Feb 15 2013

So The Justice League Is In Limbo Again: An Open Letter To DC Entertainment & Warner Bros.

Published by at 11:00 am under Editorials,Movies

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To Whomever This May Concern:

Alright, look: I really have nothing but respect for the many comics properties you’ve created over the years.
For example, take Superman.

In December, 1978, you guys really broke the mold when you brought Superman – The Movie to theatres. People forget – but I haven’t – that, before that singular motion picture, comic book characters were largely stuck in half-baked, low-budget television productions that never quite added up to the magic, mayhem, and mystery long-time readers enjoyed by reading monthly installments. It won a Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation and an Oscar for Special Achievement in Visual Effects, for Pete’s sake, so don’t try to tell me you guys didn’t know what you were doing back then.

Not good enough? How about Batman?

A little over a decade later, you struck lightning again: Timothy Burton’s Batman (1989) graced the silver screen, capitalizing on a slowly-fueled marketing frenzy that started with DC Comics’ publication of Frank Miller’s stellar “The Dark Knight Returns” several years back and led all the way up to the picture’s premiere. Again, most folks don’t know this, but those of us who were around and had been following the property for years know how instrumental Warner Bros. was in the marketing build-up to make the film ‘an event picture.’ For the most part, it delivered, again changing the way graphic stories were adapted for cinemas and television.

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Now, I’ll give you a pass on Joel Schumacher. I get that he was the ‘in’ thing at the time, and, who knows? Maybe you were drunk.  Maybe you were secretly courting the LBGT community for their consumer-spending dollar but too ashamed to go public with it.

Still, the era immediately following Burton’s first film even gave comic readers the absolutely stellar “Batman: The Animated Series,” a show that – even to this day – many of us point to as the textbook example – the highwater mark – of precisely how to do comics-for-television. Heck, it even gave us “Superman: The Animated Series,” and that show is head and shoulders above that visual fart that was Bryan Singer’s God-awful Superman Returns, a vanity project that should’ve killed all vanity projects for decades.

A soft Kevin Spacey … as Lex Luthor? What’s wrong with you people?

Gene Hackman was Lex Luthor, and Gene Hackman was a Marine!

Clancy Brown was Lex Luthor! Only a Highlander could kill him!

Kevin Spacey?!?!

But I digress …

And, even though I’ve been critical of many elements of his films, Christopher Nolan did the unthinkable when he brought the Bats back to the big screen in such accomplished glory after you allowed the character to stagnant in obscurity for far too long. Heck, Nolan even gave Bruce Wayne as much, if not more, screen time than the Batman, and the films were still successful.
What do you possibly mean in now telling fandom that an inevitable Justice League movie is on hold?

I mean, you saw what Marvel Entertainment did with The Avengers, right? You saw their Iron Man. You saw their Thor. You saw their Captain America. Heck, knowing how Hollywood types operate, you probably even saw both of the tepid Fantastic Four movies, and, yet, still you can’t bring yourselves to green light a Justice League movie?

You say, “Yeah, uh, we don’t wanna confuse audiences by having multiple actors playing the same superhero. See, that confuses them.”

Movie Roles Recast

Uh … hello? In the last decade, no less than three different actors have played The Hulk, or did you miss that? And, uh, hello? You’ve had no less than Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney (for God’s sake!), and Christian Bale – that’s FOUR ACTORS – play Batman inside of two decades, or did you miss that?

You say, “Yeah, uh, well, we want to wait and see how the next Superman movie does before we sink money into it.”

Uh … hello? The last I knew, you’ve had a Justice League script lingering in limbo for ten years (probably more, though you’d never admit it publicly), and you’ve had some fairly respectable directors interested in giving it a shot. In fact, it’s been rumored that George Miller’s take was legendary – L-E-G-E-N-D-A-R-Y, like The Empire Strikes Back kind of legendary. That’s not good enough to take the risk?
All you need to do is consult a couple of respectable fanboys (or fangirls) to find out why Superman Returns didn’t perform to your expectations. All you gotta do is peruse the internet to find out why Ryan Reynold’s time in CGI failed to ignite a Green Lantern.

But here … let me make it simple enough so that even a table full of Hollywood suits can understand it …

Look no further than your animation department.

That’s right.

You heard me.

Look over to the cat you hired a while back to manage your direct-to-DVD DC properties.

His name is Bruce Timm.

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If memory serves, he’s been involved in bringing an unimaginable number of DC properties to fruition, including two of the aforementioned animated series (Bats and Supes), as well as a string of faithful, respected, and G-O-O-D DVD releases to the marketplace.

In fact, I’ll go so far as to mention that, even though I’ve always had some qualms with Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, Bruce Timm made me a believer when he completed – as fans have long wished – an animated adaptation, the second part of which you folks only released recently. That two-parter is nothing short of stunning, and that’s exactly the kind of guy I’d want overseeing a property like the Justice League or, at the very least, heading up the efforts directly in much the same way Christopher Nolan did Batman and, now, is doing the same with Superman.

There’s a horse in your stable, Warner Bros. and DC.

Let him out in the yard to run.

Respectfully,

One long-time DC comics fan





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9 responses so far

  • Mr B

    Why this JL movie isnt being given the green-light I too do not understand.

    Generally speaking I think Marvel do their characters better than DC but that aside the budget for Avengers was $200mil (how did that cost less than John Carter?). Cut that back to 150 somehow, and a JL movie is easily going to do $250-300mil.

    At the very least it should turn a profit, even if it does suck. Again, John Carter did and that film was almost unanimously panned.

  • Britt K.

    Testify!! Also, I seriously doubt the majority of people will be confused or refuse to come see a Justice League movie just because there are different actors playing these roles. The fanbase has been clamoring for this movie for at least as long as they’ve been whispering about the Iron Man/Thor/Capt. America movies being a lead-in to the Avengers. It can be done, we’ve seen it done (very well, I might add), so get off your wishy-washy, Charlie Brown hindparts and DO THE DAMN THING!!! Just sayin’…

  • Cube

    Sorry but Kevin Spacey was a good Lex, it was the script that was awful. It’s the same problem that the Green Lantern movie had.

  • Ugo Strange

    Well said Sir, well said.

  • trashcanman

    Hells yes. Hearty applause for you, sir, but you forgot to mention the other driving force behind the DCAU. Paul Dini. That guy is the man for the job. He’s written comics, adapted comics, and created characters like Harley Quinn who became instant hits, and has a ton of experience outside of comics as well. I know he’s tweeted he wants nothing to do with it -and smartly so- due to the expectations and the nightmare that working with big studios on something like that would entail, but I have no doubt a compromise could be reached.

  • HUMPH

    There are only one thing to say: WB doesn’t believe in DC characters potencial. Everytime they try to make a movie based on any DC character, they modificate too much things. Even last Batman, a Elseworld Batman and not a DCU Batman. WB doesn’t like DC characters… this is the truth.

    I give up DC live-action movies. Please, more animations!

  • eL

    I think everyone is overlooking the fact that Marvel took their time establishing each member of The Avengers. Yes, that movie was always the goal but if they had dropped an Avengers film after say, the first two Iron Man films and one from Captain America it would not have done quite as well. DC might be screwing up a lot of things regarding their feature films, but if they take less time to get a Justice League movie out than Marvel did Avengers they won’t have the same enormous draw. Setting up each member of the team is vital to getting as many people in the seats. Batman and Superman are arguably the most popular superheroes of all time but not even they can carry a movie that features 2-4 more other main characters. At the same time, if Batman and Superman are running around with those extra featured players that haven’t been established there won’t be any attachment with the audience. They’re in a major hole right now, especially when matched up with Marvel. If they take their time they can slowly climb out of that hole and produce something great. The resources are all there.

  • Maira

    Just had to mention Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. In my opinion, one of the best superhero movies of all time.

  • LEM

    I’m not a big DC fan but they do amazing animated series and DVD movies. I’m amazed they can’t get their shit together to do better live action movies outside of Batman every few decades. I just read that the Lobo movie now isn’t happening and The Rock wasn’t even locked in for the role. There is obviously a lot more BS behind the scenes when doing live action but Marvel seems to have made a plan and continues to work to bring the whole universe to the screen and make billions of dollars yet DC can’t even get me excited for a Superman movie.

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