Four Ways to Make a Good Justice League Movie

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by Howard Decker @HowardTheDeck on April 17, 2013

in Lists

What’s up with the Justice League movie?


Every week we get new insight into Warner Bros. plans for a Justice League movie, and every week the forecast becomes cloudier.

At one point,  i09 indicated Warner Bros. was looking to create a Justice League universe that stands separate from all of their other movie superhero franchises. When Warners said they wanted to go the opposite route of Marvel’s The Avengers, that originally meant they would do the team-up film first, with the individual characters spinning into their own movies from there. This is a whole new, horrific idea.

Let me cram my two cents into what is quickly becoming an over-stuffed piggy bank of ideas. Here are four steps to making a good Justice League movie:


Play to your strengths

I’ve gone on record as saying the Avengers are a better property than the Justice League, but it’s not a clean sweep. What’s one thing DC does better than Marvel? Villains.

In a Justice League movie, DC needs to showcase the villains. Make the bad guys the reason for the good guy team-up. The Joker has been the strongest element of two very different Batman movies. Lex Luthor was a great part of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies and one of the few redeeming qualities of Superman Returns. Sinestro was strong (pardon the pun) in Green Lantern.

Legion of Doom by Cartoon Caveman – click image for source

I’m not saying every one of these characters needs to show up in a Justice League movie, but holy crap if they did! I could argue that seeing a Legion of Doom like this unite on the big screen could be more satisfying and riveting than the Justice League. My only suggestion would be to avoid Bat-villains that appeared in the Nolan-verse, as they will be compared to the great performances therein. You’ve still got The Riddler, Penguin, and others to work with.

The Legion of Doom would be a much more interesting, albeit challenging, foil for the Justice League than the probable intergalactic entity that threatens the entire universe. If they use Darkseid as the main villain, at this point, to the non-comic book reader he will look like a cheap Thanos knock-off. You’re too late on this one, time to go a completely different route.

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  • Classick

    The League!

    Great step-by-step list for DC. Unfortunately, Step 4 is what they’ve been stuck on for years, but I can only imagine that the morning that Marvel’s Avengers released, exactly at 2:05 a.m., DC had an emergency meeting centered around how to get their shit together for a Justice League film. They should feel ashamed that they held all the various character rights under one roof for so long and did nothing to tie them all together.

    Speaking of diversity, I’m all for non-Daily Show John Stewart carrying the Green Lantern mantle. And if they’re gonna include Cyborg or Firestorm, I’d be OK with that too, but please PLEASE retcon Black Vulcan from the Super Friends and let’s just call him Vulcan?

    Maybe they should just do a Legion of Doom movie, sort of a Justice League prequel? Yeah, that’s the ticket!

    • Howie Decker

      Classick- it’s funny you say that. Googs and I spent over an hour last week trying to figure out how they could do a Legion of Doom movie and have that lead to a JL pic. We decided that in the end they would basically win, and with the Earth in turmoil, that would signal the formation of the Justice League. By then. we’d know if the CAvill Superman worked or not, and go from there. We though the protagonist of a LOD pic would have to be a heroic human like Steve Trevor or someone who tries to battle the LOD but just can’t get it done without Super-help.

      • Brian Morin

        The bad guys winning in the end with a shimmer of hope for good? It’s such an under-used plot twist, that works almost every time (Empire stands out to me sat the best example.) I would love to see DC run with it. Let’s just hope Man of Steel is decent. It doesn’t have to be great, just better than Superman Returns and Green Lantern (Shouldn’t be too hard)

  • Shawn Smith-Ford

    thanks for the kind mention, and this was brilliantly put together- when ydo you start work at Warner Brothers?

    • Howie Decker

      They’d never hire me, I’m a terrible interview. I reek of Reduced Fat Cheez-Its and desperation. Thanks for reading!

  • More0_0Than

    I think you are on to something with the LoD, they make the heroes who they are. While I am more of a Marvel guy you have to give DC props on the depth of their rogues galleries and the LoD is the best of the worst.

    Using John Stewart would be fine but I’m not sure that taking the “we have a ____!” approach to market the film will do it any favors unless it’s good.

    Waiting for Superman is probably necessary, but DC has already missed the boat here, if they rush in now it is an Avengers ripoff, if they wait it’s an Avengers ripoff. Their best bet at this point is to make it the best film they can and hope that it can outlast the comparison.

  • Fogs

    I agree with ‘em all except “Wait”. They’ve waited long enough. Plus, production time will still put this thing 3 years out at the earliest. So if they wait any longer, the superhero craze may very well have sputtered and died. These things happen.

    There’s some other things too… but it should probably be taken for granted that they get a good script and a good director.

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  • Ronnie

    I really like your point about DC’s villains. Make them a focal point, set yourself apart from Marvel in that way. Because honestly, both Iron Man’s movie villains sucked, no good Hulk villain (besides Ross, and that’s a different kind of conflict) and besides striking gold with Loki they haven’t had a great villain presence yet.

  • BM Punk

    I like the John Stewart call and I REALLY like the villains idea

  • Hawkam

    It’s simple , keep going with snyders supes , mean while prepare a atlantians vs amazonians war movie where aquaman and ww meet .
    Reboot batman , in batman 2 let him meet the flash who has just gained his powers and being put in the right path by bats .
    Follow the secret origins path where john stewart who’s a new green lantern and ex marin torn between lantern duty and cadimus influence over the white house , while mars is being attacked and one surviver finds refuge in earth (man hunter) !!
    There i solved all tge riddles for u WB !

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