It was not a very good day for DC comics yesterday. Not only did their editor in chief and executive editor engage in a humiliating display of Kool-Aid fueled happy talk with enough papering over to remodel Versailles, but a whole new round of enthusiasm-sapping rumors about the Justice League movie made the rounds. The word this time: Will Beall’s script sucks and has to be scrapped before a decent director can be hired. Juicy rumors abound:
Some sources seem to think the whole movie is going to fall apart and never happen, while some believe that Warner Bros will keep moving forward, unwilling to lose the superhero arms race. Beall's script supposedly includes Darkseid and a heavy cosmic threat. But the script has been half-baked from the beginning, with reports saying that heroes (beyond the core five of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Green Lantern) have been cut and added from the proceedings seemingly at studio executive will.
JUSTICE LEAGUE’s fate is now tied to MAN OF STEEL, from the erratic Zack Snyder, and no one at the studio seems too gung ho about that—some are now wondering if the Justice League movie will even be made.
And just to add insult to injury, earlier in the week Mark Millar was engaging in championship level concern trolling about the Justice League movie.
In case you don’t know, “concern trolling” is when your worst enemy undercuts you by sympathetically pointing out your flaws and fretting about them. In this case Millar has had a mad on against DC for many years—to be fair, the feeling is entirely mutual—and his new gig as the movie consultant for Fox’s mini-Marvel stable of the X-men, Wolverine, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool gives him a great platform to zing DC’s movie efforts. While professing to love the DC characters, he still worries “I actually think the big problem for them is the characters are just too out of date,” he told SciFi Now. “The characters were created 75 years ago, even the newest major character was created 68 years ago, so they’re in a really weird time.
“Now the stuff I grew up with… I adored the DC stuff growing up but really, how do you do a movie about Green Lantern,” Millar continued. “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.”
Burn! After conjuring painful memories of that awful Green Lantern movie that still makes Barry Meyer wake up in a cold sweat, Millar concludes with words that are probably echoing in every WB execs head as we speak: “The actual logistics of each member of the Justice League is disastrous, and you put them all together and I think you get an excellent way of losing $200 million.”
Oh Mark Millar. Couldn’t you say the same thing about Mr Fantastic and the Invisible Woman? It’s true the WB blew it badly when they had Joss Whedon on board and drove him away. But are you really telling me that a WELL-DONE movie with the same belief in its characters as THE AVENGERS starring BATMAN, SUPERMAN and WONDER WOMAN couldn’t be a huge hit?
I mean…come on now. Audiences like decently made superhero movies. As Amazing Spider-Man showed, they even like a decently made superhero movie that they saw a few years before and already own on DVD!
Isn’t the problem that WB doesn’t know how to make a decent superhero movie? (And didn’t Millar once beg the studio to let him write a Superman movie?)
Warner Bros is falling way behind in the superhero arms race. It isn’t even a shit or get off the pot choice… they need to find the pot. Or let Christopher Nolan or Thomas Tull or somebody find it.
Stay the course, Warner Bros! Make that movie! If you can just pretend to be excited about it….maybe someone else can get excited too.
Millar’s remarks seem to have a “hire me, hire me!” subtext to them. THAT is his argument? That characters created past as certain time can’t have good movies made about them? Tell that to Sherlock Holmes, Dracula and Zorro, dufus.
Millar’s remarks seem to have a “hire me, hire me!” subtext to them. THAT is his argument? That characters created past a certain time can’t have good movies made about them? Tell that to Sherlock Holmes, Dracula and Zorro, dufus.
I think any of these type of movies biggest problem is when they try to make these movies by committee instead of finding someone (or an already established team of people) with a singular vision and passion for the material and just let them do their thing. Spider-Man 3 failed because they took the reigns away from Raimi for the most part. Green Lantern felt like a script by committee and directed by a guy who was looking for a paycheck.
Something Donner, Burton, Singer, Nolan, and Whedon have all seemed to proven is that when you let these people do their jobs they come out with something that is both creatively satisfying for the artists involved and financially successful for the studio. The Studios have to be less concerned with getting the director from that last big blockbuster and writer of that last big blockbuster and more concerned with people who have a real and true dedication to the material itself.
“Concern trolling” is right on. Ha! He makes those comments knowing full well that a movie about a talking tree who only speaks one word and a gun toting raccoon is the most anticipated movie of the next several years.
It’s pretty clear that what Warner Bros needs to do is let 2nd and 3rd tier DC characters go to other studios for films. They get a little money, no hassle and don’t have to worry if the films bomb. But if a Plastic Man comedy or a Challengers of the Unknown summer blockbuster or a Doom Patrol indy flick were to hit it big at the box office, it would smooth the way for Warner bringing out the big guns.
What MBunge suggests worked for Marvel with Men In Black and Blade, and got them turned around from The Comic Company That Has Never Made A Good Movie Ever toward what they are now.
Hold to the long game, people. It wasn’t that long ago that DC was breaking all-time movie release records by sticking to its iconic characters at the same time Marvel was *****ing out stuff not even worthy of direct-to-video market. “We’ve got these great, iconic characters! But he doesn’t have a skull on his chest. Oh, the wonderful skull is there. Look closely at the knife hilt. Fans will know it’s him.”. They realized it and corrected course. It took them years, but that’s finally paid off.
DC could actually be worse off; better nothing than their own Hoff-tastic Nick Fury, Capt. America, or Fantastic Four.
I would be happy if WB just had some sort of game plan. If it exists I’ve seen no evidence of it. Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder can only do so much, so there needs to be a plan that cultivates a series of movies that bring a level of entertainment and sophistication (something both DARK KNIGHT and WATCHMEN accomplished) to DC properties.
If would also urge DC/WB to continue its push into TV in the same manner they have done with SMALLVILLE and ARROW.
There is plenty of material still to mine for the WB Animation movies and short subjects. I’m going to keep screaming it until someone hears me – WE WANT A GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT ANIMATED MOVIE! Animation is an area where DC/WB can really shine as they have kicked Marvel’s ass when it comes to the quality of their cartoons. They just need to amp up the level of experimentation and creativity they’ve put forth thus far. GOTHAM KNIGHTS is an excellent example of the kind of project that costs little but yields great returns. Providing different directors/studios carte blanche to create their vision of Batman is energizing.
Now if they could just bring that to the big screen again as they did with the 1st Batman movie, MASK OF THE PHANTASM.
DC is sitting on a few goldmines that if done correctly could be major box office winners! I break it up in three phases.
My picks for huge Hollywood success are Shazam! Plastic Man, Spectre, and Metal Men.’If I am DC I start trying to mine these great underdeveloped characters.
Next up we turn to Jack Kirby`s DC characters.
These would include New Gods,Demon and Kamandi.
Now the Vertigo picks which would be Sandman,Starman,Hitman,Preacher and a Hellblazer reboot.
If DC followed my advice they would be giving my favorite comic book publisher Marvel a run, but what will happen will be a mediocre JLA reboot that will be so bad that they will scrap all future DC Comic movies other than Batman and Superman movies.
“The Amazing Spam’
Make Mine Marvel!
If DC had any brains, they’d turn the live-action franchise over to Bruce Timm and Brad Bird and get the hell out of the way.
The way they’ve been running both the film and print areas though (i.e, into the ground), shows that they don’t have any brains.
I can’t fault the WB people too much for their concept problems. To people who don’t read comics, the DC superheroes are probably kids’ comics icons who make people think of Super Friends cartoons. Putting them in a movie with a plot that will appeal to adults and young adults who don’t read comics isn’t easy.
Can anyone actually imagine Superman, for example, cursing as with “Oh, shit!” Or would he say “Great Rao!” For viewers who want a movie with a storyline, just seeing the characters up on the screen isn’t enough.
You know those movies like Die Hard or Back to the Future that are mainstays of TV movie re-runs because everyone loves them? Iron Man is one of those films and it’s one of the films in large part because of Robert Downey Jr.
That’s why he’s on the center of one Avengers poster and the other makes sure to feature him as Tony Stark alongside a shot of Iron Man (because you can’t see his face in the armor).
Neither Green Lantern nor the upcoming Man of Steel has that guy. And if they want to (in my opinion wrongly) include Nolan’s Batman films in their cinematic universe then all they’ve got there is Heath Ledger’s Joker and he’s both not a hero and his actor is not with us anymore.
Re Sandman. Isn’t it been optioned by Gaiman who controls the rights for the characters to HBO? I know his American Gods is being developed as a HBO series.
“DC could actually be worse off; better nothing than their own Hoff-tastic Nick Fury, Capt. America, or Fantastic Four.”
I’m guessing you haven’t seen the Justice League TV movie.
Sadly, I think the DC/ Warners execs think just like Millar – “These characters are lame”. The lack of confidence shows when relaunching your line of comics books with a New 52 you hire writers already on staff and scribes from the good ol’ 90’s. The success of the Nolan Batman movies furthers this due to the grounded approach Nolan took. That shows a lack of understanding what made the Bat films good in the first place. It’s very much “The Watchmen effect”, great creators taking a more mature or grounded approach to superheroes and the company’s only take away from that is to go “grim and gritty”.
As weird as it may sound, i think the general populace knows the Justice League more so the Avengers despite the massive film from last year. Whether it be from Super Friends or Donner’s Superman or Burton’s Batman or Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman or the most effectively named superhero that sums him up clearly (The Flash) or the DCAU shows that featured the other members of the JLA’s big 7 or the joke that with the right touch would be king that is Aquaman, people know this characters. Some call it dated. Others could call it sustainability.
“He makes those comments knowing full well that a movie about a talking tree who only speaks one word and a gun toting raccoon is the most anticipated movie of the next several years.”
Ummm…. no. There must be seven or eight hundred movies that are more anticipated than Guardians of the Galaxy.
Sorry Millar is right whether he is disingenuous or not. Characters like Superman and Wonder Woman are only interesting in a retro way. There is no plausible way anyone could tell me a character from 2013 would ever call themselves Superman or Wonder Woman. Well maybe Kanye West would call himself Superman. The names and origins are so dated and ridiculous. You definitely cannot make a movie by committee and when the source material is garbage it’s a recipe for failure. It’s amusing to me that anyone would even comment on Guardians. Really? What sounds more relevant today a talking raccoon and tree or some jackass in a cape referring to himself as “Superman.” DC is the land of denial. Don’t get me wrong, on one hand it is immensely enjoyable to watch DC struggle and go through a slow painful death. On the other hand it’s a little bit like fat Elvis if you just die and go away it’s easier to have fond memories.
Watch an episode of the Justice League cartoon. Base it on that, not on the comic books and you’ll be fine.
Joe: Oh man, that’s the pilot with Guy Gardner/Fire/Ice version of JLA, right. Yeah, touche’. For all of its equally crappy campiness, it offered a then-new format. The whole single-member/character panel interviews were something done exactly the way Marvel’s recently done them on a bunch of occasions in comics like Bendis’ Avengers and the Annihilation War spawned Guardians of the Galaxy series.
Mark Millar is utterly tiresome.
It is not as though Warner Bros. has never had any success getting their properties into the mass market. Beyond the Batman films (and in the distant past the Superman ones), DC has gotten just about its entire universe into animation. The best DC animated stuff is as good as superhero adaptations have ever gotten and even the tier below is pretty terrific. WB has also gotten some long-running series on the air. Their failure relative to Marvel is in recent, non-Batman movies.
Marvel didn’t just fall into its success in that area. They let young, ambitious creators re-imagine their core franchises in the Ultimate Universe, which remains the keystone of Mr. Millar’s career. They let their production team learn on lower budget features with C-list characters. They made an effort to be talent friendly across all their channels. In other words, they were smart about producing better content.
As a result, they were able to monetize some very old and very dorky properties. I am sure that various creators with faded glory were sneering at their library once upon a time.
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