The Justice League is one of comics most enduring, perhaps most iconic Super-teams ever, beating The Avengers to the punch by 3 years with a 1960 debut in The Brave and the Bold #28 with a line up of DC’s then (and indeed now) most super-ist characters; Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Aquaman, and the Martian Manhunter.
With the exception of Martian Manhunter (now replaced by Cyborg) this line up has been pretty recurrent throughout DC’s Justice League incarnations (formerly Justice League Of America) and history. There have been varying line-ups, but the team has always returned to it’s core icons with the trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman at it’s centre.
And smart money would have said; had this iconic line up made it to the big screen any time before April 11, 2012 it might just have cashed in like a champ and left fanboys weeping into their wallets for more of the same.
The problem is that The Avengers got there first, after a much talked about Justice League film by Mad Max director George Miller failed to ever transpire. And not only had Avengers set the ground work with a raft of character stand-alone movies for four of it’s major players, but it was helmed by ultimate fan boy messiah figure; Joss Whedon – Buffy Creator – Angel Creator – FireFly Creator and essentially ‘the man who can do no wrong’.
Needless to say he served up a fan feast of epic proportions stuffed with A-List talent and a superhero scale that has yet to be repeated, leaving DC/Warner Bros. with one successful comics franchise off of the back of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films, but more worryingly an un-established League of Superheroes, the only two of which to get screen time – Superman and Green Lantern – had suffered outings that were lets just say it; Boston Steamers on the hottest day of the year!
The ‘Everyman’ Factor
The most important thing Joss Whedon and single character franchise helmers Jon Favreau, Kenneth Brannagh, Joe Johnston and Hell, even Louis Leterrier managed to do as directors on their respective characters however, was make them more interesting as people than the powers that they wield as heroes. Using the core ‘Stan The Man’ concept that has been Marvel’s edge for years – ‘the everyman Superhero’ factor – the directors wooed audiences with an Iron Man panged with guilt issues, a Captain America suffering from loss, a Bruce Banner haunted by his inner demon and Thor, a fallen god in need of redemption.
All of these characters are flawed and relatable, and thus instantly accessible to the viewer. And this is definitely not the case with DC, whose pantheon are more Iconic, longer in the tooth and definitely more powerful, but at their cost; slightly more removed and aloof than Marvel’s ‘Joe Superhero’ line-up.
This is likely why Batman, a man suffering the loss of his parents and a very human need to avenge them continues to be DC’s, and definitely the Justice Leagues most popular character. He’s the most human and accessible of the lot, while many of the other Leaguer’s are a touch off limits.
So below I decided to take 5 of the core Justice League characters that, much like your great aunt Maude, are out of touch and in need of a big change if they are to warm our hearts and succeed as solo movies or as members of the biggest movie super-team never made. Flash, Cyborg and Batman are all safe because they’re diverse enough that we the audience can relate. But the rest’a these guys need to wake up and smell the 21st century.
And no more pants on the outside!
5. Green Lantern
Hal Jordan has amazing will power (unless that means willing himself not to loose his job) and generally speaking he has all the chops to make it as a well rounded, flawed and relatable character. But GL’s fundamental problem is that while he may be an interesting regular guy with regular guy problems, he’s pretty untouchable as a superhero.
“his power is that he manifests green plasma from his imagination and uses them as weapons against someone? Even that in itself if you just imagine then watching a fight scene with a guy who’s like a hundred feet away making plasma manifestations fight someone – it’s not exactly raucous, getting up close and personal.
True, there isn’t an up close and personal John McClaine style fight scene to be had in a Green Lantern scenario, and that doesn’t lend itself very well to cinema (particularly Martin Campbell’s first effort). There isn’t any satisfying 5 minute batterings at the hands of a muscular giant like Bane followed by months of pain and endurance to make that epic comeback from an inescapable pit in the middle of the desert for ole Hal.
GL is a guy who only gets in trouble when his ring runs out of gas or he’s having a bad will power day. Otherwise he has the situation sewn up and is back on earth in time to get fired from the air force again, for I don’t know, the 40th time.
Follow comics writer Geoff Johns approach of breaking/taking away his ring and kicking the s**t out of him, giving Hal a real dilemma to come back from. And then throw in some low down and dirty fisticuffs and out side the box smarts that show Hal’s as tough and ingenuitive without the ring as he is with it.
Also why not show a bit of ethnic diversity and make the movie GL John Stewart or Simon Baz instead? And if at all possible throw in some intergalactic zombies. People love intergalactic zombies!
Tags: aquaman, green lantern, justice league, martian manhunter, superman, wonder woman