Are we not blessed? Look at some movies recently. G.I.Joe: Retaliation did not suck. Wreck-It Ralph did not suck. The Avengers is the third highest grossing movie of ALL TIME. And what’s to come? Rocket Raccoon. Is this how far into the Marvel Universe we have gone? Rocket Raccoon is a main character in a Guardians of the Galaxy Motion Picture.Take a second to let that sink in. We are living in the Golden Age of Nerdery. I’ve been saying it for years. But there is something missing. DC has yet to produce any legitimate evidence that the Justice League movie is actually happening. It is a crime against nerd-manity.
And clearly, I am a Marvel fanboy first, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love the JLA growing up. I watched the hell out of that cartoon. It was wonderful. Everyone I knew saw all of the Dini cartoons and the crazy thing is we KNEW that the Justice League would get a movie. It seemed like the craziest thing that there wasn’t one yet, and that was in 1994! DC has to get it’s act together and make the damn thing. So, like everybody else, I have written up a few pointers to speed the process up. It can’t hurt.
Take my advice or don’t DC, but when there is still no Justice League movie and Marvel is turning out Lockjaw 4: The Moon Mutt Returns, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
1. Simplify Wonder Woman
This one isn’t going to be easy, but it’s crucial. All the puzzle pieces fit pretty nicely together except this one. This piece is the one you have to smash with a hammer until it fits. But it has to fit. You can’t do this without a solid Wonder Woman; she is one of the big three. So figure her out. Right now, she is an Amazon who wears an American flag bathing suit and invincible bracelets and is armed with a magic truth lasso and an invisible jet, even though she can fly. It doesn’t make a ton of sense. That shouldn’t stop DC from going all-in on her.
Movie audiences have bought Jurassic Park, Cloud City and Sugar Rush. There has been more than one movie where Arnold Schwarzenegger plays an average joe. I’m sure we can believe in the forbidden island of Themyscira: God of War has proven that Greek Mythology is in right now. That’s why Kratos was able to kill all the gods in the third game and they still made another one. Pick a relatively unknown actress (Gina Carano looks good to me) and throw her in there. Make her more badass than the rest of the guys. Give her a sword. Just pick a direction and go with it. Once Wonder Woman makes sense, all the other big heroes will fall into place.
2. Give up on Darkseid
You can’t win them all, DC. Marvel just got there first. It was actually kind of brilliant. Do you think Marvel knew exactly what they were doing with Thanos when they showed him at the end of Avengers? Probably not. They might have had a vague idea but they probably didn’t know exactly how he would fit in. Why then, you may ask, would they bother showing him at all if he didn’t really have that much to do with anything. It’s simple, young Highlander fan: There can only be one.
DC has made a lot of moves to position Darkseid (pronounced like the Pink Floyd album) as the main antagonist of the Justice League in the New 52, their annoying Universe-wide relaunch. For those who don’t recognize the name, Darkseid is an uber-powerful big evil space tyrant. Sound familiar? It’s because that’s exactly what came up when you googled “purple guy avengers movie credits” in the theater lobby. Thanos and Darkseid are obviously really similar. The problem is, whichever studio uses one first is going to be the original regardless of which character was actually created first. DC has to take the loss and move on. It’s not like they have the two most iconic super villains in comic book history to fall back on.
3. Find a Non-Nolan Director
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t seem like a director can make three good superhero movies in a row. That just appears to be the rule. I think it has something to do with the feedback they get between 1 and 2 and then between 2 and 3. After the first movie, they are able to do whatever they want with the second one and they tend to make an awesome second movie. It is usually better than the first. Then the second one blows everyone away and not only did they just tell the story they cared about the most but the expectations for this third one are way too high. Clearly that killed Spider-Man so much that he had to be rebooted as a skinnier douchebag. The same thing happened with The Dark Knight.
Nolan told the story he wanted to tell in the first two movies. Thats why they are the best two. Now he just seems to be going through the motions. Sure, he’s producing Man of Steel, and that movie will surely be better for it, but DC has to find somebody new. There are so many directors out there. Snyder seems interested. Making a good Batman movie is easy; Tim Burton made two and he just turned out Dark Shadows. Superman movies are hard. If Snyder can make a halfway decent one, he deserves to direct JL. They could obviously do worse than Nolan (I’m sure Schumacher is waiting by the phone with a rubber-nippled Nuclear Man outfit). But they should take a chance on someone that knows what he’s doing with a nerd property. Hell if this takes much longer, JJ Abrams might even be available.
4. Stop Destroying the World
I cannot stress this enough: Stop destroying the world. Just stop. It sucks. You want to know why Avengers made sense? The stakes, leading up to Avengers, were relatively low. Iron Man just exploded a bunch of robots that didn’t do much damage besides blowing up his science fair. Hulk fought a monster who destroyed a building or two in Harlem. Harlem has seen worse. Captain America did some stuff in WWII that no-one ever found out about and Thor saved Asgard. Big deal. None of those events put everyone on Earth in danger. That was why Avengers worked. We needed them to team up because Earth was in a NEW form of EXTREME danger. I stress the words “new” and “extreme”.
The recent DC movies cannot stop destroying the world. It’s getting pretty ridiculous. Let’s recap: In Green Lantern (which will be addressed later) Parallax comes to earth and kills a ton of people after eating a bunch of planets and wrecking the Lanterns. Hal saves earth. In TDKR, Bane gets a nuclear weapon that he nearly uses to level Gotham City. Batman saves New York, I mean Gotham City. In the Man of Steel trailer, all we see is some punching and a lot of exploding. That makes for a good Superman movie but a lame Justice League setup. Why do we need the JL at all if each of these heroes can avert certain apocalyptic disaster on their own, and more importantly how is anyone okay with living in a world where all of the forces in the universe are constantly trying the destroy them? I’m not saying that Superman should just fight a bunch of mutant poodles in the woods. I’m just saying staying away from bad guys who have “destroyed entire civilizations” on their resume might be a good idea.
5. Just Pretend Green Lantern Never Happened
Say this when asked about Green Lantern.
“Who? The Green Lantern you say? I don’t think they made that movie. Ryan Reynolds was in it? Was he the Flash? No? He was the titular Lantern? That’s strange. I don’t think they made it. I think it was just a rumor. Hey look! Ice cream!”
See. That wasn’t so hard. Now the person you are talking to is unsure as to whether the movie existed AND you guys are eating ice cream. Sure, we will have to bring ice cream with us everywhere we go but this is a sacrifice we have to make.
P.S. Ryan Reynolds should have played the Flash. Duh.
6. Don’t Water Down Aquaman
You see what I did there? I made a joke at Aquaman’s expense. It was pretty easy. And I didn’t even get into the fact that he can talk to fish with circles or that he used to ride a seahorse. He is an easy target for ridicule and the jokes have redefined Aquaman as a Spongebob Squarepants character. Fans like Wonder Woman, but they don’t understand what she’s all about. Aquaman is a reverse Wonder Woman. We get him. We are just not on board.
So stop making Aquaman jokes. That’s it. From now on, pretend he has always been the coolest hero in the DC Universe. It shouldn’t be that hard. On Justice League he cut his arm off to save his infant son. And if that wasn’t groovy enough, he replaced it with a harpoon. In Injustice, he uses his trident to feed his enemies to a shark. I loved The Brave and the Bold as much as the next guy, but make that version of Aquaman disappear faster than Morris Chestnut’s Black Panther tweet . Aquaman has to come out of Justice League as the surprise audience favorite. Also speaking of Injustice…
7. InJustify the Justice League
Injustice: Gods Among Us looks pretty solid. From the start, they made it clear that it will succeed in one key category where the DC films have recently failed. It will give us what we want for no other reason than that we want it. Look at some of those finisher moves. Superman punches you into space. Flash runs around the world and then punches you. Batman does a Batflip over the Batmobile. If only one of those things happened in the movie, most of us would be satisfied. All three might kill us. But that’s a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong. A complex story and developed characters are crucial to making this a success, but you know which other movie has those? Most of them. The problem is, none of those other movies have the Justice League in them so this one has to count. Making a movie with Superman where he doesn’t punch anybody into space is like a basketball game with no dunking or a toaster strudel with no icing. What’s the point?
8. Nathan Fillion
I haven’t worked this one out yet but it’s so simple. I don’t know how. I don’t know who he would play, but PUT NATHAN FILLION IN THE MOVIE. That would make all the nerds forget how unexciting GL and Superman Returns were. Recast him as Green Lantern. Wonderful! Make him Steve Trevor. Fine. Have him play Wonder Woman for all I care. He is likeable and because of Castle he is kind of in demand. Justice League could be responsible for catapulting the nicest guy in Hollywood to super stardom.
P.S. Nathan FIllion should have played Star Lord. Duh.