David Goyer has a decent resume as far as comic book movie writers go, starting with Blade (which was awesome), arguably peaking with The Dark Knight, but ending with Man of Steel (which was less awesome). I would like to think that his being involved with the bizarrely named Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice would be a good thing, but the Scriptnotes Summer Superhero Spectacular podcast that hit the webs yesterday seems to indicate otherwise. Let's examine why:
1. He Doesn't Get Martian Manhunter
DC Comics Martian Manhunter doesn't even take crap from the POTUS.
Now, call me a fanboy if you like, but I believe that Martian Manhunter is a key component to any Justice League movie. There have been many Leagues over time, and Martian Manhunter has always been a mainstay, particularly in Grant Morrison's version, which happens to be the best. In that version, Manhunter was the only 24/7 Leaguer, who kept an eye on things all the time while Luthor was trapping Superman in a taco truck full of nacho-covered kryptonite and Batman was busy beating up the Joker and then saving him from falling off of things. What does Goyer say should be done with Martian Manhunter? Why, he should be a DNA clone of a mysterious alien dropped in Area 51 until he finally breaks out; green and angry. For some reason he seems to have him confused with the Hulk. Also, he is apparently way too fond of that one part in Independence Day where Data is an evil scientist that an alien makes into a Muppet so he can talk to Bill Pullman.
Besides being terribly cliche, these things are also totally off-topic. Not to mention that they are exactly the sort of horrible thing you expect Hollywood writers to come up with.
2. He Doesn't Get Secret Identities
Warner Bros. "Dare to dream!" mocks the man responsible for Superman: The Deadliest Catch years
He mocked Martian Manhunter for being "just.. a human homicide detective", thinking it was somehow boring or beneath him. Now for a guy who just did a Superman movie, it seems a bit weird. Clark Kent's whole deal is being a reporter. Is a reporter somehow more awesome and glamorous than being a cop? I would say no. Homicide detectives stay close to crime and help bring justice to things so it's on-topic. Martian Manhunter was also, well, a manhunter: this refers to a type of police caste on Mars. Thus the crossover with homicide detective back on Earth. He decided to take a job on Earth that was the most like a job on his own planet.
This both makes sense and is an important part of the character. Making him into a roided-out test subject would totally eliminate the "Manhunter" part of his name, which is half of his superhero title. Reboots are like gastric bypasses. You see them a lot in the news, with people who are always getting them. But you should really only do them when they're medically necessary and they really shouldn't result in you suddenly deleting your last name.
3. Martian Manhunter Wouldn't Even Be a Martian!
Universal Pictures An alien who is stuck at Area 51 until he busts out and is angry with his captors you say? So original.
We've already discussed the mysterious elimination of the Manhunter part of the Martian Manhunter. But it doesn't stop there! No, the next step is to not make him Martian at all.
Per Goyer, "We grow him in a petri dish...He's like in Area 51 or something...and we're doing biopsies on him and he gets out and he's really angry." Now, we all know that there probably isn't life on Mars, but it's something people have believed in a long time. It has a lot of mythical and cultural power. H.G. Wells, C.S. Lewis, and Edgar Rice Burroughs all come to mind as people who have added to the stories and mythology of Mars. Sure, it's a dead planet now, but the thought that we once had neighbors is a great one.
Also, you know, MARTIAN. It's in his NAME. The proposed Martian Manhunter would not be Martian, nor a Manhunter. So maybe his name should just be Bob. Bob the Angry Green Guy with Superpowers. Basically the Hulk, who we'll be getting back to but who is not a team player or the senior member of a league of super-heroes. This idea sucks worse than wearing earbuds while fighting vampires to get endorsement money. Yeah, I've seen Blade: Trinity. Twice!
4. He Wrote Man of Steel
To be honest, I have generally defended Man of Steel. Why? Well, first I think its bad reputation is a little exaggerated. The fact is that none of us are as innocent and wide-eyed as we were when we first saw Christopher Reeve save Lois from a burning helicopter while telling her that air travel is safer than driving. You're not getting that feeling back, people. It won't happen. It died along with all of the other things that made life worth living such as hope, a sense of wonder, and being able to eat all the candy you wanted without getting sick. So, most geeks are unreasonably emotionally over-invested and that makes me feel defensive. Also, I just don't care how many buildings Superman punches Zod through and I can't worry about how many CGI people were maimed in the process. Did Superman come out all bloody and covered in kidneys on the other side? No? That's probably a sign that things are fine. Thus none of that bothers me.
What does bother me, though, is the fact that Pa Kent tells Clark to let a bus full of people die so his secret identity can be preserved. What? Also Superman watching his dad die to save a dog for the sake of his secret. What? What is that supposed to mean? Why is that in the movie? Why do we see Clark saving an oil rig but never talking to the Daily Planet staff? Am I being punked?
5. He Thinks People Who Like Comic Books Never Have Sex
The Simpsons Goyer apparently thinks this is a realistic portrayal of comic book nerds everywhere.
According to David Goyer, there is a strong correlation or causation between applauding the Martian Manhunter and being a virgin. Goyer said "How many people in the audience have heard of Martian Manhunter?" Applause noises on the podcast. "How many people that raised their hands have ever been laid?" Even in Goyer's world without female comic book readers, Martian Manhunter has been in multiple DC video games and at least three of the DC animated series, so is he really so obscure that no one has heard of him? I don't agree with this assessment.
This is also just a nasty cultural meme. Ironically, Goyer decries early comics as being male power fantasies during the podcast but this is of course a self-fulfilling prophecy if comics can only be read by grouchy male virgins. I think in the age where comics are read mostly by thirty to forty year olds (hey, like me!) we probably need to put this myth to rest as I assure you most of us old people are shacked up these days. Also this sort of thinking leads to some of the nastier misogynistic outbursts you see here and there in the geek world as women are seen as fake nerds and invaders of a male stronghold. This is bad and should be killed with fire.