Fans have always loved the possibility of superhero movies, but doing team movies always seemed too big — too big a budget for special effects, too big a budget for the stars. But then they made X-Men. And then, they made The Avengers.
With those misconceptions broken, it’s time the most popular superhero team of all-time take it’s place in movie history and become the team everyone knows (and hopes) they can be, and here’s how they should do it.
First thimg, what it shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be Avengers with a new coat of paint. It a sequel to 2013′s Man Of Steel but with friends. The Justice League is about the best in the world uniting to face earth-shattering, dimension-altering forces from beyond. Imagine a modern Justice League movie as Seven Samurai with superheroes. Taking the honor, resolve and tempo from things like the great pantheon of Justice League stories from the past twenty years of DC animation, this shouldn’t be about in-fighting and bickering (Marvel has that covered). This is the Justice League.
As for story, I’d seed it in the end of Man of Steel showing a reveal of Brainiac on his way to Earth — perhaps already with him being able to reach out and manipulate things to herald his arrival. In the movie itself, we’d show our individual heroes — Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern – make their entrance and be drawn together to prepare. It’s all secretly orchestrated by a third party putting them into place we’ll later reveal is Batman, but the core fighting team for this is a lean trim four-some here. Some would argue for the full original seven, but I don’t want to sacrifice valuable screen time just to check off a perfect member roll here. This is important, and by holding off the debuts of Aquaman, Martian Manhunter and the others you can give them more time down the road.
So, Justice League vs. a creepy, TRON:Legacy-esque Brianiac that’s bearing down on Earth. It’s alien, it’s tech, and Brianiac is one of the few guys who can stand toe-to-toe with the entire team simultaneously. Especially, if he has some attack dogs chained up in storage waiting to get out.
DC has a pretty great track record of directors — Donner on Superman, Burton on Batman, Nolan on Batman — but there’s also some misses. For this, I’d get an overseas heavyweight in director Danny Boyle. His last major work was the London Olympics open ceremonies, but his career breadth is startling — who else can say they’ve done the likes of Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and Slumdog Millionaire. He can handle ensemble casts, he can handle special effects, he knows how to make a picture with global draw, and he knows how to handle pressure. Danny Boyle, Justice League needs you.
Superman – Henry Cavill: Although it was Batman Begins that relaunched DC’s flagging superhero movie franchises, it’s the upcoming Man Of Steel that’s being looked at to be the flag-bearer for the unified DC universe to come. Although no one’s seen the finished movie yet, I imagine Cavill was chosen not just for the Superman franchise but to be a part of a larger Justice League franchise and it’d be foolish not to bring him over for this.
Batman – Joseph Gordon Levitt: There’s a lot of argument about where the Batman franchise sits now that Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale are officially done with the character; do you pick up or do you start over? Why don’t you do both, with Levitt taking up the Batman mantle as seen in the end of The Dark Knight Rises and becoming more a behind-the-scenes schemer. To avoid overexposure, maybe Levitt is just a Nick Fury-esque character here putting the pieces into place — i.e. the formation of the Justice League — to stop the threat coming down on the Earth. Having him as a shadowy puppet master and only revealing it’s Batman, and Levitt is playing Batman, would be a great third arc or even post credits scene.
Wonder Woman – Gina Carano: MMA fighter. Actor. Degree in Psychology. Is Gina Carano a dream come true for those wishing the perfect Wonder Woman? Although she may not have the immense acting chops that would win over everyone, her work in Haywire made me a believer and doing WW for the first time as part of an ensemble piece could limit her exposure and really give her a chance to hit the high notes of a modern rendition of Diana. Plus, how great would it being known she’s being played by someone that could legitimately beat up all her macho co-stars?
The Flash – Bradley Cooper: DC has been on the treadmill trying to get up to speed for a Flash movie for sometime – back in 2011 I told you about my ideal version of a modern Flash movie, and that could easily fit within the plans of Justice League franchise as well. I’d love to see Cooper bounce off of the other characters, physically and verbally.
Green Lantern – Common: There’s green-glowing elephant in the room when thinking of a Justice League movie, but I’d side-step it somewhat — and introduce a bad-ass DC stalwart — when I’d put John Stewart into duty as Green Lantern. Say Hal is off-world out for more training — say Johns is a tenured GL who mainly works off planet that’s been following Brianiac; there’s a dozen different ways this could work, and still leave the door open for Ryan Reynolds to keep those creepily-CGIed Green Lantern tights on. And Common might seem like a rapper-first, but he’s been killing it on Hell On Wheels these past two seasons and was in line to play Green Lantern back in the early 2000s before the project was killed. Now he’s even more suited for the role, and DC would be lucky to have him.
Brainiac – David Tennant: Want a quick dose of support from the ardent comic fanbase? Bring in Doctor Who. It only helps that he happens to be a great character actor who can play more than one part. I’d love to see Tennant draped in creepy, green sci-fi regalia and being a cold and calculating threat to the Justice League. he could be the reason the team is brought together, and could employ all sorts of devices from miniaturization, someone like Amazo, and maybe even a giant starfish, to choke the planet.