do not match today he’s a man with struggles we can relate too, no need to change his patriotism or ideals. Superman too can have the ideals of a small town Kansas Methodist and still be relatable, but the issue isn’t the values that may be different the issue is Warner brothers and dc get wrapped up in these details and not the story and not the struggles of the man. Superman was unrecognizable to a lot of people in that movie Warner brothers got so busy making a superman that wouldn’t offend the world they butchered the story

  •  Each of those movies however gained overall positive reviews.

  • The point of what I wrote wasn’t to say DLC should appeal to red staters the point is, I think DC gets too concerned with perception and how something will be received over seas

  • Ben Affleck, isn’t the problem.  If Marvel had given up – no Avengers movie.  Period.  Making a movie ANY movie is a gamble.  If DC is already second guessing itself, then it’s best to get of the game.

  • Frankly, DC/Warner needs to get some decent movies out of the gate with these characters first. Yes, Batman was awesome, but that’s it. GL was a bit of a disaster, and we have yet to see Flash or Wonder Woman or even fricking Red Tornado (I would go see the movie, but I’m probably the only one) 

    Hell, with DC’s current fixation on Cyborg (I’ll never understand that) I could see a great movie, with lots of great drama, of a young man who wakes up with gaudy cybernetic body parts to keep him alive. 

    But, no, nothing. Set up a sub unit dedicated to getting the DC Entertainment character out the gate and great, and maybe then you’ll get something you could turn into a Justice League movie. 

  • How is Justice League a corny name, but Captain America isn’t?  If you’re embarrassed by the name “Justice League” then maybe superhero movies (and comics) just aren’t for you.

  •  Oh, sweet baby Jesus.

  • No they shouldn’t give up. Yes there will be people who compare the movies similarities but why should that stop anyone? Besides it’s not like aliens are the only villian they can come up with.

  • no

  • Gina Carano is a terrible  actress. Here acting is like a piece wood.

  • Seriously?  This load of crap is all you can come up with?  This is a defeatist and shitty article.  Granted a misstep for CBR but really?

  • i rather see them pull off a good superhero movie outside of Batman first.

  • I think you may be confusing your opinion with facts here, dude. Iron Man 2 made $600 million and has a 74% score on RottenTomatoes. Compare that to Green Lantern’s $200 million and 27% score. Whether or not you liked it that much is kind of irrelevant.

  • Have Christopher Nolan write and direct the new JLA film.  Bale said he would do another film if Nolan was on-board.  Go with what works!

  • DC should introduce the new Batman and the justice league in the sequels to the Superman films. They can do what Marvel did, who cares if people say DC copied Marvel.

  • WB is better off scouring the world for the next Harry Potter.

  • I think a better stealth JL movie would be that the sequel to “Man of Steel”, turns out to be a Batman teamup

  • The fact that making a JL movie would be difficult goes without saying and it would take more than just following the same formula that Marvel did in bringing the Avengers to the screen. Here’s a few obversations from another grumpy old fan that should be considered:1. Get rid of the tone of self-importance. DC has a bad habit of trying to instill a sense of reverence in their superhero movies that shouldn’t be there. Marvel pulled this off by making their characters approachable. Giving them or those around them a sense of humor and keeping the overall tone light. DC has done the exact opposite in their films. Ever since Richard Donner made the first Superman film, we’ve been told that these characters require some form of honor from the movie-going public. Even the Nolan films did this to a certain degree. If the story and the challenge the characters face is great enough, the fans will honor them in their own right. After finally seeing a trailer of Man of Steel, I’m afraid we may be headed down the same path with this film as well. I hope I’m wrong. I’d like to see Man of Steel become the first in a series of films for DC Entertainment that treats the characters with respect but not because of the near eighty years behind the character but because of what he does in the two and a half hours on-screen.

    2. Planning, planning, planning. To make this all work, there has to be a plan. Marvel may have found success with the first Iron Man, but they already had a sequel in the works and the inclusion of Nick Fury at the end showed they weren’t going to sit around and wait to see how well this film did before moving forward. For DC, they have to be willing to do the same. Actually, not DC, but Warners. They have to be willing to make the committment. If The Avengers has taught us anything, its that having a studio who willing to make a long-term committment will, in the end, pay off big time. Warners has go to follow suit even if it means taking their knock at the box office on one or two films. Some of the characters of the JL just aren’t suitable to carry an entire solo film on their own. I know that may be heresy to say that but it’s true. Obviously, Superman, Batman, even Wonder Woman could do so. But that may not be the case with The Hawks or The Atom. Second teir characters like the Flash and Green Lantern are a crap shoot. If done right, most fans would welcome them with open arms, but if not (as in the case of GL) you wind up with utter failure. But either way, DC Entertainment (notice I’m not saying Warners) has got to decide who should be in the JL and then how they can make solo films to lead up to that if they decide to go the Marvel route.

    3. DC Entertainment has got to be given cart blanche on their films. Studio execs would be best served if they kept away from the production and just sign the checks. Get someone who can guide these stories into a tapestry that will culminate in the JL film. I favor Bruce Timm for the job because he’s done such a great job with the animated adventures. Either way though, it’s got to be someone who has the cahonies to tell the studios to butt out. I still believe this is what led to the failure of Green Lantern. Again, it will pay off in the end.

    4. Get the right talent for the job. One of the things Marvel has done right is they got the right people to direct, write, and star in their films and bring an identity to them on their own. It doesn’t require a Geoff Johns or an Alan Moore to write a film for it to be a success, but at least give it to someone who understands the characters and can bring something new to the table with them. One of the reasons I’m happy to see Zach Snyder on Superman. And also, you don’t need to have A-list stars playing these characters either. Marvel didn’t and they turned out good. They took actors who were either unknown or somewhat known and surrounded them with great talent instead. Look at Thor or Captain America for a good example of this.

    5. And finally, create a universe where heroes exist. Don’t go for real-world settings. Metropolis is not New York City and Gotham City is not Chicago. Too many times we’ve seen this attempted and it’s just led to problems. And also, make this world one where heroes are known to each other or at least to the fans. I’m reminded of Frank Millers’ line from Year One where Afred Pennyworth says “Next you’ll take up flying like that fellow in Metropolis.” That’s all it will take, not a cross-over per se, just a mention, a name drop, something to ackknowledge that there are other heroes out there doing the same thing. Even Marvel didn’t do this, although they were sly about how they were able to do it anyway (Cap’s shield in Tony Stark’s lab, the android Human Torch at the Stark Expo in Captain America, and of course, the mention of the Super-soldier project in The Incredible Hulk as well as all the weapondry from Stark Industries in the same film are all good examples). You don’t need a Nick Fury / SHIELD character running around each film, but if you decide to go that route, my vote would be for it to be J’onn J’onzz who would show up at some point in each solo film warning of a coming danger or something along those lines. Let him be the character that draws them all together.

    Those are just some ideas that I think would go a long way toward getting a JL franchise off the ground. By my reconing, if you use Man of Steel as a starting point, introduce a solo character film six months later or so after that, culminating with a reboot of Batman, you could have a JL film in theatres no later than 2017. And that would be pushing it at best.

    Any thoughts?

  • The first thing that needs to happen is DC/Warner Bros needs to realize their Justice League movie will be mercilessly compared to The Avengers from now until the end of time. And that their JL film will never ever EVER be as popular with the critics, the fans, and financially as successful as The Avengers. If they had pulled their heads out of their asses 5 years ago, it could’ve been The Avengers being compared time and again to that ultra super mega blockbuster Justice League Of America. But it is not meant to be.

  • There are a few things with this JLA film that could easily work. The first problem though is introducing everyone. They all need a new film, mainly because a few films like Green Lantern were really not that good and it all has to fit story wise and link up, otherwise whats the point of getting them together? Also you would want the same actors playing the cast and as Bale wont play Batman again…its important they remake it (but last). This though i reckon is vital…the rumour is that its coming out in 2015….i seriously hope not as that would ruin it. 

    After Superman and Aquaman are done…(as i think there is a trailer for Aquaman?) Re-make Lantern, make Flash, then Wonder Woman (that HAS to be cast well) and then do Batman last and as long as that Batman works in the style of the others, there is no problem. 

    Also ill just make a few points for people to consider: 

    1. Those of you worried that Superman is to powerful, fear not…they have actually dumbed his powers down for his new movie…just not sure how much. Also apart from Lex Luthor…he fights some seriously powerful enemies that a lot of the time he cant fight entirely alone. His enemies usually pound him into the floor and he doesnt usually beat a lot of them without outside help somewhere.

    2. Some people mentioned Batman and Superman not fitting into the same world….thats kind of the point, they are pretty much opposite in a lot of ways, which is a perfect way to cause some tension/drama. For example, Superman is the ‘boy scout’ and cant hurt Lex….Batman however wouldnt mind bending the rules and giving Lex a beating if need be…which would cause tension between the two…Wonder Woman has abit of a temper to and she can hurt Superman so thats another possible one. Also the JL was full of people who were all very, very different anyway….thats why you need the individual movies. 

    3. If they manage to get a great bad guy…(thats actually something Avengers didnt do in my opinion) then imagine the action scenes. Imagine if Imperiex was the villain! He was an interesting one in my opinion and also has a great reason for a group of heroes to get together, as thats what happened in that series…they even got Doomsday in to help in that one! I could probably see it being Darkseid though, but i think Imperiex is a larger catalyst for the JLA to form, as he destroys galaxies in one go. I have no idea, but it would put them a step ahead if they got a Villain that was explained and actually feared. I mean Loki was shit, the Hulk could of ended that film in one scene it turned out in the end. If they get that right, thats a massive thing. 

    4. Christopher Nolan is essentially worshipped by WB now, they asked him to be the ‘Godfather’ of the DC films….although he has said his involvement with Superman is minimal…he is a smart guy and i would hope that WB and DC can persuade Goya and Jonathan Nolan to write more of the films, there shouldnt be as much cheese as their was in most of the Marvel stuff…hopefully slightly more ‘adult’. However Nolan wont be doing that much, at the very least he could keep it on the right track. 

    Im just throwing ideas around in my head, we will know more when Superman comes out i imagine! It just seems that they have a chance to improve on what Marvel did and i hope they use that advantage and do it well. 

  • I agree with nearly all of what you say, although i like the idea of places being set in real world citys. I just made a comment above (MetalArtois) kind of supports what you say. 

  • Worried about accusations of stealing Marvel’s thunder?  DC/Warner’s don’t give a damn about that! Didnt they hire Bryan Singer after ‘X-Men’ and Ryan wuts-his-face after staring as Deadpool?

    And not calling it ‘Justice League’?  For what reason again?

    I’m pretty sure Warner isnt going to go by what this author would like to see happen, and thank god for that.

  • Okay, DC Entertainment, here’s the plan –

    1. WORLD’S FINEST – Superman/Batman. Together. In one movie. It obviates the need to reboot Batman in a separate film. And they don’t fight a “world-shaking threat”, they’re just the only two guys (that we know about) that can handle the threat the film is about. And for THAT, I would use time travel OR parallel universe(s). Supes and Bats fighting evil versions of themselves? WANT!
    The kicker at the end of the film introduces Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman does not get her own film. That train has sailed. *Note – my main complaint with Avengers was a dearth of Easter eggs. DC has a major advantage over Marvel in this case, in that they own the rights to all of their characters. So you pack this one with as many references to as many places in the DC Universe as you can. Ivy Town, Star City, Coast City, not just Metropolis and Gotham. Show AND Tell that this is not our world; it’s similar to our world but here, there’s a guy in Central City who fights crime by running real fast, whom everyone loves and look, here’s footage on the news of a frozen bank vault but don’t worry, folks, the Flash took care of it. (The Flash movie was also on that train that sailed. Sorry, fanboys, suck it up.) 

    2. The JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA – NOW we bring in the “world-shaking threat”, WHICH IS NOT DARKSEID. It’s Starro the Conqueror. (And yes, he’s a giant starfish from outer space. Why do you ask? Ever read Lovecraft? Those things are pants-shittingly terrifying.) Mind Kontrol, on a global scale. The three of them will never be able to handle it themselves – they’ll need help. AND JUST LIKE THAT, they get it. From J’Onn J’Onzz, who assembles Flash, John Stewart and Aquaman to help combat the threat. How and why – JJ’s been hiding on Earth ever since he was “kidnapped” by kindly-but-insane Dr. Erdel, whose use of matter transportation tech drew Starro to Earth in the first place. So he feels responsible and HE unites the team, with the trinity, to make the whole. Again, more Easter eggs than you can shake a stick at – Midway City (home of Hawkman), billionaire industrialist Ollie Queen is asked for comment etc, etc. Obviously, they beat Starro and decide to stay together. Ends with the construction of either the satellite or the Watchtower. (This is a different world, remember? A moonbase would appeal to citizens of DC Earth. They would think it perfectly normal.)

    3. NOW is the time for the solo films. Reboot GL, with John Stewart. MAYBE Flash and Wondy. Always allude to the fact that there are heroes and no one finds this particularly worrying or strange – they’re just there, they’re like American Idol contestants or celebrities. Fleeting intros to B- and C- list heroes like Firestorm, Red Tornado, Black Canary. Make it seem like we got so many heroes, they’re like Pokemons. Try to spot every reference, fanboys. *Note – for God’s sake, make the references organic to the story and not just “LOOK! That gang member is Vibe!”

    4. JUSTICE LEAGUE 2 (Electric Boogaloo – the League fights to save the community centre) – see, the thing about The JLA is that they have a murderer’s row of villains (no pun intended). Prof. Ivo, the Lord of Time, The Key, numerous alien races (Appellaxians, etc), hell even Kanjar Ro or the Crime Syndicate. Pick one and go to town. *Note – I SAID ONE. An important rule of screenwriting that is always forgotten in superhero movies is “Never water down the bad guy by having more than one bad guy.”

    Do this. Then relax on a pile of money.

    Of course, this is the company that made Catwoman, Superman Returns and JONAH HEX (JONAH HEX DOES NOT TALK TO DEAD PEOPLE. HE CREATES DEAD PEOPLE. “His two constant companions, DDeath and the acrid smell of gunsmoke.) So we’ll probably either a) never see any movies from them, as they are pathologically afraid to commit or b) see a TERRIBLE movie because that’s what they’re good at – failing spectacularly.

    We didn’t need to know anything other than “A long time ago in a galaxy far,far away” to enjoy the first Star Wars movie. It wasn’t until it got ret-conned into being Episode freaking 4 that all our troubles began. Plus, aren’t we ALL geeks now? We’ve had 20+ years of superhero films (of *ahem* varying quality) so the audience will get it. Civilians will look to us fanboys (and girls) to explain “Hey, who’s THAT guy?” and we’ll all get laid, in the immortal words of Rodney Dangerfield.

    PS – Nolan’s films actually weren’t about Batman, did you know that? They were about James Bond in a leather dress. And they were terrible, all of them, a fundamental misunderstanding of the character, the genre, the source material and about eight other things. Like dialogue, dramatic tension etc, etc.

  • Graeme, just because everyone else is trashing your article and/or building detailed fantasy movie “roadmaps,” I’ll post to say YES.

    They should give up on a Justice League movie.

    The best reason being that the whole Iron Man – Thor – Captain America – ta daaa The Avengers movie deathmarch was very possibly the most ruthlessly cynical, artificial, bottom-line ROI-driven exercise in all cinematic history. There was not one spark of genuine creative inspiration in that entire training course for Good Consumer Behavior.

    The only way I can think of to seem even more heartlessly contemptuous of source material as well as audience, and more soulless and creatively bankrupt, would be to intentionally COPY the whole gimmick step by step. Marvel, at least, demonstrated some measure of cynical cunning in putting together their clockwork schlockfest, tasteless as it may have been. For DC to imitate the process would be like a student who copies test answers from a friend who stole them out of the teacher’s desk; the friend is dishonest and lazy but at least demonstrated cleverness, wheres the other student is dishonest, lazy AND incapable of original thinking.

  • “dc need to get some one like kevin feige to get the ball rolling”
    Dini and Timm. Those two are easily the best candidates.

  • Superfriends the Movie!

  • I’ll add my vote to the one – and I can’t believe it’s only been one – person to say that they should take the universe they built in the Smallville TV show and grow that into a Justice League franchise.


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