Archive for the ‘Justice League’ Category

Superheroes are defined by their villains, be it directly or indirectly. This is a fundamental fact of the conflict that lies at the core of stories featuring masked men and the people who oppose them. For example, many point to the duality of Batman and Joker. It’s been said that one cannot exist without the other. When it comes to villains, the Dark Knight’s collection of foes is widely regarded as one of the best in the medium. However, there’s one other DC hero, The Flash, whose enemies are almost as well regarded.

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In part one of this look back at Justice League: Mortal, I addressed the plot without getting into a whole lot of detail. Now that you’ve had time to track down the script, I’ll be looking a bit deeper in regards to the characters and the overall story. Each section will focus on an actor and the part they were to play. Some of the casting seemed spot on while other actors seemed…less suited for their roles. Let’s begin!

DJ Cotrona as Superman

At the time, Cotrona had done very little of note. He had a few bit-parts here and there, but this would have definitely been his highest-profile role. Since then, he’s gone on to play Flint in G.I. Joe: Retaliation and star in the From Dusk Till Dawn television series. He definitely has the physique of Superman, but his youthful demeanor and look doesn’t quite fit the script’s older, more established take on the character. Overall, the character is portrayed how he should be: selfless, noble and pretty much untouchably “super”. The third act takes a page from Infinite Crisis and pits Superman against the league thanks to some mind-control. I really like this story beat, but feel that the movie screws it up a bit. It hinges on the idea that Supes thinks Lois has been killed. However, she’s not a character and has no presence in the film. It relies too much on the public’s knowledge of their relationship and history. That’s not a bad thing in some cases, but since it’s so important for the finale, she really needs to be seen and (more importantly) felt within the context of the story. She doesn’t have to be a major character, just the same level as Iris Allen or maybe a little smaller. Since her “death” is so important at the end, we need to SEE her and understand what she means to Big Blue.
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The League’s core, circa 2006.

Back in 2007 DC had absolutely no idea what they were doing with their film properties. Nearly all of their characters were stuck in development hell and they had a serious lack of overall vision for any of their franchises. The sole exception was Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. So, with no idea how to sell any of their singular characters, DC decided to start at the top and work down in creating their cinematic universe. They’d start with the Justice League property and then spin-off individual films based on the heroes from there. All things considered, it’s not a terrible approach. They would know what worked and what didn’t before hundreds of millions were spent on a character that no one cared about (just think, they could have avoided Green Lantern had they taken this path). So, in 2007 they commissioned a script, hired George Miller as a director and assembled a cast for Justice League: Mortal, the film that almost was. This will be an in-depth, two-part look at the plot, cast, characters and circumstances around this film’s inception and destruction. Also, I feel I need to add a spoiler warning…I guess. I dunno? Do you need spoiler warnings for unproduced screenplays?

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This is a new column where I’ll look at how a single comic book character or team has been adapted throughout the years. Think of this as the opposite of The Unadapted (The Un-Unadapted, if you will) in that this will be chronicling characters who have made multiple appearances in expanded media. My first subject will be everyone’s favorite gun-for-hire: Deadshot!

Daniel LuVisi’s beautiful cover to
Secret Six, issue 15

Deadshot (AKA Floyd Lawton) first appeared in Batman’s comic way back in 1950. He was a gimmick villain who posed as a hero trying to abdicate the Dark Knight’s throne as the top crime fighter in Gotham. He was eventually found out and sent to prison. At the time, he wore a costume consisting of a top hat and domino mask. Upon being released from prison, he was rebranded as a marksman for the highest bidder. Along with the change came a new costume consisting of a targeting reticle over his right eye which has become an iconic part of the character’s attire.

Since his early days, the character has evolved into more than a run-of-the-mill villain. He is a father who is devoted to making a better life for his daughter, a nihilist who isn’t afraid to die when the time comes and a good friend to those he deems worthy. He’s also become a fixture in DC’s Suicide Squad, surviving more missions than just about anyone else. He even made the transition to the New 52 version of the team. With his devil-may-care attitude, it’s no wonder he’s been so popular outside of the printed page.

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Have you ever heard of an elevator pitch? Now that I provided a helpful link, you should all be saying, “Yes! Of course! Don’t ask condescending questions!” Ok, jeeze. I have watched this pilot more times than I care to admit and one thing keeps running through my mind: what was the elevator pitch for this? I can just imagine some excited executive at CBS breathlessly explaining his grand scheme for this series, “It’s Friends but with superpowers!” And his boss, dollar signs clouding his vision responds with, “Yep. Let’s do it.”
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