For some time we’ve been discussing DC’s attempts to even catch u with what Marvel has been able to accomplish with their shared movie universe. Marvel successfully pulled off The Avengers and is continuing to crank out several movies a year with no signs of slowing down. DC put a Wayne Enterprises satellite in Man of Steel. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I would ‘fix’ a few things in Man of Steel 2, but with the recent announcement of the Fox-owned Marvel movie properties inhabiting their own shared universe, I feel the need to dream a little bigger. Granted, I have no special knowledge of how movies get made or what Warner Brothers’ priorities for these properties are, these are just the things I would like to see as a fan and think would theoretically help.
Man of Steel 2
My feelings towards Man of Steel remain decidedly mixed. The sequel has the potential to fix a lot of the things that I had issue with in the first film. I recognize that DC has already decided to go with a Superman/Batman team-up movie, but that isn’t really what I want right now, and this is my fantasy so roll with it. The elephant in the room is the killing of General Zod. I have a solution for that, of sorts. Let’s say that Superman did break Zod’s neck and sever his spinal cord, but that Zod survived it. In my retcon the government collects his body, tells Superman and the world that he was totally all of the way dead, and stashes him in a bunker deep underground bathed in red sunlight. I imagine that given enough yellow sunlight he’d still be able to fly and shoot heat vision, making him a palpable future, yet unknown threat to Kal-El. Some people have told me this idea is exceedingly morbid, but I’m simply trying to fix the problem created by seemingly killing him in the first place. As for the second movie, I would love for them to have Clark hunting down some important stories within Metropolis, maybe covering the housing crises caused by his battle with Zod? I think whatever he’s reporting on should be something local to the city, because the first movie really failed to make Metropolis a character so much as a backdrop to be smashed. Let’s also develop why Lois and Clark like each other. Have him doing some sort of crazy romantic gesture that only he could do, instead of impromptu arctic surgery. She already knows who he is, they’re into each other, I say just go for it.
As for the threat? There were certainly hints of Lex, but I think that’s been done to death and I think it’d be bold to have a whole movie of Lex as the hero who rebuilds Metropolis, and save his eventual downfall for later. I do like the idea of giving Clark a less physical battle to fight. We’ve seen the ragdoll physics of a full out battle, how about now we show Superman really developing the finesse of his powers. But the new movie should also lay some groundwork for the shared universe. I think using the storyline where Intergang is being supplied with weapons by agents of Darkseid would work really well. The alien weaponry would be powerful enough that the city would truly need their Superman to stop it, and it sets up Darkseid at the big bad for an eventual Justice League movie.
I don’t think it’s likely that we’ll ever actually see Joseph Gordon-Levitt don the cowl. I think introducing the idea of Batman as a legacy worked for the story Nolan was trying to tell, but I also don’t think its sustainable long term in a movie-franchise. Time to do something new. Since all we’ve seen at this point is a satellite, I think we can basically do whatever we want with the story at this point. I’d love to see something along the lines of Batman Noir, where it’s actually unclear if there really is a Batman at all, and if it’s anyone its likely Harvey Dent, but I don’t think that would work for a big budget blockbuster. I would love to say it’s time for something more stylized than the stark real world picture painted by Nolan, but I think keeping it within the world established by Man of Steel would make that difficult. I think if they hadn’t been so clear that Bruce was in self-imposed exile for 8 years we could easily just have a “story from that 8 year gap” as a movie. Hell, maybe it would be best to just have Gordon-Levitt in the suit after all.
The Green Lantern Problem
Green Lantern was not a good movie. At the same time, I don’t think it needs to be ignored completely. DC tried to bring a lower tier character up, much like Iron Man or Thor, but without the same charm that helped those movies succeed. Retelling Green Lantern’s origin again would be a mistake. The second Hulk movie gave you what you needed to know about his origin in the opening credits, which could easily be employed with a follow up movie (not that he’ll get one). I also think you could have John Stewart show up in a Justice League movie with little more than a, “Hal’s not on planet right now, the ring chose me, let’s get to work.”
As for the other characters we’re not sure can sustain their own movies? Wonder Woman should get a chance, to round out the Trinity and to have a superhero movie focused solely on a female hero, something neither Marvel nor Fox have even attempted, which if successful could be a rightly earned feather in DC’s movie-making cap.
Finally: The Justice League
How do you avoid this movie just being a copy of The Avengers? I’m not sure you can. The New 52 reboot of the Justice League seemed to have them spend a lot of time bickering, much like the Avengers in their own film, and if that’s the story we’re going with that’s what we’re going to get. However one way they could differentiate themselves is in terms of scope. Sure, The Avengers had Thor, but the Justice League has pantheon-potential. If they really just cut loose and let these beings act as demigods we could be in for a truly wild ride. Granted, DC movies seem to actually be embarrassed that they’re characters are superheroes, so I’m not all that hopeful.
But don’t confuse my lack of hope with a lack of optimism. I want DC movies to be good, and I think they can be. The only lack the light to show them the way.