Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

We’ve been hearing rumors about a Justice League movie for a while now. The thing is, I think DC may be in trouble on this one. The problem is that they’ve got two choices.

They can either emulate what Marvel has done and introduce several characters who meet up in a Justice League film (which will take several years to do and do well). They’ll get a lot of flak like this for "copying" Marvel, which isn’t exactly fair, really, since both comic book companies have a legitimate right to this format of movie making. Or they can put out some one-shot film. All of the characters are introduced in the first movie from the get-go.

I'm VERY skeptical about the second option. I have a tough time not imagining a film like this feeling rushed or somehow just way off the mark.

Who will star in said films? Now that's a tough question.

I think it will depend on this format. If DC knows what they’re doing, they should take it one of two ways:

If it’s a matter of making movies to make the movie then they better find some starts to head up a Flash and a Wonder Woman movie pronto. I think the best cast of characters for this approach to the movie should be the iconic Silver Age team who you’ve always known and loved:

Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
Martian Manhunter

Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan have a Superman movie on its way, so there’s one down. It’d be nice if Christian Bale would be willing to reprise his role as Batman just to add to the in-universe feel, but early rumors have everyone from Arnie Hammer to Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing the Caped Crusader. While I know Green Lantern wasn’t a huge hit, I still contend that Ryan Reynolds was not a bad choice for Hal Jordan. Ultimately, I think DC would have to decide very quickly whether or not to get a second Reynolds movie going or to start a new film over from scratch.

You could get away with introducing Aquaman and Manhunter in the film itself as they could somehow be central to the plot. But yeah, hat’s three movies that’d have to get done before a Justice League film ever saw the light of day. So while I think this would be the BEST option, it doesn’t strike me as terribly likely.

I think a one-shot movie could go terribly, TERRIBLY wrong if it isn’t handled with delicate care. We’ve learned that movie audiences will forgive you enough to take a second pass at something.While I don’t think Ang lee’s Hulk was really that bad, it did draw inspiration pretty heavily from the 1970’s television show. And that just didn’t satisfy the hardcore comic fans enough. A few years later, no one complained about running out to see Edward Norton in Incredible Hulk.

I just don't know about a JLA movie that flops. That could potentially be the death-bed of the DC movie industry. I don't know if there's any coming back from that one. At least, not for a long LONG time. So if you’re going to do a one-shot JLA who do you use?

Well I’ll tell you who you DON’T use. You don’t ‘water down’ the JLA and make it a line-up of less recognizable characters just to get the movie done. I don’t want to see the JLA be all the heroes that have equipment rather than super-powers (Green Arrow, the Question, Blue Beetle, etc.) and I don’t want to see a bunch of guys that--don’t get me wrong, I love--but just aren’t who you THINK of when you think of the JLA (Captain Marvel, Dr. Fate, Power Girl, etc.).

There is one possible line-up out here that I can envision. DC seems to do pretty well tying their movies closely to well written stories. Marvel seems to make adaptations that follow general themes. I'm a fan of JLA: Year One by Mark Waid. This is a plausible, funny and interesting re-telling of the JLA’s origins that centers their coming together around a bulk of heroes that don’t include the ‘big three’ (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman).

The cast could be:

Green Lantern
Black Canary
Martian Manhunter

I think you could get away with this. It’s be a lot to take in for one movie, but it’s just the right balance of "center-stage" and "off stage right" that it might feel like it's okay that several movies didn’t precede this one. The group dynamics here feel right too. Flash is serious and trustworthy, but his personal life is difficult. Green Lantern is confident, but borders on reckless. Aquaman doesn’t feel entirely at home with surface-dwellers. Black Canary has something to prove (to men in particular). And Manhunter is really just alone in the world. Throw in some sort of alien invasion they’ve got to fight off and that helps you understand Manhunter’s origin a little better and you’ve got your movie.

Another thing this movie might going for it--to distinguish it a little from Avengers--is that it could be funny. Not like silly and not lacking in a climactic finale. But it could have a little bit of tongue in cheek humor, a la The Tick or something just to give it a little bit of personality all its own. So it could be done and done well, but it’d have to be done carefully.

Nolan is the man, but he might be a little too serious for the movie I’m envisioning. Call me crazy, but I think Kevin Smith wouldn’t be a bad guy to be talking to. Actually, the guy I’d want as creative consultant for this thing is Bruce Timm, DC animated director. If anyone could help that thing get off the ground, it’s him.