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WB Goes “Gangster” With The Justice League!

By: Adam Basciano

With Marvel’s “The Avengers”  breaking almost every box office record imaginable, I knew it was just a matter of time before Warner Brothers & DC Entertainment answered with their next move.  I even told several friends that I wouldn’t be surprised If they announced a Justice League film after “The Avengers” opening weekend.

So my timing was off and so were my initial preconceived notions about the circumstances surrounding the announcement.  Jeff Sneider of Variety says that “while Disney and Marvel were busy shooting “The Avengers” last year, Warner Brothers quietly began getting its own all-star superhero pic back on track, tapping “Gangster Squad” scribe Will Beall to write “Justice League,” based on the WB-controlled stable of DC Comics superheroes.”

I don’t know much about Will Beall but I’ve seen a trailer for “Gangster Squad,” and it looks good.  It’s got A quality actors like Seann Penn, Josh Brolin, and Nick Nolte, who don’t seem like guys who sign onto a movie just for a paycheck.  Hopefully that means Beall’s script work impressed them.  The writer also did a two-year stint on “Castle” and I’ve always enjoyed that show.  He also seems to be a favourite of the studio, having written their Leathal Weapon and Logan’s Run reboots for them.

Variety also mentioned that the studio hired Michael Goldenberg (Green Lantern, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), to write a Wonder Woman film.  How exactly Warner Brothers goes about this Justice League film is anyones guess at this point.  Do they start from scratch like they had planned a few years ago, when George Miller nearly brought the JL to the screen with all new actors.  Or, do they create a connected universe as Marvel has done.  I think it could work either way if you have a solid script and good talent onboard.

The only way the studio has any hope in hell of getting Christian Bale to return as Batman, is if Christopher Nolan is somehow involved.  So chances are, we’ll see a new actor in the cape and cowl.  That actually makes more sense, given that the studio has said they will relaunch the Batman franchise post “The Dark Knight Rises.”  The studio could probably get Ryan Reynolds to reprise the role of Green Lantern.  Even though I liked the film, despite its flaws, the film was torn apart by critics and underwhelmed at the box office.  Therefore, if I had to bet, someone else will play the emerald ring slinger.  Given that we don’t have stand alone films for Wonder Woman or The Flash yet, that part of the discussion is moot.  However,  we do have a new Superman in Henry Cavill set to debut in “Man of Steel” next year. I’d like to see him transition from the standalone films to this one.  Until I see “Man of Steel”, I have no way of knowing how Henry will do in the role.  Assuming he does well, it makes logical sense.  I mean how ridiculous would it be to have to cast an entirely new Superman, after just having establish Cavill in a rebooted Superman franchise. Not to mention that a new actor means that 4 actors would have played Superman in potentially a decade or less.  That’s of course if you count Tom Welling’s turn on “Smallville.”

At this point we have no clue when Warner Brothers wants this to be released, so it’s impossible to know what their plan is regarding a shared universe or not.  If I was a betting man, I’d bet that Justice League will be its own entity.  I think that they will springboard characters like The Flash and Wonder Woman into solo films following Justice League.  So my advice is DON’T SCREW THIS UP! If you’re going to go that route, be very careful because a failure with this movie will destroy DC Comics film franchises going forward.  My advice, draw inspiration from  Geoff John’s first storyline from the New 52, Grant Morrison’s run in the late 90’s and the Justice League animated series, specifically the first two seasons.

The tone of the film is not known, but one thing is for sure, it would be a mistake to rip off “The Avengers.”  Apparently, acclaimed comic book writer Mark Millar (Kick – Ass, Wanted) has some inside info that suggest that “Justice League” won’t be a ripoff of “The Avengers.”  ” A pal of mine is good friends with the new Justice League screenwriter and said his take on the team is incredible. Very real-world and not at all what you might expect. WB has a chequered history with their superhero characters. They’re great with their boy wizards, but less consistent with their DC stable. But my chum said that this could be a thing of beauty and has been in the works for a little while now, not just an Avengers knock-off. Best of luck to them. The tidbits I heard sound quite dark and mature, which isn’t what I expected. But word on Gangster Squad is great too so I feel this is in really good hands.”

If Mark Millar’s info is correct, then dark and mature fits in with the tone of the recent Batman films and Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman film. That would definitely contrast the lighter, fluffier, pop-corn tone of the Marvel Universe films.

(Sources: Variety, MillarWorld)

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