The talk recently has been about how DC/Warner is pushing even harder for a Justice League movie after the success of Marvel/Disney’s Avengers.
Years ago, I stated often that Marvel would never be able to pull off decent movies because A) They didn’t seem to care about the stuff they did on film, and B) While Marvels comics are better (IMHO) and better selling than DC’s, their characters are not quite as Iconic as Batman and Superman. Point A is now moot. What they did in the past, they have since corrected with the first two X-Men films, the first two Spiderman films and the films leading up to, and including the Avengers. Point B is rapidly becoming moot as their films continue to increase the characters recognition in everyone but current comic readers.
So the talk on the internets today is mostly about how a Justice League movie will fail. Character recognition aside, film recognition may be the problem. With constant reboots of Batman and Superman, the worry is that confusion will reign in the box-office if Christian Bale is not Batman, and which Superman is best for the film, and how can we trust Ryan Reynolds again after Green Lantern? The problem seems to be that DC has dropped the Origin Ball in leading up to a Justice League film. How can we throw all of these characters together without people going nuts trying to figure out who’s who?
I believe that this is going to a moot point.
Again, Character Recognition is going to be the savior of a Justice League movie if handled right.
Sign Henry Cavill and Ryan Reynolds to do a Justice League film now. I don’t care how shitty Green Lantern was, or whether or not Man of Steel will be any good. Sign them. Now.
You don’t need a new Batman origin story to introduce a new Batman before a Justice League movie. Everybody on the planet knows who the hell Batman is. Hire a Batman for the Justice League, and sign him to do the new Batman reboots after. Really, it’s fine.
Nobody knows who the Martian Manhunter is? Nobody knows who Hawkman is? No Flash origin movie? Wonder Woman? Aquaman? Ok. No Aquaman. Unless you can figure out a way to make him work. I don’t know that you can. But the rest doesn’t matter.
While Flash and Wonder Woman don’t have the same staggering level of Iconic recognition, you don’t need it. Here’s what you should do:
Steal from the Watchmen movie (and don’t worry that Watchmen bombed. It was a fan-boy movie that failed to catch on with people who didn’t know Watchmen). Open the movie with stills of newspapers and short news clips featuring most of the heroes. Flash, Batman, Superman, Hawkman if you want him. Leave out Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman. That’s all the origin you need for now.
Establish early that Superman and Batman know each other, but don’t work together. We all know them. Everybody on the planet (in universe and in reality) knows them. That they know each other just makes sense. Show them having coffee at Wayne Manor before Supes flies off.
Then you work in the Martian Manhunter. He gets zapped to Earth (in Gotham city) via teleportation beam by Dr. Erdel like in the comics. They have coffee or something.
Meanwhile, on whatever island the Amazons live, you see the Queen or whatever being told by some shadowy figure (over coffee) that the Amazons had better play along if they want to survive what’s coming. Once he leaves, Queenie tells Diana that they may need some help, or get ready to stop whatever.
But now you introduce a less shadowy villain, who has come to steal the teleporter technology. He kills Dr. Erdel, thinks he kills the Martian Manhunter and leaves, destroying the lab and laughing all the way.
Batman investigates the death of Erdel (because he was working for Wayne Tech, natch), and comes across the Martian Manhunter. Fight ensues, Batman realizes that this is a potentially dangerous SUPER being, and calls… Superman! Who swoops in, saves the day and then everyone is happy and drinks coffee.
In space, Green Lantern is doing his GL stuff, and winds up fighting shadowy villain! GL and shadowy guy fight to a draw, and GL feels that Earth may be in DANGER!
Meanwhile Diana shows up in the States, tracking down shadowy villain. She fights some henchmen, and meets up with less shadowy villain. In the fight, he starts using the teleport technology to teleport in bad guys! Oh noes! He runs off, leaving Diana against poor odds.
Less shadowy villain now uses teleport tech in whatever city Flash lives in. He’s up to no good! Flash intervenes! Yay! Flash is getting his ass kicked! That’s when Bats, Supes and MM show up to save Flash! Because the teleporter use was being registered by Bats, and Supes heard the breaking news! Big fight! Oooh! The bad guys somehow get the drop on Supes and then… Wonder Woman! She beat the henchmen from space and saves Supes.
But then shadowy guy shows up! And more henchmen of varying power! Oh no! Bigger fighting!
And the tide is turned when GL shows up, maybe with some of the GL Corps! Why not!
Together, they go find shadowy guy and kick his ass and save the world. End credits.
Flash origin, WW origin can be covered deeper later in their own movies.
Your biggest problem is that shadowy guy should be Darkseid, and with Thanos showing up at the end of the Avengers, and with the teleporter and the invading aliens… yep. This sounds like Avengers, you’re kinda screwed there.
But this isn’t my treatment for the film. Change it up, whatever. My point is that you don’t need to establish the origins of the heroes first when you have Iconic characters. And you can do a Justice League film that would work just fine.
You’ll figure it out.