Hey, all! I’m Zak, and I’ve been writing some reviews for the site, from Django Unchained to Identity Thief, and you may also know me as “The Handsome One” from our Gamer’s Galaxy and Galaxy View podcasts. For the time being, I’m also tackling all the movie and television news, rumors, review, interviews, and other assorted articles, so I’m sure we’ll have tons of fun together. None of that fun, however, will be in eager anticipation of Warner Brothers’ Justice League, which has been, and ever shall be, marred in development hell.
By this point, the long-awaited (keep waiting!) film version of The Justice League of America is a lot like believing in religion; against all reason, against all logic, against all semblance of realism, people cling to the possibility just because some guy said it’s coming. Sorry kids, Jesus isn’t coming down to judge the quick and the dead, and The Justice League isn’t hitting in 2015, if ever.
Of course, it’s not the fans’ fault; who can blame them for wanting to see Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman team up to take down Great White Shark (overkill much?)? These fans go every week, like loyal Catholics, Muslims, and Jews, to the comic-book store, their church, mosque, or temple, and read up on the adventures of their favorite team. Hell, a huge comic-book fan could probably spend a hundred bucks a week on all the comics they are dedicated to, and they, more than anyone, way more than me, at least, deserve a Justice League movie. They’re the crazies (I mean that as a compliment) who go to the message boards and analyze every press release, read the leaked scripts, and wait on line for days to buy tickets to a movie that isn’t even due to release for months. No, it’s not the fault of the fans; the blame for the pending implosion of this film rests in whichever executive uttered the words, “Summer 2015” to the press.
There’s no director, there’s no cast, and the most recent script has been scrapped. Zack Snyder is not onboard, and Christopher Nolan is not onboard. I think the only person willing to play Batman at this point is Adam West. On that note, how awesome would it be if Adam West starred in a live-action version of The Dark Knight Returns? Forget about this Justice League jive-talk, let’s get Adam West back on the big screen!
Now, where was I? Oh, right- first they had a script, but could not secure a director; the rumors said that everyone from Ben Affleck to the Wachowski Siblings had been courted for the duty, but they all passed. Eventually, WB concluded that the problem was with the script, by Gangster Squad screenwriter Will Beall, and it was promptly shredded. Square one, anybody?
The latest in the pitifully long string of rumors, as prophesied by our own Mark Bridge in a recent edition of out Galaxy View podcast, is that Christopher Nolan is stepping in to save the day, like Chuck Norris in The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny. This story was released by Latino Review, and that site does have a reputation of getting it right more often than not, but that in no way makes this story a fact. The deluge of rumors makes this sound like just another of those too-good-to-be-true stories meant to keep the prospect of the film alive rather than actual reporting.
Buzzkill. Killjoy. Marvel Fanboy. I’m sure that’s what some of you are thinking about my story thus far. WB made their bold Summer 2015 announcement in hopes that the ensuing swirling of rumors would keep interest alive and get filmmakers excited to be part of The Justice League, while having no real plan on how to get their act together and actually make the movie. Instead, they’ve worn us out; the internet has thrown a thousand names into the blogoshpere, and none of them have sticked. The true fans, who have been following this film since George Miller’s day are always going to have hope, but all I’ve got is a burning cynicism, so strong that I don’t even care anymore, so strong that it’s affecting my excitement for Man of Steel.
Superman is strong. He’s like… Really strong. He’s also invincible. Christopher Nolan’s universe is realistic, right? He wants everything to be real and plausible, right? Therefore, Superman is even more invincible in Nolan’s world than in Comic Book Land. You wanna know how The Justice League is going to play out? This Penny Arcade comic is way ahead of you.
In the Dark Knight Returns, Batman beats up Superman with a powered suit and Kryptonite, after Superman takes a nuclear blast to the face. Somewhat implausible in Nolan’s world, where Batman needed multiple chances to put a dent in Bane’s armor. Superman, however, as an invincible space alien who stands for Truth, Justice, and The American Way, has no such limitations. Zack Snyder’s film is an introduction to a new Superman, who is not held back by human limitations like Batman, or the technological limitations of the classic Richard Donner films of the 70’s.
“But Zak,” you say, “We want OUR version of The Avengers!” That’ cute and admirable, but it doesn’t work that way, little half-pint. There’s a lot more to the Avengers than throwing a bunch of superheroes at a bad guy and then counting dollars, but that’s exactly what WB wants to do. Let’s check out this article from Cinema Blend, a lovely website I get my news from all the time.
Basically, the argument the author makes is that Christian Bale, as Batman, “ABSOLUTELY NEEDS TO BE IN MAN OF STEEL.” Why? Apparently, so that it can be just like Iron Man. Iron Man is strong, but he is far from invincible. It makes sense for him to need help from a central organization, SHIELD, and buddies like The Hulk, Thor, and a strong leader, Captain America, among the others. Superman flies faster than Iron Man, he’s stronger than The Hulk and Thor put together, he can shoot lasers out of his eyes with twice the precision of Hawkeye’s arrows, and his immigrant story makes his spirit as American as Cap himself. Basically, Superman does not need to be a team player.
I’m going to start my own rumor right now. I heard (made up) that Will Beall’s Justice League script had Superman incapacitated by Kryptonite (which is really easy to find on Earth, it’s like every other rock is made from the stuff!), thereby allowing the rest of the crew to be able to do something. See what I’m getting at? It’s gotta be really hard to write for Superman, especially when he has to play along with mere mortals such as Batman and The Flash.
Why does The Justice League need to encroach upon what, as far as moviegoers are concerned, is a separate franchise? Would the author of the above article have been happy if Superman had popped up at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, overridden Bruce Wayne’s happy ending, and said, “Hi, I’m putting together a team, and if that means I have to ruin the end of this movie, then so be it?” I doubt he, nor anyone above the age of five, would have been contented by that ending. It worked in Iron Man because little pieces were already put in place that made the scene feel natural, and the tone of the film was realistic, but just irreverent and comical enough for this kind of fantasy element to make sense. Nolan’s Batman teaming up with Superman? It would take a few movies to ease me into it before I can accept that, not just, “Hey, I’m Clark. Bruce? Let’s fight bad guys together. You can watch. I’m invincible.”
Superman can be in Superman movies, Batman in Batman movies. We don’t need them to cross over and form a supergroup, and we don’t need them to go on tour together. The characters in The Avengers were written to be The Avengers; The Dark Knight Trilogy and Man of Steel were not, and to smash them together like George Reeves did to villains in The Adventures of Superman would be nothing but a disservice to both franchises, especially now. Let Man of Steel grow, spawn a sequel or two, and let The Dark Knight rest, build demand. It worked for Skyfall and Star Trek. Maybe make a web series, “The Dark Knight Gets a Manicure,” and “The Dark Knight Goes Grocery Shopping.”
“Hmm, let’s see, Bat-Soda, check. Bat-Watermelon, check. Oh, where do they keep the Bat-Lettuce? Excuse me, sir? Where is the Bat-Produce section?”
Don’t copy The Avengers. Do something new. The Justice League works in comic books, it works in cartoons. It took five movies and years of planning to make The Avengers great; WB really thinks they can make a film which can compete by smashing together two distinct continuities which were never intended to be anything other than their own stories, three if they include The Green Lantern, one of the biggest misfires in recent memory? Fine, do whatever you want, I can’t wait to say “I told you so.”
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