The post “Dark Knight” trilogy future looks very bleak for Warner Bros. and DC. Their biggest superhero franchise has reached its conclusion, Marvel has just released the biggest money spinner super hero movie of all time, your rest of the superheroes could not lift off the ground, *cough* *cough* green lantern. The only known superheroes in the DC stable are now Batman and Superman. Superman is making his return to the big screen next year with Zack Snyder at the helm and produced by Christopher Nolan. How it fares only future will tell, but with Christopher Nolans’s creative involvement in the project, we can say with some confidence that it wont stink. But after Marvel’s mega success with The Avengers, DC is scrambling to get its own version of the superhero team “The Justice League” off the ground. I have followed all the latest developments associated with this movie and it does not look look. So listen up you DC honchos, listen to the fans and I am definitely a DC boy.
DC is flirting with the idea of doing the reverse of what marvel did. That is to make a Justice League movie and then spin off the heroes into their solo movies. The idea sucks on many levels
- Apart from Superman and Batman nobody knows the rest of the team. Yes, the fanboys and comic book fans are there, but you cant rely only on them to compete with the success that The Avengers has pulled off.
- Batman franchise has just ended. This was Christopher Nolan’s Batman. Not the comic book one. Christopher Nolan’s Batman exists in the real universe, not the DC universe. You cannot integrate Nolan’s Batman into the Justice League, you need a new version that can exist in the world where a flying alien in red underwear makes sense.
- DC superheroes have too many super powers between them. Lets do a count :
- Superman: Supersonic flight, super strength, laser eyes, freeze breathe and countless more
- Wonder-woman: Basically a toned down female version of Superman
- Martian man-hunter: Flight, shape shifting, psychic, super strength
- Green Lantern: Imagination and willpower. Basically he can create any shape just by thinking about it and yes he flies too
- Flash: Super speed. Like so fast he can turn back time.
- Batman: With all his gizmos and gadgets.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of superpowers. But you get the idea of the daunting task ahead for the special effects team. To showcase all of this and not make it look cartoonish is an impossible task. Just look at what happened to Green Lantern. The special effects looked animated and really clumsy. To integrate all these superpowers into the story and make it look mildly realistic will be a really tough task. And DC cannot risk a dud in the box office when it comes to the Justice League movie, because they will only have one shot at this and if they fail to smash it out of the park, then it would be a really tough sell for the future as well.
So I have made my case regarding why a Justice League without a proper road map does not makes sense. So what should DC do now.
- Long back when the Avengers movie was a rumor and a journalist had asked DC honchos if they would ever make a Justice League movie. The answer was that, the DC heroes are big enough in their own regard and they don’t need a mash up. In retrospect that sounds completely silly now, but in some sense it is true. Batman and Superman have enjoyed a much more main stream exposure than any of the superheroes combined. So why not use this to your advantage. Instead of a Justice League movie, make a Superman v/s Batman movie. Pit against each other, the worlds greatest superheroes and see what happens. There is no dearth of great stories that can use this combination to great effect.
- Use the Superman v/s Batman movie franchise to slowly introduce the minor characters, say Wonder-woman, Flash, Martian Manhunter etc. and later spin them off for their own movies.
- Re-boot Batman properly to integrate him into the DC universe. I have been hearing rumors that the Batman reboot will be based on the Arkham Asylam games. It is a great strategy because that Batman fits neatly into the DC universe and is still bad-ass.
- Get Bruce Timm involved in some creative capacity into these projects. Nobody knows DC properties better than him. He has been a silent stalwart in the DC animated shows/movies success and has been involved with them for years. He can have the same effect on DC what Joss Whedon has had on Marvel.
Update: I guess I was a little too late in rolling out this blog post. Its not like anybody from DC would have read it, but its worth a try. It seems that the Justice League movie is set for a summer 2015 release, where it will be pitted against the Avengers 2.
But I still hope that I will see a Superman v/s Batman movie on the big screen one day.