As most of you know, I have a lot of opinions on a lot of topics. However, when it comes to this post, only one of those opinions matters: in the ongoing market share battle between Marvel and DC, Marvel is superior.
Marvel (and by extension, Disney) have injected the vast Marvel Comic Universe into mainstream media so wholly and perfectly that they’re now able to make movies for lesser-known comics such as Guardians of the Galaxy…and people are excited. Meanwhile, DC and Warner Bros. are cleaning up from a(nother) failed Superman movie and plotting for yet another Batman reboot.
DC has good comics and strong characters, but only one hero from their extended universe has been able to successfully make the transition to the big screen, and if Marvel is at a point where an Ant Man movie is in the works, DC really needs to move past Gotham’s Dark Knight.
And they are. Or at least they’re trying to. Warner Bros. has several DC movies in production or planning, including Batman vs. Superman, The Justice League, and Wonder Woman. I’m excited that they’re (kind of) branching out, and am hopeful for their success, but I still think they’ll fall short of their Marvel counterparts.
My personal opinion as to why Marvel is the superior brand is that (aside from the outrageously obvious science fiction elements) Marvel is founded in reality. The heroes save places like Los Angeles and New York instead of Metropolis and Gotham, and face many of the same “mundane” problems the audience does like struggling with underemployment or mental illness. Their origin stories also hold a certain level of plausibility, having even extraterrestrial visitors based on real world mythology. Meanwhile, DC is a little more fantastical and often comes from places the audience can’t relate to, what with the Justice League being composed of an invincible alien, a rich guy with a utility belt, an alien, a merman, a guy that got struck by lightning, an alien, a member of an alien police corps, and a warrior princess of an immortal race of giant women, to name a few.
Now, I’m not suggesting that Marvel’s movies are perfect. Daredevil and Elektra, Ghost Rider, and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, were cringe-worthy at best, and we’re not going to talk about either of the Hulk movies. Ever. There’s a distinct lack of diversity in most of their films, and only eight of the thirty-four films released in the last fifteen years have passed the Bechdel Test, despite having strong female characters who are (for the most part) excellently written. A lot of people think they moved way too quickly to reboot Spiderman, although anyone who didn’t think Sam Raimi’s trilogy needed to be redone clearly wasn’t paying attention to Tobey Maguire’s facial expressions.
These are relatively small complaints, particularly in the wake of Marvel’s success at the box office.
I like superhero movies. I go to see movies to be entertained, and Marvel entertains me. I want DC to do the same, but they get too muddied in heavy back stories trying to find deeper meaning, and forget to have fun. I hear internet rumors of what Warner Bros. is planning for the Justice League movie, and I’m scared for the mess of dark angst it could easily become.
Basically, DC needs to take a page out of Marvel’s back issue and not take itself too seriously.
In order to do this, they need to perfect the cast of the Justice League movie. Luckily, Emily and I had an extensive conversation about just this, and have compiled a list of the Ultimate Tumblr Fangirl’s casting* for The Justice League.
*About 50% of these suggestions, much like my photoshopping skills aren’t necessarily serious.
A movie is only as good as its script. The Avengers had Joss Whedon, The Justice League needs someone with equal nerd power. Neil Gaiman would bring the perfect mix of action, excitement, and fun along with the dark fantasy element for which he and DC are both so well known.
I’m going to throw this down right now: Diana Prince should be in charge of the Justice League. She’s diplomatic, a complete bad ass, and has already proven herself to be a competent leader. She’s also gone wholly unrepresented since Linda Carter’s TV stint as the Amazonian princess. Who better to bring her back to the big screen than Gina Torres? If you think the answer is anyone else, go watch Firefly and Serenity, then answer the question again.
She is definitely going to need a redesigned costume, though. No woman with even the vaguest understanding of gravity who spends her free time literally flying around fighting crime would voluntarily wear a metal-trimmed tube top. She’ll be just as sexy with her shoulders covered, I promise.
Speaking of costume redesigns, Karen Starr’s gaping cleavage hole is next on the list. Felicia Day, geek sweetheart and sci-fi sensation, will bring a tough-but-adorable performance to Superman’s cousin. Considering nearly everything Felicia has appeared in turns to ratings gold, as well as casting a well-known feminist to revamp a classically sexist role will be a double win for DC.
My extensive research of Barry Allen (which consists nearly exclusively of the JL8 webcomic) leads me to the conclusion that he’s a fanatical man-child with a massive case of ADHD. Following Marvel’s example of casting actors who secretly are their characters, Barry will be played by Chris Hardwick.
An alien with near-genius intellect who is the last of his species and carries that burden with heavy guilt? Not to typecast, but that sounds a lot like a certain Time Lord from the BBC. David Tennant with his native Scottish accent and a layer of green latex is an excellent choice for J’onn J’onzz, even if his heartbreaking look of survivor’s guilt may be less effective behind red contact lenses.
And yes, I am absolutely sticking to the insinuation that Martians have Scottish accents.
While extremely powerful in the depths of the ocean, Orin is rather useless on dry land. In order to get the most out of his superpowers, it makes sense to have him spend the majority of the movie either in open water or in a giant fish tank on wheels that gets carted into meetings. Because of the aquatic demand of the role, Michael Phelps will play the King of Atlantis.
I’m sure I’ll get some hate for this, but: Bruce Wayne is the terrible DC version of Tony Stark. They’re both billionaire playboy philanthropists who had traumatic experiences that pushed them into a life of vigilante justice, but there’s one key difference: genius. While Bruce was stealing, borrowing, and secretly paying for the technology that arms his utility belt, Tony constructed a miniaturized self-sustaining energy source that saved his life and powered a nearly-invincible suit capable of flight and weaponized offensive and defensive strategies that he designed and built, in a cave in the desert. When Tony harnessed the power of an element he discovered to aid his impossibly high-tech suit and save hundreds of thousands of people, Bruce was applying heavy eyeliner and perfecting his Bat Voice™.
Yes, they’re different characters, and yes, Batman has redeeming qualities when it comes to his no killing code and tragic back story, but come on. Batman has starred or been featured in 250 movies, TV shows, and video games since 1989, and we’ve been beaten to death with his brooding angst of I-have-no-parents-I’m-not-the-hero-Gotham-deserves-I-only-dream-in-shades-of-black-and-very-dark-gray as he crouches in silhouette on a rooftop at night.
Batman will be portrayed by unknown Alex Kurt, will never remove his costume, and will not be trusted to make big decisions that affect anything, because this is the same hero who thought letting a pre-pubescent boy fight hardened criminals in a leotard was a good idea. He will mainly sit in the corner and occasionally wheeze out pearls of wisdom such as, “I’m not wearing hockey pants” in his gravelly Bat Voice™, along with the proclamation of being “the greatest detective in the world” when he reaches the same conclusion everyone else drew several minutes before.
The beauty of Green Lantern is that anyone can be one – as long as they have the will to do what’s right and fight for justice. It’s for this reason that there have been so many Green Lanterns throughout the years. It’s also for this reason there will be multiple Green Lanterns in The Justice League. Jason Momoa, Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Godot, and Terry Crews will portray Hal Jordan, Guy Gardener, Kyle Raynor, Arisia, and John Stewart, and rotate as the Justice League’s lantern du jour in every scene. The rapid switching of the lanterns will prove to annoy the hell out of the other Justice League members, except for Batman, who never seems to notice they change.
And what about the Man of Steel, the face of the Justice League, Mr. Clark Kent himself?
Yeah, about that.
There can’t be a movie about the Justice League without Superman, but there seems to be an unavoidable trend with movies featuring Superman: they suck.
The solution we came up with for this catch-22 is to feature Superman as a character without ever showing him on screen. Every time he’s needed, it would be revealed he just left the very same room as the other characters, like a dramatically extended 90’s sitcom. Any pivotal scenes or major battles would coincide with Lois Lane finding herself in mortal peril, or Clark needing to make a deadline for The Daily Planet.
Diana soon gets fed up with his irresponsible multi-tasking, takes control of the Justice League, and stops inviting him to things.
That’s it. That’s the foolproof recipe to make The Justice League a smashing success. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be waiting for my phone to ring with a job offer from Warner Bros.