After depositing an astounding 1.5 billion dollars into Mickey Mouse’s private bank account, we’ve almost reached a consensus amongst moviegoers that Marvel’s The Avengers is the standard on how to make “The Ultimate Superhero Team-up Movie.” While The Watchmen, The X-men, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen were a little ahead of their time when they landed onto our precious silver screens, The Avengers had the luxury of establishing each of their characters individually in their own solo pictures – thus allowing formal introductions to be over and done with before the movie’s very first frame. It’s safe to say The Avengers would have never experienced such a resonant worldwide success if moviegoers were wondering how Tony Stark built his shiny armor or how Thor grew such amazing biceps.
20th Century Fox realized how important back stories were, and went in reverse mode with their fragile piece of the Marvel Universe after X-Men: The Last Stand by sharing the origins of Wolverine, Professor Xavier and Magneto in following prequels. Which now brings us to our friends at Warner Bros. who must be having one too many sleepless nights wondering how they could possibly top The Avengers. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that “The WB” needs to catch up to Disney’s prized franchise and is already miles behind at this point in the race. The last scenario they want to live through is to see their first installment of The Justice League getting annihilated at the box-office in the same Summer as Marvel’s The Avengers 3: The Return of Loki.
Jon Favreau’s original Iron Man ended with the surprise after-credits appearance of Nick Fury, thus allowing Marvel to tell the audience they were making an Avengers movie in a few years and to stay tuned for further developments. “Please be sure to catch the next character flicks so that you don’t get confused when the ball drops on Times Square” was the message they sent us. We listened. But since we never got to witness Nick Fury’s DC counterpart appear in either Green Lantern nor The Dark Knight Rises, we’re all left with a tiny shred of hope that there will be some sort of hint about a DC Cinematic Universe being established in Man of Steel. As a self-professed DC Comics fan myself, I therefore present to you my humble summary of how I would like to see each of these iconic characters be approached and developed on the silver screen:
(Fair assumption before we start: The cast will clearly include Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and most likely The Flash and Green Lantern.)
Superman: Cavill. Perfect.
Batman: Bale. Pay him. Pay him lots.
Wonder Woman: Diana Prince has always been rumored to appear on the small screen for the longest time on NBC. Sadly for many of us, the small screen is the only place she’s ever belonged as far as adaptations go and that’s a real shame considering her stature within the DC Universe. However, I would be in support of a high-risk experiment that would develop a TV show that leads into the Justice League movie. Picture this: A whole season of character-establishing back-stories in the Amazon and in Washington only to leave you on a cliffhanger at the end of the season – fade to black and then the promise of a satisfying resolution coming soon within the Justice League movie. The problem aside from being an unprecedented experiment is that casting for TV tends to bring a different slate of candidates than casting for the big screen (Sorry, Tom Welling)… Would we really want to see Stephen Amell as the Green Arrow standing short in IMAX 3D next to Christian Bale and Henry Cavill? Let’s face it: it’s no simple feat to cast someone who works simultaneously well on both screens. I think Jennifer Garner would be a great Wonder Woman, regardless of her portrayal of Elektra, and she would be my pick to carry the lasso and fly the invisible jet. However, WB producers would need to take into account her arrangement with Ben Affleck as they take turns working on projects to take care of their family.
The Flash: Ryan Reynolds was originally attached to a David Goyer treatment that never came to fruition and moved on to become the Emerald Ring slinger a few years later. In my opinion, Ryan’s sense of humor would have made Flash a fan favorite, but there’s no way Ryan can play the speedster at this point in time as it would confuse casual moviegoers significantly. So here’s my pitch instead: Adam Brody plays the role of Barry Allen in a movie titled “The Fastest Man Alive”. We learn that he was born into the speed force and a lightning “accident” catalyzed his transformation into the Flash. Police scientist by day, he’s always been trying to crack the mystery of his mother’s murder, which we will later find out was a result of Reverse Flash trying to stop Barry Allen from being born in the first place, but couldn’t go back in time far enough to kill his mother. Barry begins to study the speed force with a University research team funded by the Wayne Foundation, later realizing the lead researcher is the great grandfather of Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash. In this twist filled adventure, viewers are greeted with the special effects and get to experience what the speed force might be like in 3D. The “Avengers-esque” after-credits scene could show Barry running to Gotham City to ask Lucius Fox what he knows about the speed force. I’m getting way over my head on this, but only because the Flash is one of my favorite characters!
The Green Lantern: Warner Bros. ended its disappointing Green Lantern movie with a premature, nay, completely awkward introduction of Sinestro and his shiny yellow ring. I’d say the best thing to fix this mess is to make a Green Lantern sequel (Yes… I actually just uttered the words “green”, “lantern”, and “sequel” back-to-back) and use it to introduce John Stewart to the DC Universe so he can effectively become the actual Green Lantern of the Justice League. Picture this, movie geeks: Sinestro kills Blake Lively (why thank you good Sir!), which drives Hal Jordan mad with the fear of losing all of his loved ones. Parallax (let’s say he infused himself in the battle with Hal Jordan) and Sinestro go on a killing spree and destroy the Corps, but the Guardians were able to deliver one last ring to John Stewart: Hal Jordan’s. Ultimately, Jordan’s willpower overcomes Parallax for a few moments in the final battle where he helps John Stewart defeat Sinestro (Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker/Emperor Palpatine redux?) and dies from his battle wounds. Stewart, who could only be played by the suave and deep-voiced Idris Elba, knows he won’t be able to defend the universe on his own without the rest of the corps and therefore decides to enlist in the Justice League so he can help defend sector 2514. This will most likely garner a lot of cheers from the fans as Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern will be successfully wiped off our collective subconscious and we can begin the process of rebuilding the Corps (symbolism of the Green Lantern movie franchise). Too violent, perhaps? It all depends on who directs it and more specifically how the death scenes are portrayed on the big screen.
Five iconic characters to properly “kickstart” the Justice League franchise seems like a spectacular launch to me. Those are all storylines that come directly from the comic books, but that have been effectively twisted in order to fit the silver screen. Whatever happens inside WB’s stress-induced executive boardrooms, let’s just hope that Man of Steel makes enough money worldwide to start building the kind of momentum we need to propel our beloved Justice League and ignite a questionably mature sense of glee within fanboys and fangirls alike. – The Silent Shark