Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fan-Casting DC's JUSTICE LEAGUE: Introduction

Reposted from my other blog, Why I Cry.

Last month, at Comic Con International: San Diego, Warner Bros. announced it was developing a sequel to the Superman film, Man of Steel, that will costar Batman.  A Superman/Batman crossover is coming to theaters.  Millions of moviegoers and fanboys have clamored for such an onscreen team up.

"Feel that burning in your quads? Good, now hold it for ten seconds."

I myself have longed to see Warner Bros. put these legendary icons in a movie together, as I believe it is the perfect springboard for the larger cast of DC Universe heroes that will eventually lead to a Justice League movie.  I should have been ecstatic at the news.

Yeah, well, the announcement bummed the hell out of me.

It appears that the upcoming Superman/Batman film will take place in the same movie-verse as Man of Steel, will be directed by Man of Steel's director Zach Snyder and written by Man of Steel's screenwriter David Goyer.

I hated Man of Steel.

I've seen bad movies, I've seen bad superhero movies, I've seen bad Superman movies, and I've seen a movie called Barn of the Naked Dead, of which the term "snuff film" is too generous a description.  But I haven't hated a movie like Man of Steel since George Lucas put the postscript on his Star Wars butchery with Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men from Mars.

This isn't going to be a review of that bad parody of a Superman movie, though.  If you saw the movie, I trust you had some if not all of the same problems I had with it (everything set on Krypton, Clark's dad being a metaphor for homophobia, all of the "disaster porn" in the last hour).  And if you liked Man of Steel, well, sorry, but now I hate you.

Instead, this will be a flight of fancy.  Because I'm a fanboy, I have my own vision for how the Justice League movies should play out, and who should play the characters.  And in accordance with Fanboy Law, I must share this vision with everyone in a blog or podcast full of righteous entitlement.

Too Big for One Movie

Ensemble films are hard to pull off.  Bringing half a dozen unique characters, each with specialized superpowers, each with personalized origins and backstories, each potentially capable of carrying his or her own film, well, that could be downright terrifying.  It took Marvel Studios five years to lay the foundation for The Avengers.  Five years--five movies to introduce audiences to Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America before Joss Whedon could throw them together and make history.

Also, the cast should include as many people
from TV's Supernatural as possible.
That seems to be the formula most fans expect to see from the DC Cinematic Universe.  The alternative is making one Justice League movie that introduces viewers to BatmanSupermanWonder WomanGreen Lantern, and the Flash, then lets the characters play off each other, then introduce a villain worthy of their combined power, then have them defeat the villain, all while showcasing each of their powers in visually dynamic ways.  That movie could only end in epic failure to connect with audiences on an emotional or character level.  The Marvel Studios method seems the smarter way to go.

But that means waiting three or four years to establish the different heroes before pulling them together for the crossover.  Isn't there another, quicker option?


Pretty much every major studio franchise film is optioned for multiple sequels before the first one even comes out, and stars are expected to sign multi-film contracts to stay with the series.  With that in mind, to do my Justice League movie, um, justice.  To do it right, to treat the story and the characters faithfully, I would ask Warner Bros. and DC Comics to invest in a three picture series.  Not one movie and two sequels, but one long origin story told over three movies--The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, in essence.

Like this except we give the elves super-speed and the giant eagles are whales!

That way, instead of telling the story of the Justice League's first adventure over two-and-a-half hours, we would have eight or nine hours to do it.  Eight or nine hours: that sounds about right.  That feels worthy of the world's greatest superheroes.

In Order of Appearance

I haven't written these movies, because, y'know, no one has paid me to, and I've got other things to do. But I do have a general outline for the story and an idea of which supporting characters and villains will be needed and where.

So, as I post my cast, I will sprinkle lightly the basic plot points and thematic beats of the Justice League Trilogy.  To keep readers in suspense, I will update a handful of actors at a time, in what I roughly imagine would be chronological order based on when they appear.

I hope you enjoy.

Get ready to hate my selections!

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