Well, our confirmation is here, in the form of the news that Zack Snyder will direct <b>Justice League</b> after he finishes up on the sequel to <b>Man of Steel</b>, which most seem to be calling <b>Superman vs. Batman</b>. <p>Whew… <p>So, what do we know so far? Well, we know that our current Batman and Superman are already cast and around, alongside Wonder Woman and quite possibly Cyborg. We know that, most likely, the TV shows and movies won’t be linked (which, given that the TV shows are already opening up several disparate DC TV Universes and appearing on multiple channels, isn’t too surprising). And we know that the movie won’t be out “before 2018.” <p>So, Zack, can we call you Zack? You’ve got some time. You’ve got a whole other movie to get through first. We get it. But here are ten things you should be keeping in mind until then.
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.
Guys, you tried. You had a cool concept and some pretty special effects, but clearly, Ryan Reynolds’ Hal Jordan <b>Green Lantern</b> movie didn’t work - and it’s okay. You can let it go, you can move beyond it… especially since you have several other options to fill that role in your new movie universe. <p>Let’s face it, John Stewart is your best option for a human Green Lantern appearing alongside the Justice League, and for multiple reasons. His ex-military mindset certainly fits the world you’ve already been creating. His architecture background gives you a great, easy in (just slap him in <i>Superman/Batman</i>, in charge of the “Rebuilding Metropolis” effort!). And thanks to years of <b>Justice League: The Animated Series</b>, he’s <i>the</i> Green Lantern to a bunch of kids who now happen to be in that glorious 18-35 year-old range you’d so very much like to capture. <p>There was outrage and surprise from many of those fans when John was <i>not</i> the GL of the solo film, so this gives you a chance to say “We listened to the fans! Hooray for us!” and distance yourself from a film with a 26% Rotten Tomatoes score, all at the same time.
J’onn J’onzz was, at a time, a founding member of the Justice League. Since the New 52’s relaunch, he’s been the member of several teams (including a couple of Leagues), but that character still seems to be trying to find his place amongst the pantheon in the new DC Universe. <p>Well, a movie appearance would certainly help that right along, wouldn’t it? The key here is to make sure he’s not just another Superman - sure, he has shapeshifting abilities on top of it all, but the super strength and flight sure looks familiar. So why not play up what J’onn used to really represent: the heart of the team. As a character who hopes so desperately that these larger-than-life beings can work together to create a world even greater than the one he so recently lost, J’onn can give you some unique perspective to a growing team. Not to mention, the special effects options of a Martian Manhunter finally cutting loose in the third act are an exciting prospect.
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. <p>Of course, it sounds like this will happen with the second Superman film. There’s the obvious bit that they’re co-billing it with Batman, and the other casting news, both official like Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and still unconfirmed like Cyborg’s casting, that clearly states: Yes, we’re going to do this. <p>Really, this is almost open advice to <i>all</i> superhero movies - people like those after-credits scenes. They’re fun, and give you that one extra moment where, after the come down of the conclusion, you get to leave the theater feeling invigorated and excited for something brand new. If you’re going to outright steal an idea: this is the <i>one</i> to do.
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>While the movie Green Lantern may have started with the Caucasian Hal Jordan in its choice of hero (which we've already argued for a switch above), 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. If reports are true, that's something Warner Bros is already considering - with Ray Fisher rumored to have been cast. <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.