Man of Steel Leaps to a Justice League Movie?

Although I was a fan of Superman comics since childhood, I had no great love for Richard Donner’s Superman movies.  It was not a fan boy disdain for a movie that wasn’t an exact copy of the comics, but that the 1978 Superman The Movie just didn’t live up to the hype.  Mario Puzo, writer of The Godfather, wrote the story for both Superman and Superman II, so for me, the expectations were pretty high.  Instead, I got a story in which at the end of the film, Superman goes back in time and fixes everything.  That’s functionally no different than the character waking up to discover it was all a dream.  To me, that has to be one of the worst endings for a major motion picture.  No matter  what they paid Mario Puzo for that, it was too much.

Title sequence from show opening; containing f...

Title sequence from show opening; containing from left to right, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Flash and Hawkgirl. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I didn’t have exceptionally high expectations for Man of Steel. I suppose that’s the best way to go into a movie since I ended up enjoying it without bringing my Mario Puzo baggage into the theater.  It was Superman recast as more of a Science Fiction movie.  Superman who grew up not knowing his origins and who he was, and a Superman who (spoiler alert –bail now if you haven’t seen the movie) actually goes too far and kills his nemesis, General Zod.

Although Man of Steel was no Avengers or Star Trek, it was on a tier just below that; a good retelling of the origin and a good possible springboard for future movies involving superheroes from the DC Universe including a Justice League movie.  Warner would love to capture the magic that The Avengers has brought.  I just don’t think it’s possible to replicate that with the DC Universe.  There are too many differences that would prevent that.

For one thing, the known characters are lame.  With the exception of Batman, most of the DC characters that Warner has to pull from their grab bag just would not be interesting on film.  Wonder Woman is a character that has been attempted for movie and film for years, including a series developed for this fall, and one planned for last fall and they just couldn’t make it work.  It’s hard to take a character inspired from Greek mythology and fit it into the same Science Fiction Universe that Man of Steel has created.  The Martian Manhunter is so powerful as to be almost god-like, and would look ridiculous outside of an animated treatment.  Green Lantern, although it didn’t exactly bomb, failed to generate any excitement and it would be hard to argue that character deserved another shot (although The Hulk got exactly that kind of makeover for Avengers).  It’s possible though.  There are multiple Green Lanterns to choose from.  If Hal Jordan doesn’t work, there is also John Stewart, Guy Gardiner, and Kyle Rayner.   One of them is bound to work.

And then there is Aquaman.  Less said about him the better.

Although it’s just in the rumor stage, it’s possible that Warner may try to pull a reverse Avengers and do a Justice League movie first then spin out stand alone movies from there.  That would be an exceedingly bad idea in my opinion.  None of the Marvel characters used in the Avengers were really that well known (with the exception of the Hulk).  They had name recognition, but no knowledge of the characters and no reason for the movie going public to have an interest in them until that interest was created by the stand alone movies.  Those stand alone movies made the appearance of characters like Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man appearing in a single movie an event.

Marvel walked before it ran, and that’s what DC needs to do.

How, you may ask?  If it were up to me, I would make the Man of Steel sequel a Superman/Batman movie.  Since Batman has to be recreated and reimagined anyway, why not make the next movie one in which the Batman character is introduced as living in the same movie Universe as Superman?  Given the popularity of Batman, if you can’t draw fantastic box office numbers with a movie that has both Superman and Batman, there is no point doing a Justice League movie.

Creatively I think it would make for a great movie.  In the comics, Batman was often able to get the upper hand on his super powered buddies by thinking several steps ahead. Superman plays checkers, Batman plays chess.  Naturally enough, a super powered being would tend to rely on those same super powers as a solution to any problem, but in a world of super powered people, how does a normal human compete?

With his mind of course.

Just an idea, and if it doesn’t work, Superman can always go back in time to fix everything.

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Truth, Justice, and the 99%

Or, Superman Occupies Wall Street

I was minding my own tweeting business, when I got a tweet stating that Superman had joined the Occupy Wall Street Movement.  I was a little surprised by this since at this point, I figured OWS as a movement was about as dead as a doornail.  It had been months since an Occupier has pooped on a police car, and there had been little Occupy terrorism in several months.  What benefit could DC have in involving their flagship character, the most popular comic superhero in the world, with a fringe group of crackpots?

But following the link on the tweet it led me to DC Comics character description of the Man of Steel:

A universal icon, Superman means different things to the many diverse people he inspires: He’s an alien; an immigrant from a faraway land just looking to help; a country boy fighting the never-ending battle for truth and justice. And recent comics have truly spotlighted his role as the people’s hero: Following a neophyte Man of Steel still learning his powers’ limits, Superman fights the evil corporate tycoons and corrupt one-percenters that have overwhelmed the establishment.

What the hell?  “one-percenters?”  “evil corporate tycoons?”

One couldn’t also notice that the “American Way” had been excised from the truth and justice Superman unendingly battles for.  Not so much a surprise as Superman renounced his American citizenship in Action Comics 900.  Of course DC had been wrecking both their characters and their universe since their Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC’s 1985 series that eliminated all of its comic alternate universes.  It made a great storyline, but a massive comicsverse such as the ones DC and Marvel have can’t exist without multiple alternate universes.  They clear up continuity problems. And they allow a rebooting updating of the characters such as Marvel did with its Ultimate line.

Without alternate universes, DC has been trying to reboot its prime universe over and over, updating it to the point that none of the history a true comic geek knows about his favorite characters stays history.  Characters origins and previous adventures get altered and changed on a whim.  DC eventually corrected that, resurrecting the multiple universes, but their most recent reboot gave DC the chance to totally redo all of their characters.  An opportunity they apparently took advantage of by making decades old superhero, Green Lantern, gay.  DC did wimp out on this since they took another universe Green Lantern, Earth 2’s Alan Scott, as the gay lantern.  Still, is there really a comic market for that?

I get that artists and other fartsy types are likely to be left leaning.  A little politics mixed in with comics has been going back years.  During the seventies Green Arrow and Green Lantern would simultaneously fight aliens and racism in their own joint comic book.  The series had several sophisticated story lines involving what were then topical issues of the day;  poverty, class, Vietnam, and drugs.  Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy had a heroin addiction.

But DC, why did you have to go and ruin Superman?

They’ve actually taken the most popular comic book character in the world and made him a lefty political extremist.  And DC wonders why sales of their comics continue to drop.

Since DC is determined to crush both their sales and the characters they had spent decades cultivating, they might as well let the characters go out with a bang before bankruptcy.  Why not reboot the DCU again (20th time’s the charm right?) and make Superman black. Superman, whose alter ego is a mild mannered reporter for Media Matters, can fight super villains like the Koch Brothers. As an illegal immigrant himself, Superman can kick down the border fence in Arizona, and fly back to Boston to smoke pot in the Commons with the other Occupiers by noon.

How can DC go wrong?

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