Thoughts On Justice League

JL Film PosterIt’s been years since I’ve written a review of anything, but after seeing Justice League on opening day, I’ve had some thoughts percolating in my mind.

First up, I’m a big Justice League fan. I’ve always been a DC Comics diehard and have been devouring comics since before puberty, so I have thirty years of minutiae stored up in my brain to “impress” my friends and answer the occasional quiz question. When DC rebooted their entire line with the New 52 initiative, I pretty quickly stopped feasting on superhero comics, but I do enjoy the occasional nibble.

In short, I was disappointed with the JL film. Yes, there were some good things about it, and there was some serious behind the scenes issues that led the film to not being all it should’ve been, but with that in mind, here are a few bullet points.

I like Ben Affleck. He’s a great actor and director, and is actually a pretty good choice to play an older Batman. However, just because he has pointy ears and a gruff voice doesn’t make him the Dark Knight. When asked what his superpowers are, Batman answers, “I’m rich.” That’s not something Batman would say. That’s a Tony Stark line. It doesn’t belong here. With the Flash and Cyborg, the film has enough humour. Don’t drag Batman in to it too. Let him be Batman. Not everyone needs to be witty.

The first scene is all about how Superman inspires people, and how his death at the hands of Doomsday at Batman v Superman has united the world in a sense of loss. In the two Superman films we’ve seen starring Henry Cavill prior to this, there’s nothing inspiring about him. He doesn’t inspire. He terrifies! He’s not warm, and smiling. Thor has taken the role that Superman should have. If you ask anyone (kids or adults), who’d they’d love to hang out with, I’d imagine most would easily choose the happy god of thunder over the glowering, morose Man of Steel. This is a Superman who allowed his earthly Dad to die, caused massive property damage and killed Zod infront of a traumatised family, when he had so many other options available. (Fly him up to space! spin him round so he loses consciousness! even break his limbs! anything but neck snapping!). The Superman who has existed for almost a century in pop culture, and who will outlast all film makers, is someone who cherishes life and only takes it as an absolute last resort. The last time Superman was properly portrayed was in the 1980s with the maginificent Christopher Reeve. Who else could say, “I like pink very much Lois,” with a straight face, let alone with gravitas and sincerity? The world would not mourn the death of this version of Superman. They barely knew him, let alone embraced him.

There was a cleaner who showed up briefly at STAR Labs. They could’ve made him Rudy Jones, who becomes the Parasite, and as Kevin Smith pointed out – even the thief at the start of the film could’ve been a DC character, rather than a generic bad guy. Again, the terrorists who Wonder Woman stops could’ve been anyone from DC’s rich history, like Cheetah, or the Royal Flush Gang, or even someone linked to Steppenwolf, to give the villain  much needed dramatic weight. Speaking of which…

Steppenwolf had no visible motivation. A scene where he’s speaking to a hidden Darkseid would’ve helped tremendously. Perhaps he could be sent off to earth amidst cheering crowds from Apokolips, or he’s failed to conquer other planets before and this is his last attempt before Darkseid executes him in dishonour, and he thinks earth will be an uneasy target. As it is, Steppenwolf just shows up to cause havoc and..be bad.

There was no need for the jokes at Aquaman and the approach they took to make him the tough guy was desperate. I can imagine the writers thinking, “Quick! Let’s make fun of Aquaman before the audience does, and then we’ll show how grumpy and angry he really is. That’ll shut them up!” Aquaman is a great character, as Peter David has shown with his tremendous run on the comics. When your film stars apologizing for a great character, it’s not off to a good start. The acting here is great though, and Jason Momoa, like his castmates does a great job with these versions of the characters.

The Russian family at the final battle was odd. Perhaps it was meant to be a microcosm of the potentail destruction the rest of the world would face, like the family at the end of Batman v Superman was.

Okay, now the good points….

It was pretty awesome to see Superman unleashed and take on the whole League single-handedly. Oh yeah.

The humour generally works, with the scene with Aquaman and Wonder Woman’s lasso a nice touch.

The Mother Box battle/Amazonian escape was thrilling.

Both end credits scenes are great, and even the actual credits thanked comics creators such as Jack Kirby, and I noticed Detective Crispus Allen, who eventually becomes The Spectre, listed as a character. Nice.

DC’s animated films have a much better track record of their live action output, barring the last two (The Killing Joke, Batman and Harley Quinn) and I’m excited to see the two Death and Return of Superman animated films that kick off next year.

Geoff Johns is a legend and super talented writer, so his continued involvement in any live action DC films is a huge step in the right direction. I am cautiously optimistic about what DC has planned next, and the Wonder Woman film showed that they can get it right. Come on DC. You can do it!

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Clip

After seeing the featurette on DC/Warner Bros’ latest animated film, Flashpoint on the just released Superman: Unbound Blu-Ray I’m eagerly awaiting its release, which we know now is July 30. Very soon! Official details below regarding the dark, alternate version of the DC Universe, as based on the great 2011 mini-series from Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert. A few screenshots, and the first clip from the film is also below, in which Cyborg (who I think has a metallic sounding voice for the first time, which makes sense) attempts to recruit Batman.

The film will have its World Premiere at Comic-Con in San Diego on Friday, July 19 from 7:30-9:30pm in Ballroom 20. The premiere/panel description with anticipated participants is below. Panelists are
subject to change (which could include additions!)

Fans can also meet and get autographs (on a Comic-Con exclusive mini-poster) from the panelists on Saturday, July 20 from 11:00am-Noon at the Warner Bros. Booth.

“Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” will be released as a Blu-Ray Combo Pack and DVD on July 30, 2013.

Here is the premiere/panel description:
Friday, July 19
7:30-9:30 World Premiere of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox –
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation invite you to be the first to experience Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, the highly-anticipated next entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies. When time travel allows a past wrong to be righted for Flash and his family, the event’s temporal ripples prove disastrous, creating a fractured,
alternate reality where the Justice League never formed, and even Superman is nowhere to be found. Amidst a new world being ravaged by a fierce war between Wonder Woman’s Amazons and Aquaman’s Atlanteans, Flash must team with a grittier, more violent Batman and government agent Cyborg to restore the continuity of Flash’s original timeline.

Come for the film, but stay for the star-studded panel that features Grey’s Anatomy stars Justin Chambers and Kevin McKidd as Flash and Batman, respectively, along with C. Thomas Howell (Southland), Cary
Elwes (The Princess Bride), Sam Daly (The Daly Show) and a few surprise voice cast members, plus the filmmaking team of producer James Tucker (Superman: Unbound), director Jay Oliva (Batman: The Dark
Knight Returns), dialogue director Andrea Romano (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns), screenwriter Jim Krieg (Green Lantern: The Animated Series) and character designer Phil Bourassa (Young Justice).
Moderator Gary Miereanu will add to the fun with a special announcement of the 2014 DCU movie slate, as well as exclusive, cast-autographed prizes for a few lucky fans. Based on the landmark mini-series by Geoff Johns & Andy Kubert, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox will be available as a digital download on July 19, 2013 and a Blu-ray™ Combo Pack on July 30, 2013.

Batman

 

Cyborg

 

Flash

 

Lois Lane

 

Thawne

 

WonderWoman

 

Above are Batman, Cyborg, Flash, Lois Lane, Reverse Flash and Wonder Woman.

Extra Sequential Podcast #57-Aquatic Characters

64 mins. Our maritime message is that you listen to this aquatic adventure for your audio canals, as a tidal wave of seafaring superheroes and stories washes over you. Also, six-packs, Eddie Murphy and arm wrestling and our attempt to mock Aquaman’s harpoon hand, and lustrous hair. He’s the King of the Seven Seas! He demands respect people!

LISTEN TO IT BELOW, DOWNLOAD IT HERE OR ON iTUNES 

You can email us at kris (at)extrasequential(dot)com and befriend us on the NEW ES Facebook page.

2:15 NEWS

An old comic from the creators of Asterix comes to life

Chuck Norris and Van Damme in The Expendables 2

Another Beetlejuice film is coming our way

Top Shelf’s huge sale

Seth and Daniel Clowes tour

Writer J.M. DeMatteis’ weekend workshop

Fables for Japan charity comic

11:29 THEME – AQUATICNESS 

The massively popular One Piece by Eiichiro Oda

The whacky Seaguy from Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart

Hugo Pratt’s Corto Maltese

Asterix and Obelisk and their battles against pirates

Gestalt’s The Deep – with a sequel now on the way!

Freakangels by Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield

Michael Turner’s Fathom from publisher Aspen

Cartoon Snorks

Tales of the Black Freighter – the pirate story within Watchmen. Also an animated film.

Namor

Aquaman (Read more about him on page 30-37 here at the digital ES mag). Preview of the relaunched #1 here.

Ian Churchill’s Marineman

Jay Piscopo’s The Undersea Adventures of Cap’n Eli and its spinoff Sea Ghost

Abe Sapien

Cursed Pirate Girl

Popeye

Steve Pugh’s Shark Man

Project Rooftop Aquaman Winners

I just saw some new Young Justice toys based on the cartoon, and thought how logical it is that Aquaman’s costume would have bare feet, and then I ran across Aquaman costume variations at design site Project Rooftop. Some faves below.

Go here to check them all out and see some updated looks of ’90s toon hero Captain Planet while you’re there too.

 

The Big Tease

Here’s 2 interesting teaser images released this week. It appears that the X-Men are getting darker and that Aquaman will finally return to the DCU as a Black Lantern. Stay tuned.

allnewalldeadlydarkx-men

blackestnightaquaad

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