Thursday, 4 July 2013

Forming the Justice League #2

Zach Snyder's Man of Steel

The release of Man of Steel (and its huge box-office success) has left movie lovers and aficionados all pondering one thing; is this the start of something bigger and greater? Are DC about to 'do a Marvel' and get all of their heroes onto the same page?
I do of course refer to the much discussed Justice League of America movie. Long-rumoured, never confirmed, Justice League would bring together some of the biggest names from the DC Comics roster; Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter, as well as many others.

Christian Bale has recently confirmed he
won't be donning the cape and cowl for a potential
Justice League movie
Effectively, a JLA movie would be the DC equivalent of last years bombastic blockbuster The Avengers. Not too much of a gamble then.

Despite already having written a post on this last September, the recent release of Man of Steel has meant the topic is once again being widely talked about in the press.

Many fans saw Zach Snyder's reinvisioned version of Superman to be the launch pad from which a Justice League movie could be crafted, much as Marvel did when they kicked off their interlinked Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2008's Iron Man.

Thing is though, it kind of hasn't achieved that. Man of Steel didn't do a very great job of setting the scene in the way that Marvel had. Whilst a lot of internet forums and sites have been frothing at the mouth at the sight of a supposed Wayne Enterprises logo and such, this kind of throwaway reference or 'Easter Egg' isn't exactly the kind of thing that kick-starts a whole interlinked franchise of Justice League characters.

It just seems like a weak attempt to get people talking about a potential JLA movie. Throwing in little logo here or a 'wink wink nudge nudge' there doesn't cut the mustard. What the movie needed was something explicit, something obvious that said "look, we're doing it, Justice League is on its way!". Man of Steel had nothing like that. There was no mention of the Dark Knight trilogy, the Green Lantern movie or any post-credits teaser for something else entirely.

Nothing, naught, nada. Just some 'blink and you'll miss it' Easter Egg that is most likely Zack Snyder trying to mess with our heads.

The way I see it, Man of Steel is either a stand-alone Superman adventure that doesn't exist within a wider universe or DC are going to have to hold off on JLA and release a sequel to Man of Steel that does a better job at setting the scene for other characters like Wonder Woman and Aquaman.

This means we probably won't be seeing a Justice League movie for a long, long time yet. I read a story recently that said Warner Bros planned to rush Man of Steel 2 into production and release it as early as 2014 but that seems too soon to me.

Man of Steel took a whole 3 years to put together so a 12-month turnaround for a sequel seems overly ambitious to say the least.

That isn't the only problem that DC are going to have to overcome if they want to launch a JLA franchise that rivals The Avengers.

2011's Green Lantern
News broke the other day that Christian Bale (who played Bruce Wayne/Batman in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy) has decided he definitely will not be returning to play Batman again in a potential JLA movie.

So, what does this mean?

It means DC either have to recast Batman or reboot him. Yep, again. With The Dark Knight Rises having only wrapped up last year, audiences aren't exactly clamouring for another feature length film featuring the World's Greatest Detective. Likewise, Green Lantern (which tanked in 2011) has such an in-depth and specific back-story, surely he also needs a satisfactory reboot/re-imagining?

In addition to that, The Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman aren't exactly characters that can be shoehorned into a JLA movie for their first appearance. DC are going to have to take the time to craft each origin story separately and link them together.

At the end of the day, DC have got their work cut out if they want to bring Justice League to the big screen. Man of Steel hasn't changed that one jot; in my mind, they're still as far away from producing a successful big-screen outing for JLA as they were this time last year. Don't hold your breath people; I don't reckon we'll be seeing the Justice League all line-up alongside each other this side of 2018-19.

In the meantime, Marvel continue to romp home with each and every film in their ever growing MCU bagging the big bucks. Iron Man 3 has already blasted past the $1.2 billion mark and Thor: The Dark World is set to hit screens this November with Captain America: The Winter Solider and Guardians of the Galaxy hitting screens in 2014.

Whilst it might frustrate many fans out there, it's pretty obvious that if DC want to get on the same level as Marvel right now, they're going to have to play the long game.

What do you guys reckon? How should DC go about making a Justice League movie? Do you think Man of Steel did a good enough job of setting it up?

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