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MetaFour AXTE INCAL AXTUCE MUN from a place
AXTE INCAL AXTUCE MUN
Apr 9th 2011 at 12:21:08 PM

Split off from the discussion of The Dark Knight Rises.

It appears that a Justice League film is in the works.

Here's the prior discussion:

Known Unknown: Reboot for the Caped Crusader apparently in the future.

As is, supposedly, a Justice League movie... which would impress me more if it didn't look like an transparent attempt to beat Marvel at their own game.

vanthebaron: come on DC your better then this

metaphysician: [up] Assuming facts not in evidence. tongue

More seriously, this sounds bad, very bad. The only reason Avengers has a chance of being good is because Marvel went through the time and effort doing five movies to prepare for it. DC aiming for a Justice League movie, that doesn't draw from *any* prior movies? Gonna fail.

And I think I know why they are doing this: the Siegel/Schuster lawsuit. Last I heard, the Superman rights revert to the Siegel/Schuster estate sometime in 2013. Time/Warner is probably trying to get out as many Superman-related movies before they have to negotiate licensing rights as they can. Hence the lack of tie-in between the Superman reboot and JLA- it lets them produce and film them simultaneously, and theoretically get both out before the deadline.

Tobias Drake: Definitely trying to ride the coattails of Avengers. This is a bad idea, DC. >.<

Zeromaeus: I love how DC's attitude started out like:
It'll never work. Marvel will fail and we will reign supreme with our non-intercontinuity
to:
This looks like it might work! Quick, make a JL movie. -but we don't have the set-up- Damn the set-up! Make it anyway!

Raven Wilder: The X-Men movies worked despite not having any prior films to establish the characters.

Known Unknown: Not the same thing. The X-Men are established as a team, much like the Fantastic Four or the - they share an origin, like goals, and their story is one. The Justice League do not. They're not a single title that stars a team, they're an ensemble.

Raven Wilder: So give them an Ocean's Eleven style "rounding everyone up to take part in the plot" scene. What's the big deal?

Tobias Drake: Because you're dealing with a LOT of very different characters with not nearly enough time to properly develop them all.

So either they're going to have to do the whole "This is who this character is, what he can do, why he can do it, etc. etc." for every character in the Justice League cast, leaving very little time for the actual Justice League plot, or they're going to have to half-ass the character intros to try and cram in as much JL screentime as they can, leaving the audience apathetic to who most of these people are and why we should care.

The X-Men films managed to pull it off because, as has been previously stated, they share a single premise and a single origin. The Justice League, much like the Avengers, do not. They're a team composed of many very different superheroes from very different stories, united by a purpose.

Zeromaeus: Exactly.

Do you think most non-comic readers would pick up on say, The Avengers, without knowing or caring about any of the characters before-hand?

metaphysician: And note that one of the flaws of the first X-Men movie was exactly that: it left many characters unexplained and undetailed. Really, only Wolverine, Rogue, and Magneto received any real backstory of their own.

This didn't kill the movie, precisely because there is the common premise. But by contrast, how well do you think JLA would work if it were basically, say, Superman And His Amazing Friends?

Raven Wilder: I think you're greatly overestimating how much time it would take to introduce the characters. Just give each of them a quick scene where they're fighting some sort of criminal or disaster on their own to establish that they're superheroes and show what their powers are. Then you can just throw them into a big group and get the rest of their characterization from how they interact with each other.

Seamus: There doesn't need to be a lot of set-up with the Justice League movie. By and large, the public knows who these characters or (with the possible exception of Martian Manhunter) and what they do.

metaphysician: . . . your kidding, right? The public knows Superman and Batman. *Maybe* they know the Linda Carter Wonder Woman. Beyond that? No, not outside what any new and upcoming movies tell them.

And a hell of a lot of what they might know is *wrong*. Case in point: Aquaman. If anybody does know Aquaman in the general public, its Superfriends Joke Aquaman. This means the prior knowledge is counterproductive. You need to spend that much more time on demonstrating that no, this character isn't who you thought he was.

For that matter, this applies to Superman and Batman, too. Yes, people know those characters. But if Superman isn't a horrible father who throws continents into space, and Batman isn't wanted for murders he can't clear himself of, people are going to be confused. And thus, that much more time introducing the characters.

Unless you plan to have half the cast be flat plot devices who exist only to power their own special effects scene, its going to be an overcrowded disaster.

Seamus: The target audience for a Justice League movie knows who everyone is. Yeah, Superman and Batman are the big two. But take into account how popular the animated Justice League show was. Then the slew of animated movies DC has made recently, and the new Wonder Woman show, and how major changes in the comics often bleed into popular consciousness fairly quickly *

. And the internet has everything that one would ever want to know about these characters. If they were making a movie about, say, the Secret Six, then yes, there would need to be quite a bit of set-up beforehand, as all of those characters are fairly obscure outside of the comics.

It wouldn't be ideal, but it wouldn't be impossible.

Medicus: Aquaman?

Isn't that that douche whose powers are useless on land?

Nexus: [up]...You have clearly never seen the Justice League Aquaman. Or the Batman The Brave Andthe Bold Aquaman. Or the Young Justice Aquaman.

But especially the Justice League Aquaman.

Prowler: I'm pretty sure he was kidding.

Or was he?

Deboss: Or the picture on Heart Is an Awesome Power.

Raven Wilder: Superman and Batman are so well known that their origins would not need to be told. Wonder Woman's got a lesser version of the same thing going; a mention of Themiscyra/Paradise Island might be needed, but nothing in depth. Same goes for Aquaman; people know he can swim fast, breathe water, and talk to fish; just throw in a mention that he's from Atlantis and the audience knows everything they need to. As for the Flash, they probably don't need to reference his origin at all; just show him running at super speed, people will get that he's a guy with super speed, and the how and why of it doesn't need to be gotten into.

Shadow Scythe: Raven's got a point. They could pull an Incredibles and simply go "yep super heroes exist and roam all around the world" and then have an organisation round up a crack team of the best heroes to fight some greater force. It'd probably work better that way, because by simply doing that you avoid having to flesh each hero's world out and then the extra effort off meshing the backstories into a single world haphazardly (which I feel is what's going on with The Avengers- I'm having a lot of difficulty accepting that the world Iron Man exists in is suddenly also occupied by aliens and gods because of the fact that Iron Man's world felt so real and fleshed out and suddenly dropping aliens and gods into it is really weird and jarring)

Meta Four: I don't think that's as much of a problem, considering that Thor's hammer shows up in The Stinger of Iron Man 2.

Tobias Drake: It would hardly be the first real, modern setting to have fantasy elements interlaced through it.

metaphysician: Okay, on the matter of the JLA movie not needing any more exposure: I think you seriously, *seriously* overestimate the public exposure of the characters. Put bluntly, as nice as the Timm Justice League cartoon was, it was still stuck in the Animation Age Ghetto, and still doesn't have that much exposure. Same for the other cartoons. If you try to build a movie on the assumption that the average movie goer is familiar with JL:TAS, than you will *fail*. This is not even getting into how many of the sources of public exposure ( *coughSmallvillecough* ) are *counterproductive*. The audience thinking that the JLA are a team of teen drama wangsters is no more helpful than the audience not knowing them at all.

As for the Marvel movies, I think some of you are confusing "verisimilitude" with "realism." The Iron Man movies from the getgo weren't *realistic*, as they had plenty of super science geniuses building hyperadvanced technology in caves and basement labs. They just did so in a manner that made it feel credible, by having the fantastic elements operate in a reasonably well thought out manner. This isn't realism, its just good writing and internal consistency.

Having aliens show up doesn't contradict anything previously established, and isn't completely out of nowhere either. Every single movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet has implied and alluded to, that the world has weirdness in it *beyond that which has been shown on screen.* Hell, that was the whole point of the Nick Fury cameo at the end of Iron Man 1.

Seamus: I didn't say that the average movie goer is familiar with the Justice League cartoon, just the fact that these characters have been around for going on seventy years (in most cases), and have been receiving lots of exposure recently, means that many people would know who the characters are or at least have an idea. And if someone genuinely has no idea who any of the members of the Justice League are, they probably wouldn't go to see the movie in the first place.

A different interpretation of the character(s) being more prevalent than another isn't counterproductive. People who had only seen Adam West's Batman swallowed the Burton version easily enough; people who are only familiar with Raimi's Spider-Man probably won't have any problems with the new movie. There's no correct interpretation of a character who has endured as many changes as the members of the Justice League have (something that I think comic movies need to grasp if they want to remain interesting).

Tobias Drake: Of course they would. They'd go to see it because it had a really sweet trailer that made them go, "That might be a good movie."

Movies aren't made solely for the prepackaged audience; you don't need to reach the people who will be there just because it has Justice League in the title. They're already sold.

In order to fill more seats, they have to reach a broader spectrum of people. The first film in the series needs to be able to introduce the concept to people who have never in their life heard of the Justice League. You don't want that first film to leave people walking away going "So there are people who have superpowers just because, with no real explanation or plot to it, and the characters are all just kind of copy/pastes of each other. That's...not really a good movie."

The comic book fans who already know the Justice League are completely irrelevant to the success of the film. They'll be there, no matter what. But if the film wants to be successful, it has to reach everyone else, who doesn't know the Justice League, hasn't read the comics, didn't watch the cartoons, and has to ask, "Why do I care about these characters and this plot?"

People who, as mentioned above, are probably only familiar with Superman and Batman. If this were, say, a World's Finest movie, that would be sufficient. But there just isn't enough time to introduce the rest of the characters in the League sufficiently to make them seem like memorable and important figures in the story (as opposed to throwaway characters here to supply a powerset and nothing more, as many X-Men characters were) while still having a solid A-story.

If you exclude people who aren't familiar with the characters or story from the movie, the movie will fail. And if you try to include them, the story is going to be rushed and schizophrenic to make up for everything it needs to show.

Meta Four: The Incredibles showed that you can make a successful superhero movie without beginning with the character's backstories or explaining why they have powers. Well-written characters and an engaging plot matter more.

Tobias Drake: The Incredibles was an animated picture. People's expectations of realism are significantly lower in the realm of animation. When you start hiring live actors, people start expecting more.

edited 9th Apr '11 2:22:39 PM by MetaFour

I didn't write any of that.
Apr 9th 2011 at 12:23:43 PM

The animated series was pretty good, so I don't know...

Kerrah Pure cuteness from Helsinki, Finland
Pure cuteness
Apr 9th 2011 at 1:18:53 PM

I highly doubt this'll work out...

Knowing is growing.
Aleclom The Fastest Man Alive from Chicago
The Fastest Man Alive
Apr 9th 2011 at 3:46:03 PM

This would actually be a great chance to experiment with introducing us to the heroes as heroes, instead of the nobodies before they get their powers. I don't see why it's super necessary for every hero movie to show us how they got their abilities and their struggles to understand them.

Rawr!
MousaThe14 Writer, Artist, Ignored from Northern Virginia Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Writer, Artist, Ignored
Apr 9th 2011 at 5:15:51 PM

[up] Part of the character building process to build up to the crossover so you know who these people are and what they're like and why you care about them into the crossover film. Otherwise, they have to use movie time to establish that and that's hard to do when in a superhero film you also expect a lot of action, some semblance of a plot, and a very capable, very large, and quite threatening villain.

The more there are the harder it is to characterize in a theoretically 2.5 hour maximum time slot.

The Blog The Art
RavenWilder Raven Wilder
Raven Wilder
Apr 9th 2011 at 5:18:20 PM

Ideally, characterization is something that should happen during action scenes and plot important moments, not something on the side.

"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
MousaThe14 Writer, Artist, Ignored from Northern Virginia Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Writer, Artist, Ignored
Apr 9th 2011 at 5:21:46 PM

[up]Ideally but we can't make too many assumptions on a bandwagon jumping movie proposal. Or too many in general. Humans are funny creatures.

The Blog The Art
RavenWilder Raven Wilder
Raven Wilder
Apr 9th 2011 at 5:55:01 PM

Look, as far as origins are concerned, how 'bout this: At some point the League members are all just shooting the breeze with each other and they start talking about where they got their powers from. And, after Wonder Woman talks about being Princess of the Amazons, Aquaman about being rightful King of Atlantis, and Green Lantern about being chosen by an intergalactic police force, Flash sheepishly admits that some weird chemicals fell on him and now he can run fast, and the others give him a little bit of grief over that

That way the origins are all covered in a short, funny scene. After that point they'd all still need more characterization, but no more than the average ensemble cast.

"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
MousaThe14 Writer, Artist, Ignored from Northern Virginia Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Writer, Artist, Ignored
Apr 9th 2011 at 6:15:19 PM

I'm aware and sorry I wasn't clear before, but i was never concernd about getting their origins otu of the way, that was always a simple solution, it's the other reasons why the origin movies exist that were what I was concerns about aka "Who are these people and why do we care" before throwing them into the movie.

And then I realize, we actually don't need that do we? there have been movies with just as large of casts of mains with less issue, right? what was that one movie I heard about? Ocean's something or other?

The Blog The Art
MetaFour AXTE INCAL AXTUCE MUN from a place
AXTE INCAL AXTUCE MUN
Apr 9th 2011 at 6:15:46 PM

Much as I don't think it's gonna happen, I'd really like for Hawkgirl to be in this version of the League. She was my favorite character in the animated series.

I didn't write any of that.
Apr 9th 2011 at 7:12:28 PM

Also, to tangent, let me note that the Incredibles *did* set up the "origin story", so to speak. It didn't explain super powers, no. . . but it did explain how the Parrs ended up where they were at the start of the main narrative, how the world got to be the way it was, and how the main villain came to be. It didn't provide radiation accidents for each character, true. But "providing an origin" is not the same thing as "explaining every detail." Note the way Tobias phrased it: "Who is this person, and why should I care?"

Home of CBR Rumbles-in-Exile: rumbles.fr.yuku.com
Jackerel SURPRISE from ur sentry
SURPRISE
Apr 9th 2011 at 7:28:19 PM

I wonder how much they'll base it off the animated adaptation.

Was Jack Mackerel. | i rite gud
Apr 9th 2011 at 8:18:45 PM

Well, if I had to guess, they'll almost certainly use Hal Jordan as GL, so not *that* close. OTOH, Aquaman, while somewhat known, has baggage, and also would require extra work in the form of underwater scenes. So its possible they'd drop him for someone else.

And there is a sad part of my mind that expects they'd drop J'onn J'onnz, too, for being nigh totally unknown to the public. Sigh.

Home of CBR Rumbles-in-Exile: rumbles.fr.yuku.com
TobiasDrake Exposition Dragon from Colorado, USA Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
Apr 9th 2011 at 9:13:57 PM

Ideally, characterization is something that should happen during action scenes and plot important moments, not something on the side.

Characterization is something that needs to happen before action scenes too, if the action scenes are to have any impact whatsoever.

It's difficult for an audience to care much about an action scene if they are not invested in the characters, and thus have no real reason to be concerned by anything happening onscreen. If the audience doesn't have that investment, then the action scene is nothing but pointless explosions in a juvenile attempt to look cool.

That's the point of building the audience's investment in the cast, and that goes for the characters we're familiar with just as much as it does the ones we aren't. Yeah, we know a couple of Batmans, but if this Batman isn't OUR Batman, whichever Batman that may be for the respective viewer, then he's just some asshole in a Batman costume until we're given a reason to feel otherwise.

With a team movie like this, with no prior build-up to the characters, unless they spend a LOT of screentime building the audience's attachment to these characters, the action scenes will simply fall flat, and it'll turn into every Michael Bay movie ever.

"Oh, look. Things are exploding again. And some guy with superpowers is doing stuff. He's green and I think he can fly or some shit."

As I've said before, there just isn't enough time.

edited 9th Apr '11 9:15:18 PM by TobiasDrake

Drake's Razor: Never attribute to cold unfeeling logic that which can be equally explained by emotional outburst.
Apr 9th 2011 at 10:48:33 PM

At the very least there needs to be some introduction to the characters before you put them together as a team. Justice League had already introduced Superman, Batman, the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern and The Flash in prior episodes, then merged Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter's origins into the pilot story narrative. John Stewart hadn't been introduced, but the origins of his powers were already there and Hawkgirls origin was addressed later on.

Making some of the characters exist outside of the movie is a good thing, but expecting all of them to have a hit series is stretching it. That's the danger Marvel is running into with trying to put out all the Marvel movies together before hitting The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk 2008 did just about as well as the 2003 movie and they aren't planning on any sequels to that now. Who knows how well Thor and Captain America are going to do? The Iron Man movie is currently the only thing holding the Avengers together, ironically.

Deboss I see the Awesomeness. from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
Apr 9th 2011 at 11:22:47 PM

It's difficult for an audience to care much about an action scene if they are not invested in the characters

You clearly haven't seen the wonders of Stuff Blowing Up.

Fight smart, not fair.
Apr 10th 2011 at 2:52:33 AM

^^ Not only that, but the first episode of Justice League didn't really have to elaborate on origins - and while there were certain characters that were designed so that elaboration wasn't entirely necessary (Flash), especially when Unlimited came along, it was because of it's medium that it worked, and of the main seven only one didn't have any origin elaboration anyway, and even then he still got a focus episode about him in depth. With an animated show you can rely on the opportunity to introduce things later. A film? Not so much. Not when it comes to the very characters who are supposed to be driving the plot.

A movie shouldn't work the same way. Stopping the action midway so we can get flatly exposited their origins wouldn't exactly work, nor would just assuming the viewers will except "this universe has superheroes" without much actual explanation on who they actually are.

Avengers is solving it by introducing some of their characters in other films, and then having the plot of their crossover be about the characters left over, and even then the characters introduced like that are in a minority - the rest of them can be introduced briefly and easily because they've already been established or have some sort of related, easily established association.

Not only that, but the Justice League, on the other hand, has a different sort of connection than Marvel heroes tend to. Even with wildly different origins Marvel comics tends to establish overarching connections between their heroes (New York as a setting, SHIELD as an organization, etc). DC has their heroes tend to be extremely separate, only having connections in things specifically designed to do so - which, in a comic, isn't a problem because they're all already established in universe. In film... not so much.

"The difference between reality and fiction is that fiction has to make sense." - Tom Clancy, paraphrasing Mark Twain.
RavenWilder Raven Wilder
Raven Wilder
Apr 10th 2011 at 5:45:52 AM

Yes, it's important for a movie to establish who the Main Characters are and why they do the things they do, but I don't see why that would be more difficult to do for the Justice League than for ensemble casts in general.

"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
AtomJames I need a drink
I need a drink
Apr 10th 2011 at 5:49:23 AM

I think because you would explain how Greek Gods, Merpeople and Cosmic aliens exist in the one place. DC released a comic called the history of the DC universe and...its confusing as hell.

Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.
Respect the Red Right Hand
Apr 10th 2011 at 6:07:02 AM

The Incredibles was an animated picture. People's expectations of realism are significantly lower in the realm of animation. When you start hiring live actors, people start expecting more.

Whatever happened to equal treatment? -shot-

TobiasDrake Exposition Dragon from Colorado, USA Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
Apr 10th 2011 at 6:50:08 AM

^^ Exactly this.

The difference between Justice League and any other ensemble cast is that you don't have a single premise to explain with an ensemble of characters to go with it. You have a different premise for every character, and yet another premise to go with the team itself. That's a lot to explain.

Marvel's character-movies-first-then-team-up bypasses all of that, by explaining enough of the characters in prior films that when they come together for the team film, they can roll right into it without having to worry about people not knowing who Iron Man or Thor are.

edited 10th Apr '11 6:51:14 AM by TobiasDrake

Drake's Razor: Never attribute to cold unfeeling logic that which can be equally explained by emotional outburst.
Apr 10th 2011 at 10:06:30 AM

As mentioned earlier, the animated JL worked because they had the time to build characterization for the characters as the heroes, so lots of back-story wasn't really necessary, and could've been a large waste of time. For the series, it didn't matter if you know who these people were or where they came from or how they got their powers right off the bat, since they weren't introduced initially as superheroes in hiding, but just superhero characters.

In the live action movies, most people that go don't know the lore surrounding the characters. Because of that, there can be a lack of involvement (just as much as there could be a lack of involvement from other people watching the animated series for the same reason). There's less time in a movie, and they need to give some characterization to the main character. The best way to do that is to introduce the character to gaining their powers, taking the audience along for the ride, so that when the character realizes that they have a great responsibility on their shoulders, the weight of their decisions are felt by the audience as well.

That, and the animated series dealt with more lofty topics besides who superheroes are under the mask. If the first few superhero movies dealt with such topics as well, the market would be stale, and every subsequent superhero movie would be boring. The interesting part is how each character comes into their power and into their fame.

RavenWilder Raven Wilder
Raven Wilder
Apr 11th 2011 at 3:50:48 AM

The difference between Justice League and any other ensemble cast is that you don't have a single premise to explain with an ensemble of characters to go with it. You have a different premise for every character, and yet another premise to go with the team itself. That's a lot to explain.

The premise is that they're in a superhero universe. People gaining superpowers and wearing ridiculous outifts is just something that happens there.

"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
Apr 11th 2011 at 6:13:19 AM

^ Er... not with DC Comics - every hero has a very specific and character-establishing origin story. Build a movie on those flimsy grounds with those characters and you'll get the bare minimum of character presence, and it'll show.

This isn't The Incredibles, where you're introducing characters through their premise, as that's the major trait of he universe, you've got to remember that unlike Marvel DC characters weren't created with a shared universe in mind and are very individual.

"The difference between reality and fiction is that fiction has to make sense." - Tom Clancy, paraphrasing Mark Twain.
Apr 11th 2011 at 7:59:25 AM

Really? I was under the impression that both Marvel and DC have separate heroes and stories for each, but are all within the same universe/multiverse. Hell, I thought that was one of their many selling points, as long as major debate topics for hardcore comic aficionados.


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