Saturday, February 08, 2014

Chain of Thoughts on Some "Justice League" Developments

I intended this at first to be all about Justice League: War but my thoughts branched out to other Justice League-related reflections.  Here we go...

→ When I saw the trailer for Justice League: War, I inferred that I won’t like it, that it’s probably going to be the most inferior of all DC animated movies.  So I decided that I won’t watch it.  But, in the end, as soon as it was out, I did watch it.  It merely confirmed my inference.  Now, I haven’t seen all DC animated movies, but I did see most of them.  Justice League: War doesn’t necessarily suck – it’s actually exciting and entertaining – but it’s my least favorite DC animate movie so far.      
→ The voice acting was terrible.  There was even one instance that some characters were seemingly just reading off the script. 
→ Most of the costumes were bad. 
→ When the New 52 ditched Superman’s iconic costume, I was against it but was not really mad about it.  To me, I preferred the old look but it was as if the new look was not that bad.  But now seeing it animated and in motion, it really doesn’t look right on Superman.  It was aesthetically awful to me.      
→ Half of the roster displayed different degrees of jerk-assery.  Most annoying of all was Green Lantern.  Ugh. 
→ It’s unfortunate that DC’s attempt of putting more depth on Superman’s character was by making him a bit of a jerk.  I really cringe on some of Superman’s lines here – he sounded like a borderline A-hole.  Also, I hated that JL: War’s depiction of Superman’s approach in fighting is totally like his Man of Steel counterpart: reckless and no regard for collateral damage at all.  Now, I could give that that worked in Man of Steel, because of its “realistic” and cynical context and tone, but that should never define who Superman is.  Hence, between these and the god-awful costume, I totally despised what DC’s “make-over” did to Superman.     
→ The only awesome thing about this movie is Batman.  Because Batman is always awesome.  Jason O’Mara was no Kevin Conroy but he delivered a decent performance. 
→ I probably would have hated Green Lantern less – and might have even completely liked him, even if he was a big A-hole – if it was Nathan Fillion voicing him again.
→ The Flash was fine, too.  Next to Batman, Flash is the most likable character of the movie.  He had some great action sequences.   
→ Third most likable character was Captain Marvel (Yeah, yeah.  He’s solely known as Shazam now.  But he’ll always be a Captain Marvel to me).  Yeah, he had some annoying moments where he came out as a jerk (especially when he was in his Billy Bateson form), but he looked fantastic and had great action moments.  
→ I have no clue why they gave Aquaman’s roster spot to Shazam (in the original New 52 comics, it was Aquaman who founded the Justice League with the others, not Shazam).    DC is still embarrassed by him, I guess, even though New 52 has turned him into a real badass already.       
→ It was an origin story on how the New 52 version of the Justice League started.  So it was important that their bringing together was emphatically done.  However, though they managed to work together and triumph as a team, I did not feel any chemistry developing among them.

* * *
→ A chilling thrill went up my spine when it was announced during last year’s San Diego Comic Con that a Batman/Superman movie is set for 2015 (which is recently moved to 2016).  That’s brilliant!  This was a movie I’ve wanted to happen for a long time.  So excited.  
→ Awesome the Avengers movie might have been, Batman and Superman’s reputation is enough to match the entire Avengers’ movie roster in terms of pop culture weight.  Even if they make this movie just as awesome as the Batman/Superman: Public Enemies animated movie, then that would be more than enough.   
→ It’s implied that this movie is going to have a “Batman vs. Superman” premise.  I’m cool with that – the two heroes clashing first before teaming-up against a common threat.  But If there’s going to be a fight, it has to be compelling and the stakes believable and exciting, i.e. they have to be in equal standing.  Hence, there’s a need to show Batman’s tactical genius – completely putting together and executing a strategy that will allow him to take on Superman properly and squarely, since obviously, power-wise, Superman will never have any trouble kicking his butt. 
→ The Internet hate has been great on the casting of Ben Afleck as the new Batman.  Though he’s not my choice for the role, I’m willing to give him the benefit of a doubt, giving him a chance.  Who knows, he might turn out great after all.  Just like Michael Keaton.  When Tim Burton casted Keaton as Batman, the intensity of backlash from the fans was unparalleled; great was the hate and disapproval.  There were even letter campaigns (that was the days before the Internet) to remove the role from Keaton.  Fans can’t picture Beetlejuice as Batman (just like how fans now can’t picture Daredevil as Batman).  But look how it turned out?  Michael Keaton probably did the greatest depiction of Batman in the big screen (Yeah, I pick Keaton over Christian Bale as Batman.  But Bale was a better Bruce Wayne).  Same thing happened when Heath Ledger got the role for the Joker, the Internet raged with fan displeasure.  But, again, see how that turned out?  Ledger was able to deliver a powerful, captivating reinvention of Joker.  So Afleck might suck in the end after all, but for now, based on history, I prefer to go on “wait-and-see” mode.
→ The rationale for Afleck’s casting is the story requires an older, tired Batman.  I’m not so sure about this, since I’ve always known Batman and Superman being in the same group.  Still, Afleck is not that “older” looking, so it’s not an issue. 
→ My primary choice for the Batman role has always been for Christian Bale to reprise it.  Sure, Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy is over – a concluded story that was never meant to be part of a larger “superhero universe.”  But Bale can play a new Batman by merely never acknowledging the events in the Nolan Batmanverse ever happened.  This would have given us a familiar Batman face, but it would be as if he is a different Batman character entirely.  It also gives the illusion that the Dark Knight Trilogy is loosely connected to the new Man of Steel-spearheaded, shared DC Cinematic Universe.   
→ Then, we learned that Wonder Woman was going to be in this movie and Gal Gadot was cast for the role.  Like with Afleck’s casting, I am not hating with Gadot’s casting.  But, as of this point, I’m not feeling it.  Sure, Gadot has proven to be hot and badass in the Fast and the Furious movies, but Wonder Woman is not only hot and badass.  She also has depth.  Now, I love to see her be brought to life in the big screen.  But I have some doubts that Gadot can pull it off properly.     
I can’t picture the frail-looking, wiry Gadot as the amazon Wonder Woman.
In terms of physique, the “actress” of Axel Braun’s Wonder Woman porn parody is more qualified than Gadot to play the role. 
→ Nonetheless, again, I am not hating.  At this point, I’m just not comfortable of the casting.  But I’ll give Ms. Gadot a chance.  Besides, there is news that she is bulking up for the role.  Good for her.  Moreover, she knows Krav Maga (no surprise there, since she’s from Israel), and that has to count for something for Krav Maga is awesome.    
→ Then rumor began to circulate that a Justice League movie will be shot back-to-back.  Whoa.  It means DC is rushing to catch up with Marvel’s Avengers, and I am not really entirely sold that this is a good idea.  I would definitely love to see a Justice League movie.  But I want it to be epic.  I don’t want the opportunity go to waste.  If DC will rush things, there’s a possibility that the quality might be sacrificed.  Moreover, this could also affect the quality of the Batman/Superman movie.   
→ Another game-changing rumor, which is being fueled by the Internet and the Rock himself, is that Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson will star as the Green Lantern, John Stewart.  I would have infinitely preferred for Marvel to cast him as Luke Cage, but if it happened to be true that DC has already gotten him on board to play John Stewart, then that is a casting I greatly applaud. 
→ My preferred Justice League movie line-up:  Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern (John Stewart), Aquaman, Green Arrow, and Martian Manhunter.   
Or they can go with the New 52’s “Super Seven” line-up. I’m also fine with that.
→ I find it practical for DC to connect their TV universe to their movie universe, thus, the Flash and Green Arrow characters that have been portrayed in the Arrow TV show should be cast for the roles
→ Man of Steel has made precedence that the DC shared movie universe is going be more “realistic” and less “comic bookish.”  I’m intrigued on how they are going to make that work.   Will it really be to their advantage by going this route?  The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that the mood the Man of Steel has set for DC’s cinematic universe might not be proper after all.  But it could still work.  (Maybe.)  I just think it would have been easier for DC if they had gone with the “comic bookish” route.  Now they have to stick with the moody, serious tone they have established, without being too much grim and cynical.  Again, it could still work and might turn out to be the brilliant approach after all.  But they have to be careful.  It won’t be much fun if it gets too serious and angsty – too much negativity.

* * *

→ Meanwhile, in the comics…   Lex Luthor and Captain Cold are joining the Justice League!!!  Based on the preview art above, the two are in and their respective archenemies, Superman and Flash, are out.  And it seems that Lex Luthor is going to be the new leader (much to the disgust of Batman)!  In the current “Forever Evil” event – wherein the evil doppelgangers of the Justice League that came from an alternate universe, the Crime Syndicate, have annihilated the Justice League, conquered the world, and obtained the allegiance of many DC supervillains – Luthor is leading a coalition made up of DC supervillains, which includes Captain Cold, that have refused to concur with the Crime Syndicate, along with Batman and Catwoman, to overthrow the Crime Syndicate. So I guess Luthor and Captain Cold are likely going to be significant contributors in defeating the Crime Syndicate, which will oblige their undisputable memberships into the Justice League.  I am not totally sold that this is a brilliant development, but this is nonetheless extremely intriguing.  It seems that this is going to be a lot of fun.  The interactions, pissing matches, and unholy alliance that are going to happen between Batman and Luthor alone make this worthwhile.  
→ Next to Peter Parker’s return, this is the comic book event I’m greatly looking forward to in April.  

No comments: