Justice League Universe

This list is a sequel to my top five Justice League stories list.

The Green Lantern film with Ryan Reynolds had the potential for being DC's Iron Man. It could have launched a DC Cinematic Universe building toward a Justice League film. Warner Entertainment has been clear on inverting the Marvel model: Start with a Justice League film and then continue with solo films. In theory, on paper, that could work. As a fan of DC Comics, and Monday morning quarterback, here's what I would do if I were in charge of DC Entertainment:

(Did I mention that none of these should be origin stories? I think the first rule of superhero films should be compress the origin to the opening credits.)

List items

  • Barry Allen ushered in the Silver Age that influenced so many comic book fans. Barry's popularity eclipses Jay Garrick and Johnny Chambers. He is an average, ordinary guy, but in every way a comic book fan's window into the magical, wondrous world of super-heroes. The '90's Flash series referenced STAR labs and Carter Hall. A Flash film would launch a DC Cinematic Universe. It would be cool to have a Clark Kent cameo and Easter eggs for Hal Jordan, Carter Hall and Ray Palmer.

  • Wonder Woman is indeed a challenging character to bring to audiences on film. It is hard to capture what she is and is all about. She is a combination of a number of elements. Greek mythology, just as Thor is Norse mythology and Captain (Shazam!) Marvel and Hawkman represent. Patriotism like Captain America. Sword and Sorcery like Xena. There are so many cool things about Wonder Woman that can make a great action-adventure film. A Bruce Wayne cameo would be cool, along with an Clark Kent and Arthur Curry cameo.

  • Geoff Johns did make Aquaman cool, so there is that. An Aquaman film following The Flash and Wonder Woman would continue the thread toward a Justice League film.

  • Since The Avengers have introduced an alien invasion and positioned Thanos as the major threat; as well as using Thor's brother Loki (from The Avengers #1) as a villain, I would not use Darksied or even Brainiac. Tony Stark creating Ultron is very much like the creation of the Red Tornado, Amazo and OMAC. I would not counter with a cosmic threat, since that's been done in the comic books and the animated series. The strongest suggestion for a Justice League live action film would be JLA: Liberty and Justice. Why? It's an alien threat on a small village. Yes, it is The Andromeda Strain featuring the Justice League. But it works at giving each Justice League member their own moment to shine in the spotlight.

  • Honestly, it could be Hal Jordan or John Stewart. I like Hal. I grew up with Hal. My son, however, is a fan of John Stewart. Either way, Green Lantern should spin out of a Justice League film. A basic, bare bones Green Lantern film. No origin story, just an adventure. Sinestro could be a cameo or referenced, but not the main villain. Same with Star Sapphire. Maybe Kanjar Ro?

  • One of the most interesting things that Paul Dini and Alex Ross posited was that Billy Batson's Captain (Shazam!) Marvel was an early member of the League. I would say he would have been an alternate for Superman. Maybe an early member, prior to Oliver Queen. It would be interesting to see a Justice League film deal with the Secret Origin of issue #9, with not only Superman and Batman on a super double-secret mission, but Billy as well.

  • "Eel" O'Brian is another early member that Dini and Ross supposed. With three Fantastic Four films, how hard could it be to get Plastic Man in theaters?

  • Since The Avengers are going cosmic, The League should be more grounded on Earth. The metaphor should be easy. Only Thor is a deity. So, ordinary men rise to great occasion. The League are iconic characters, with the natural abilities to solve what may seem "mundane".

  • It is a shame that J'onn J'onzz is such a misunderstood character. His greatest power is that he is a shape-shifter. He could be anyone. He is also a telepath. Those may seem like insurmountable powers, but Phil Morris made it work on Smallville. A Martian Manhunter film would be the mark of dedication to the League and the DC Cinematic Universe. J'onn J'onzz seems to be a distinct line in the sand.

  • Superman and Superman II were the best and brightest The Man of Steel has ever been. It is odd to darken a hero that should inspire. Superman is optimism and hope. Not doubt and angst. Smallville showed Clark's doubt; however those doubts should have given way to confidence as The Man of Steel.

  • There is a saying, "Save the best for last." Batman may be money in the bank, but it just proves that The Dark Knight is the easy way out. There is plenty of room in The Watchtower for the rest of the League.