<i>by <a href=http://www.twitter.com/Newsarama/>Newsarama Staff</a></i> <p>More and more it looks like Warner Bros. is getting serious about a Justice League big screen film. So serious, in fact, they might be looking to launch the franchise as early as 2015, and share the summer with the release of Marvel Studios' Avengers sequel for a truly epic clash of the comic book titans. <p>A recent <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/film/justice-league-movie-2015.html>LA Times report suggests the studio is looking to starting lensing Justice League next year for a 2015 release</a>. <p>While the brief flirtation with Ben Affleck to direct the big-screen DC superteam adaptation seems more like a case of unrequited love, Warners at least has a script (by Will Beall) that they like, and it seems Justice League is getting closer and closer to reality. <p>So with that in mind, we put our thoughts to what we'd like to see out of one of the last remaining comic book cinematic holy grails. <p>Here are 10 things whomever winds up directing the prospective film should strongly consider if and when things become official. Click "start here" in the upper-left corner to begin the countdown. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p> <p>
Look, Warner Bros. is going to quickly tire of the <i>Avengers</i> comparisons, but let's face it it worked. It <i>really</i> worked. <p>The eventual producers and filmmakers would do wise to buy a copy of the Marvel Studio film and study it like Peyton Manning dissects game footage. <p>C'mon, don't be proud, It's why we're all even talking about this today. Its there. It works. Learn from it.
While we don't hold any hope Christian Bale will be lured back to multiple <b>Justice League</b> movies (or Joseph Gordon-Levitt, for that matter), and DC will surely, by necessity, break away from the tone of Christopher Nolan's trilogy, DC should keep in mind this darkness against the lightness of the other heroes is what's fun about Bruce Wayne's inclusion in the team. <p>In the comics, Batman has worked with just about every superhero team that exists in the DC Universe. And although it's tempting to make him more jovial around other people, implying he's lighter with friends, the character works best when he sticks to the same dead-serious character traits he utilizes in his solo stories: Obsessive detective work and fancy gadgets combined with amazing fighting skills and a knack for scaring the bejeezus out of criminals, not to mention his allies on some occasions. <p>A dark, gritty Batman <i>can</i> exist with other heroes. In fact, that's three-quarters of the fun.
Even though the <i>Green Lantern</i> movie wasn't the critical success or box office blockbuster that Warner Bros. hoped for, and distancing the <b>Justice League</b> film from it would be understandable, keeping Ryan Reynolds in the role of Green Lantern/Hal Jordan does have a few built-in advantages. <p>For one, it would avoid further brand confusion, which may already be a factor depending on the status of who ends up playing Batman and Superman. <p>Secondly, Reynolds is likely already signed for a multi-picture deal with a <b>Justice League</b> in mind, and he could add some star power, plus appeal to both the male and female demographic in an ensemble cast. <p>Most of all, however, he's got impeccable comedic timing that will provide much-needed levity to a movie with iconic heroes like Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. He's proven his ability to provide humor in otherwise corny situations in movies like <i>Blade: Trinity</i> and <i>X-Men Origins: Wolverine</i>. (But let's hope <b>Justice League</b> will be better than those films.)
Since taking a backseat following <i>Infinite Crisis</i> and later dying in <i>Final Crisis</i>, J'onn J'onzz has rarely been seen among the Justice League. There was a time, however, when J'onzz was not only the League's curator and organizer, but its heart and soul. <p>While the Martian Manhunter is one of the most likely characters to be bumped in favor of more recent additions to the team, it would be a shame to see a character as central to the JLA mythos set aside, not to mention a missed opportunity to truly showcase some breathtaking visual effects. He carries some recognizability, having appeared in mostly human form on TV's <i>Smallville</i>, as well as in full-alien form in several animated series and films.
We're hoping Warner has learned from Marvel's example that planting a seed of "shared universe" in a hit movie can go a long way toward building anticipation for an ensemble film. Whether it's a full-fledged cameo by Hal Jordan or some sly TV news reports from Gotham City, it would be smart to give the world of Metropolis a wider scope to set up the world of <b>Justice League</b>. <p>At the very least, we're hoping there's a post-credits scene that kicks off the process. Hey, Marvel and DC have been stealing from each other for decades, why stop now in film?
One of the rarely commented-upon things about <em>The Avengers</em> was that every member of the team in fact, every major character in the movie, with the exception of one was white. That isn't to declare an ulterior motive, but it's something that a <b>Justice League</b> movie could easily avoid, considering some of the characters that have served with the team throughout their 50-plus years of comic book service. <p><p>While the movie Green Lantern may have defaulted to the Caucasian Hal Jordan in its choice of hero, there's no reason that a <b>Justice League</b> movie couldn't feature the Ryan Choi Atom, or the Jason Rusch Firestorm. <p>And there is, of course, a very deserving current member of the team ready for the big screen: Victor Stone, a.k.a. Cyborg. A character with the everyteen-in-unexpected-circumstances appeal of Spider-Man who is already known outside of comics thanks to the <em>Teen Titans</em> cartoon, not to mention a higher profile in the comics thanks to his <b>Justice League</b> induction, he could and <em>should</em> serve as the audience's point-of-view character, and act as the center around which the movie revolves. <p>The current spate of superhero movies have been depressingly pale when it comes to central characters; this is an area where Warner and DC could steal past Marvel very easily.
The good news for Warner Bros. is that a bunch of pretty darn good Justice League adaptations have already been produced in the last few years, including a handful of animated films and of course the <i>Justice League</i> and <i>Justice League Unlimited</I> animated TV series. <p>These two seminal Cartoon Network series showed DC's heavy hitters getting along and traveling all over the DCU. Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and the rest of the DC Animated crew did a lot to road map the best way to bring those heroes to casual viewers, and that show's done a lot to teach the modern generation of kids and young adults who the team are.
Start this movie with a team already in place and already working together as a well-oiled machine. These are the world's greatest superheroes, so let them act that way. The first scene of the film should be the assemble heroes taking down a mid-level villain with ease, and ramp up the threat from there. <p>A Justice League that kicks butt from the get go will set them apart from their avenging brethren and let them get directly down to business. Think of it more like a Bond movie with the high-paced action setup than your typical superhero flick with an entire act without super heroics. So jump right into the action, jump right into the super heroes, jump right into the Justice League of America: we need the team to start, not the individuals. <p>Which isn't to say they shouldn't have their chance to shine...
If there's one storytelling device that feels specific to the Justice League, at least when it comes to superhero comics, it's that the team will split up into smaller groups to deal with problems in separate chunks before coming together as one team for the big finale. <p>It's a neat trick that not only gives a structure to the overall story being told, but also answers the obvious question of "Why does a team with Superman, the Flash and Green Lantern even <em>need</em> those other guys, anyway? Let the Trinity (Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman) shine but give all the team members get some of the spotlight by splintering them off into smaller sub-groups until the third act.
Now don't hold this against, us, because this last one makes much of the previous 9 suggestions somewhat superfluous. But with all due respect to Geoff Johns' current run and other great writers of the past, Grant Morrison's <b>JLA</b> <i>is</i> the coolest Justice League run, well, ever. <p>Though Morrison didn't have the classic Big 7 line-up (Wally West and Kyle Rayner were Flash and Green Lantern, respectively, at the time, and Aquaman had a hook), his Pantheon of the Gods-inspired take on the superteam was, and still is, pitch perfect. <p>His storylines and threats were of a proper cinematic scale (and the White Martians wouldn't be the worst big screen threat to build a movie around) and Morrison's plotting was only eclipsed in execution by his characterization and take on the team dynamics, highlighted by perhaps the coolest <i>and</i> most badass Batman in <i>that</i> character's history and his badassedness was only enhanced by the brighter, shinier superheroes around him. <p>The blueprint is there in the form of the "New World Order" trade paperback. Screenwriter Will Beall and whoever else ends up working on the film would be wise to have a copy on the shelf and to reference it early and often.