Sunday, May 13, 2012

Justice For All

So, last week I asked you all to indulge my geekosity (which, if it isn't a word already, will become one as of now) and let me ruminate about what's on the minds of everyone who was blown away by The Avengers: that is to say, "Long-term, inter-movie, fan-service crossover events are not only possible, but they can be done EXTREMELY WELL on the FIRST TRY and they can make oodles upon oodles of MONEY! Hooray!" With that in mind, my fellow citizens of the People's Republic of Nerd, can the same thing be done...with DC Comics?! (Cue dramatic music. Actually, screw the cue, here's a link to some dramatic music).

The answer (or, I should say, my answer) to that question is a resounding "maybe". It would be a hell of a lot easier, that's for damn sure, considering EVERYTHING under the DC sun is owned by the good people at Warner Bros. Entertainment. So right off the bat, we'd have no problems with licensing/rights agreements or any of that bullshit. But can the almighty WB really get their act together and give us an epic Justice League crossover to rival the awesomeness that was Joss Whedon's The Avengers? Let's hypothesize! Which is a scientific way of saying, "I 'unno."

First things first: for those not "in the know" on comic book superhero jargon and whatnot, here's a crash course. DC and Marvel are the two major competing comic book publishers. There have been others, but Marvel and DC have been the Top 2 since comics started existing. As it was in the beginning, is now, and forever shall be. Amen. Marvel is the company who owns the characters you see in The Avengers (i.e. Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, etc.), as well as others like the X-Men and Spider-Man. DC, on the other hand, are the minds behind characters like Batman & Robin, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Superman. And the DC Universe has its own dream team of superheroes banding together to fight great evil, only they don't call themselves the Avengers. That would be copyright infringement, kids! Instead, they opt to go by the title of the Justice League of America.

The Justice League's revolving door policy has resulted in a roster of heroes that has gone through more men in tights than a slutty ballerina hanging around backstage to keep the male chorus occupied during scenes when they're not needed. But the mainstays of the Justice League usually tend to be the same 7 heroes: namely, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter.

That's 7 heroes, 7 big stories, 7 movies to make to lead up to one ginormous big-screen Justice League extravaganza. And I think, with the proper nudging and motivation of certain parties, it can be done, and done well! Here's my take on it:

First off, we've already got Batman and Superman covered, so that's two down right there. I know Chris Nolan said he never wants to make another Batman film, and ditto Christian Bale. But you know what? Fuck them! We don't need them to have a good time! (Actually, I'm sorry for cursing at you, Mr. Bale. PLEASE don't yell at me!!!) Let's assume we've got Bale as Batman and the upcoming Henry Cavill reprising his role as Superman. And if Christian Bale absolutely, positively refuses to return, then we'll replace him with Jim Caviezel and make Bruce Wayne an older guy. Seriously, if you're not already watching Caviezel on Person of Interest, start watching! That show is literally Batman without costumes.

Alright. Let's try something a little more difficult: Green Lantern. We got that *snicker* "movie" last June starring Ryan Reynolds, which had great special effects and a pretty good cast, but...yeah. that's about all it had going for it. So let's delete that from our memory and start fresh. Break out a whole new Green Lantern film series, a big, epic, sprawling one, I'm talking 5 or 6 movies here. Remember, this is a sci-fi alien smorgasbord we're talking about here, there's PLENTY of room for 5 or 6 movies worth of stories to tell. Besides, there are actually four major Green Lantern characters: Hal Jordan (who we say Reynolds play), John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Rayner. There you go, you have at least a trilogy's worth of stuff right there. Recast Hal Jordan: Nathan Fillion (of Castle fame to you non-geeks out there, of God fame to everyone else) can play him with his eyes closed. Or if you wanna go the John Stewart route and have him be African-American, no problemo. Leonard Roberts from Heroes could pull that off without a hitch, and either one of them would fit in just fine in the Justice League.

Still too easy, you say? How about Aquaman? He's like a joke; if it weren't for Entourage, there'd probably be a whole slew of folks who don't even know that Aquaman exists. But he's a pretty hefty character, being the freaking King of Atlantis and all! Let's go with the older, grizzled version of Aquaman, the one with the beard and the Captain Hook hand. I know he's overused at this point, but I think Mr. Jolie himself, Brad Pitt, might be able to get Aquaman right, as long as they focus less on his "hunk factor" and more on his 'I'm an older guy with a big burden on my shoulders factor". One of Aquaman's biggest character traits that separates him from the rest is that he's a father. And if anybody knows about taking care of kids, it'd be the man who adopts foreign children like he's ordering take-out. Throw in Jamie Foxx as his archenemy Black Manta and you're good to go.

Martian Manhunter? Piece of cake. His story would make a great movie. He's essentially a Martian who gets teleported to Earth by a mad scientist. The scientist then dies before he has a chance to finish his experiments, and Manhunter escapes the lab. He's unable to return home, so he roams the Earth, assumes a human identity, and tries to fit in to avoid being experimented on whilst continuously searching for a means of getting back to Mars. Giancarlo Esposito (who plays Gustavo on Breaking Bad and the Magic Mirror on Once Upon A Time) certainly has a way of making humans seem inhuman, and vice versa. I think he could pull off the Manhunter very nicely. Boom. Done.

The Flash. He's trickier, yes, but not impossible. First of all, let's avoid the obvious dumb Hollywood route and NOT cast Ryan Reynolds again, for the fourteenth time, in a superhero picture. Flash is a redheaded fellow with a smart-ass attitude, so I'd like to see him played by Zack Ward. If you're a fan of A Christmas Story, you'll remember l'il Zack as the bully, Scut Farkas. I'm not too familiar with the Flash storylines, but considering there's been about 50 bjillion people to step into the red-and-yellow Flash spandex at one point or another, I'm sure there's gotta be some script fuel in there somewhere. I think his archenemy is a chubby guy with a snow theme named Captain Cold, so let's toss Phillip Seymour Hoffman into an oversized blue parka and Bob's your uncle.

That leaves Wonder Woman. Now she is tricky. Much like Thor of Marvel Comics fame, WW stands apart from the rest in that she's literally descended from Greek gods and has the strength of the Amazonians, or something like that. To the extent of my knowledge, she & a bunch of powerful women got exiled to an island by Hercules (who, it turns out, is kind of a douchebag), and Wonder Woman became a leader on that island, until a World War II pilot crashed down there and she became sucked into the world of normal mortals. I guess this could still work. Substitute World War II for...whatever we call the war that's happening right now, with the terror and whatnot. As for who could play her...we've all heard so many theories, and many of them could work, too. Again, like Aquaman, Wonder Woman should be attractive, but not in an unrealistic and distracting way *coughMichaelBaycough*. She's a ruler who's had to make a lot of tough decisions, and she carries quite the burden on those supple shoulders of hers: that burden should never be overshadowed by her looks. Anyone from Cobie Smulders to Natalie Portman to Elizabeth Hurley have been rumored for the role. Personally, I think Mila Kunis might work. Then stick Rhona Mitra in there as the Cheetah (her primary antagonist), and that's all you need. Wonder Woman herself already contains so many powerful themes to support a script and its sequel, that there's not much room for error as far as story is concerned.

And there you have it. Put together these last five movies, let them marinate for a year or so, then shake well and serve up an ice cold pitcher of Justice. It can be done, Warner Bros. You have the technology. You have the money. You have the rights. Go for it. But (and I leave you with this as my final thought, friends) just because someone can do something, doesn't mean they should. Warner Brothers shouldn't do a damn thing unless they're setting out to make a quality movie series with fun, engaging characters & plotlines. If they're gonna crank out 5 pieces of shit and one huge diarrhea crossover just so they can stand neck-and-neck with Marvel and chuckle, "Me too! Hyuck! Hyuck!", then they'll get a serious wake-up call once all the bad reviews come rolling in. Quality comes first, always.

Also, Warner Brothers, call me. I will totally write those six Green Lantern movies for FREE.

I'm not joking.