Monday, August 02, 2010

Worlds lived, worlds died

Up until recently, "fan speculation" about what would occur in movie adaptations of scifi/comic/anime/whatever properties innevitably had to be projected through the prism of what would be most palatable to mainstream audiences who didn't come up marinating in the stuff. It's only logical, after all... except maybe it's not anymore. In a world where Marvel Studios seems poised to "justify" the asymetrical realities of their "Avengers" project by trotting out esoteric macguffins like The Cosmic Cube or Infinity Gauntlet, who can say what's "too strange" now?

With that in mind, take with maybe LESS than a bucketful of salt this purported "exclusive" from comicbookmovie.com, claiming the appearance of a certain disproportionately-important DC Universe character in the Green Lantern movie: KRONA.

Probably nothing but a fanservice-y minor beat. Probably. But if not, things could get really interesting really fast... (more after the break)

Short version: The Green Lanterns are space-cops whose main "big" job is preventing rogue individuals from causing cosmic-level threats. The inspiration for this mandate were the crimes of Krona, an ancient ancestor of the alien Gaurdians (the GLs' bosses.) A mad scientist, Krona built a machine that would let him witness the origins of the universe - a giant hand reaching out of nothingness and unleashing "everything." (Exactly whose hand that was is kind of a "big deal.") However, in piercing the fabric of time to get his peek, Krona wound up setting off a cosmic chain reaction that split the one Universe into a MULTIverse - an infinite number of similar-yet-not alternate realities primarily differentiated by possessing gender, race or age "flipped" Justice League memberships and/or collections of "forgotten" heroes purchased from defunct rival publishers. Up until about 1985, The Multiverse was the defining "big idea" of DC Comics; allowing writers an excuse to make radical changes to established characters without rocking the "main" lines and the all-important plugging of continuity holes - "oh, that actually happened on Earth 2" is the DC version of "a wizard did it."

So... yeah, probably just a fan-friendly nod to the arcana, since that's some REALLY dense fan-wankery to expect in a production from the "superheroes? Do we have those?" Warner Bros. lot at this point. But given that Geoff Johns was at Comic-Con making cryptic teases about GL kicking off an Avengers-style shared-continuity run for DC movies... what if it's not? After all, also turning up in the GL movie is Angela Bassett as perennial DC "linking character" Amanda Waller - who'd be REALLY easy to plug into the Nick Fury role, yes?

So, then, crazy radical thought for the day: How do you build a shared DC movie-continuity when you're two biggest "players" (Batman and Superman) are going to be stranded for the forseeable future in the Nolan Bros. stand-alone, no-one-else-lives-here worlds? Sure, you COULD just have two other actors play Batman and Superman in a "Justice League" movie and keep it seperate, but fans would be furious...

...unless, of course, "that actually happened on Earth 2."

Could that be Warners/DC's gambit? "Shared universe? Yeah, that's cool I guess. Have you seen our MULTIVERSE?"

Think about it: One passing line of dialogue from Krona (or whoever, really) about "different heroes on different worlds," some quick glimpse of Christian Bale's wheezing robo-suit Batman (and maybe Adam Wests too, while they're at it) on a monitor/crystal-ball/whatever and PRESTO! Suddenly the sloppy non-continuity geeks hate becomes the  preposterously-dense, graph-requiring continuity that geeks LOVE.

Likely? Hell no. But if Krona really is in the movie, don't expect me to be the last one to bring this up.

13 comments:

akkuma420 said...

That would be....... i dunno actually.
Can't say its a bad thing but definitely cant say its a good thing.

It would make sense though, DC wanting to keep up with Marvel's pace.

I personally think the DC universe if FAR superior to the Marvel universe, BUT, the Marvel universe is much more fun and interesting to get involved in.

Back to said topic though..... I really don't know what to think about this.

Have to wait and see if there is any fact behind this.

Thanks for the update Bob.

Filmduck said...

Bob, why is it that more and more often as time has passed since it first came out it seems you have turned on the Nolan batman? If its not some comment about his pseudo realistic suit its complaining about how Nolan has prevented batman from being part of the justice league (something that makes far more sense than him being part of it like in the comics). While it may sound like it this isn't so much a complaint as it is just curiosity. You just seemed to really really like it when it first came out. But now you seem to have turned against Nolan's take on batman a bit.

On a side note I much prefer how Warner Bros handles there superheros. Superman Returns was highly underrated and it is a shame it didn't do better because that was one of the first times I liked superman (I never could get into his comics). Nolan's batman movies have been amazing to say the least, and now after some long preparation they are releasing what looks to be an excellent green lantern movie (with an exception of the costume which WILL get changed) and they are now starting on a flash movie with wonder woman on the horizon. Slow and steady wins the race as they say and I feel Marvel/disney's movies are coming in too fast and if a single one of the two upcoming films fails before avengers they wont really have the time to fix the problem...

Cyrus said...

It makes sense in theory. The shared universe has worked wonders for Marvel. Logic dictates that DC tries to one-up them.

My biggest concern would be the general public and its reaction. Sure WE would embrace it with open arms but the regular folk could perhaps think it a bit too complicated or too big of an investment.

Then again, the mere possibility I could be watching a Justice League movie in a few years is good enough for me.

Sidenote:
Hey Bob, What do you think about Zach Snyder's new movie Sucker Punch?

Back in you're Watchmen review you said you would like to see Snyder work on an original project.

Bob said...

@Filmduck,

At this point, I think TDK has been enshrined as a great film (which it is) long enough that one is no longer required to preface every single notation of it's flaws with "I love the movie, but..."

The bionic batsuit is awful looking (to be fair, EVERY live-action Batman suit has been awful looking), the hand-to-hand fights are pretty bland, Bale's Batman voice is hysterically bad and while the decision to keep things A.) "realistic" and B.) self-contained almost certainly must've seemed like a good idea at the time... it's looking more and more like it's canceling-out more story points than it's creating; though to be fair no one circa-"Begins" could've possibly known that by 2010 primary colors would be back in superhero-style or that the formerly-impossible dream of inter-film continuity would come into vogue.

Now, NONE of that makes TDK any less great... but I think it does leave the future of Nolan's third installment looking precipitous. I've maintained for awhile that it's bound to be "recieved" as a dissapointment because TDK's "phenomenon" status was lightning in a bottle you can't catch again - but coming out the same year it's innevitably going to be compared to "Avengers" and I wonder if "Batman chases clever but all-too-human foe through not-Chicago once again" might look suddenly lacking when stacked against "a god, a cyborg, an ogre and a (sort of) time-traveler versus cosmic-scale disaster."

Will Blanchard said...

I doubt that WB will go for a multiverse idea for fear of messing with Nolan's vision for the series. If Nolan wants to keep things self contained then that's how the DC movie universe will stay as I doubt anyone will want to step on his toes.

As far as a multiverse goes though, it would be pretty cool if not as awesome as a shared universe. I think what the fans really want to see is Batman and Superman side by side, not a brief acknowledgment of their existance.

Jemas said...

I hate that I have to be the one to say this BUT:
A Justice League movie would be a just plain awful idea. Part of the problem is, and always will be, that most of the characters are redundant. You have Superman, what do you need Wonder Woman for? What about Batman? In a battle where you NEED Superman (Darkseid comes to mind, or maybe Doomsday) how is Batman going to get involved? What about the Flash, what's his job? Or Manhunter? How about Hawkman, do we want him in? The Atom? Green Arrow? And that's just the well known incarnation of the Justice League, what about the other ones?

This also brings me nicely to my next point. What are you going to do that feels threatening to a team that includes all it's members? Part of the problem is that the Justice League is MASSIVELY overpowered. This is a major flaw in the SUPERMAN alone movies, how much of a problem is it gonna be when he's got an entire team to back him up, with people like Wonder Woman or Green Lantern?

Finally there's the problem that half the team is either A) Boring or B) Conceptually difficult. Batman only functions on his own in movie form, and even then it's more about the villains. Superman is not an interesting character, I hate to say it but he's not interesting from a story point of view. They've had problems, conceptually, making movies about Wonder Woman or The Flash, how's that gonna work when they're with a team?

I hate to say it, but a Justice League movie would probably suck. You want to do a DC movie, based on a team? You want my reccomendation, to be awesome but also unique and interesting (IE, not copying Marvel)?

Secret. Six. Villanious one. Look 'em up, thank me later :)

Jemas said...

I hate that I have to be the one to say this BUT:
A Justice League movie would be a just plain awful idea. Part of the problem is, and always will be, that most of the characters are redundant. You have Superman, what do you need Wonder Woman for? What about Batman? In a battle where you NEED Superman (Darkseid comes to mind, or maybe Doomsday) how is Batman going to get involved? What about the Flash, what's his job? Or Manhunter? How about Hawkman, do we want him in? The Atom? Green Arrow? And that's just the well known incarnation of the Justice League, what about the other ones?

This also brings me nicely to my next point. What are you going to do that feels threatening to a team that includes all it's members? Part of the problem is that the Justice League is MASSIVELY overpowered. This is a major flaw in the SUPERMAN alone movies, how much of a problem is it gonna be when he's got an entire team to back him up, with people like Wonder Woman or Green Lantern?

Finally there's the problem that half the team is either A) Boring or B) Conceptually difficult. Batman only functions on his own in movie form, and even then it's more about the villains. Superman is not an interesting character, I hate to say it but he's not interesting from a story point of view. They've had problems, conceptually, making movies about Wonder Woman or The Flash, how's that gonna work when they're with a team?

I hate to say it, but a Justice League movie would probably suck. You want to do a DC movie, based on a team? You want my reccomendation, to be awesome but also unique and interesting (IE, not copying Marvel)?

Secret. Six. Villanious one. Look 'em up, thank me later :)

Bob said...

@Jemas

" You have Superman, what do you need Wonder Woman for?"

For the moment when you come up against any one of several hundred just-as-strong-as-Superman enemies running around the DC Universe more than one at a time. Also, depending on how close they want to follow "the rules" of these things, Superman is all but useless against anything "magical," and she's not.

" What about Batman? In a battle where you NEED Superman (Darkseid comes to mind, or maybe Doomsday) how is Batman going to get involved?"

Tactical support, smarter than everyone else, and SOMEONE has to pay for everything.

"What about the Flash, what's his job?"

Backup, recon, comic relief.

"Or Manhunter?"

Intel (mind-reader, and can be invisible.)

"How about Hawkman, do we want him in?"

He has wings and hits people with a MACE. If I'm trying to make a visually-exciting movie, that's not someone I'd leave out.

"The Atom? Green Arrow?"

Changing size is a useful ability none of the others have, so yeah on The Atom. As for Green Arrow, I'd keep him around, definitely - you need decidedly human people around to up the stakes and do the all-important "no powers and I STILL kicked your ass" third-act saving-throw.

"This also brings me nicely to my next point. What are you going to do that feels threatening to a team that includes all it's members?"

Given that the rotating heavy-roster of this particular sandbox includes the entire Olympian and Arthurian pantheon, innumerable large-scale monsters, the aforementioned hundred or so guys who can survive a fight with Superman and more hostile alien races than I can count to say nothing of HELL ITSELF; I don't think that will prove very difficult. Especially since Superman's overpoweredness can be negated by a rock.

Andrew said...

I never got that, to me Kryptonite should remove Superman's powers, not kill him.
I don't like Superman anyway, he just seems a little too smug.

Dave Kraft said...

A Batman in body armor was always one of the attractions to Batman in live-action films (since the reception to the outfit in the Burton films). After all, he's supposed to be wearing body armor in the comics (even if it is drawn like tights). I always viewed Nolan's Batman as a Batman-in-progress. The TDK suit fitted him much better than the pudgy Batman Begins outfit. I feel the segmented armor was meant to give it the feel of an interim-stage prototype for what's to come in the third, concluding film of Nolan's Batman story-arc. It was a necessary evil, considering that the cowl's neck was segmented to allow Bale to turn his head. Prior to this, the actor had to swivel his whole torso to look at something. The rest of the armor's design followed suit with that choice. I think you should expect a change to something a bit more familiar and streamlined for the third film.

I just hope his voice changes suit as well.... everyone from fans to Kevin Conroy has expressed their thoughts on Bale's "throat cancer" voice....

Jemas said...

Hmm, okay, now I'm tempted to spend a good page, page and a half overanalyzing the concept of a Justice League movie with you Bob, but before I take the time and energy to do that I need one small concession, because otherwise my analysis is worthless:

The movie needs to be, at least on some level, accessible to a good portion of moviegoers. A Justice League movie would be a MASSIVE and expensive undertaking, easily a couple hundred million, and comic book geeks are not nearly enough to make up for that, so the average person HAS to be able to watch it. I'm not saying we need to depower or reimiagine everyone, but there might need to be some concessions here and there *coughAquamancough*. If you can concede that, we can get down to business.

Bob said...

@Jemas,

Thing is, I'm with you there (save that I think you HAVE to have Aquaman, because he's fun) when it comes to the mass-appeal angle... just from another angle.

See, I think a Justice League/DCU movie is already tailor-made for the mainstream, and it's "fan-ish" concerns that are helping keep it from showing up. Everyone on the planet knows who Batman and Superman are. EVERYONE. And Wonder Woman, too, even if they can't tell you another thing about her. The other "mainstays" are incredibly simple to explain: "I run fast," "I have a bow," etc. And after three decades and counting of the Superfriends and JLU cartoons the basic idea that they're all "buddies" is pretty well-entrenched.

And unless I'm reading humanity wholly wrong, I don't know that the "lets go see the biggest action picture" friday night audience really cares about minutiae, linked-origins or what everyone's "tactical function" is - "fanboys" do, and their tickets are already bought. And I know who REALLY doesn't care: KIDS - the real audience for something like this. A 10 year-old doesn't care that Batman is probably extraneous - "he's there because he's awesome" suffices. One or two scenes of "wow, good thing Batman was here, I'd never have thought of doing THAT!" from Superman or whoever takes care of the older audience's willing-suspension; and fans long-ago internalized the "Batman always wins because he's crazy-prepared" meme.

Samuel James Newsome said...

While the idea of a multiverse is cool enough already, if all the super heroes are in different universes, how do you bring them all together for a Justice League movie? Answer:
CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS!!!