Okay, this is a big deal for me. The reason I haven’t said anything about it was because when the announcement came out, I was publishing a book (Sorcerer Rising can be bought here).
Anyway, first impressions are very much a yay! I love Batman and I can watch Superman, at least when they’re interacting. This is also that first move toward a full blown Justice League movie. The JL (and JLA) cartoon is still one of my favorite cartoons. It has great storytelling, great characters, and isn’t afraid to go all out.
Here are the problems. Again, Chris Nolan is attached to it (though only as a producer). Again, they want Christian Bale to be Batman. Both are brilliant in their field. Nolan has made some of the best movies in recent memory and Bale is an actor who pretty much can be anything.
Here’s the problem. WB sees both of them as a blank check. They don’t know why, only that if they put those guys behind or in front of a camera they will make a crapload of money.
That is a very bad sign.
Chris Nolan makes Chris Nolan movies. Memento, The Prestige, Inception, and the first two Batman movies come from a point he was trying to make, that was significant to him, that he felt he could express in his own characteristic manner effectively.
But when he doesn’t want to make the movie, you get The Dark Knight Rises. I feel confident in stating most everyone will agree that is the worst of the bunch, probably the worst of Chris Nolan’s films. It was choppy, misguided, logistically ridiculous, and had terrible pacing. From what I understand, they basically handed him a blank check and told him to make that movie he’d always wanted to make (Inception) to get him to do it. Otherwise, he’d have walked away because for him, Batman was over with the Dark Knight.
I would love to see Bale as Batman again, but if they pick him up, that indicates to me they have no intention of rebooting Batman but simply continuing where the trilogy left off (though possible farther in the future). And they want him bad, if recent reports can be trusted.
Remember when I said Chris Nolan makes Chris Nolan movies? Well, that is Chris Nolan’s Batverse and it will not, under any circumstances, WHATSOEVER, mesh with the rest of the DC universe.
Do. Not. Argue.
Nolan’s Batverse is a world where you will never see villains like Clayface or Mr. Freeze, Deathstroke or Deadshot, at least not the way we want them. His universe makes no allowances for superhuman beings from other planets, for Amazonian demigods, for an intergalactic police force, or any of the things you want to see from your Justice League movie.
The bigger problem is underlying. WB thinks they can plug Nolan and Bale into anything and turn it into a cash generating machine. There’s a lot of truth to that, but it’s a short term vision. It’s not the long term nerdgasm we got from Marvel and Disney. They are not going to look at each individual property and make the best of it. hell, it looks like they’re going to just flat out ignore some of the essentials (Wonderwoman???) just because they don’t know how to do it effectively.
This is a dangerous attitude, and what makes it worse is it’s lazy. I get making hard business decisions, I get sacrificing creative acts for money when the bills have to be paid. But the Justice League would make money no matter what. I think Disney realized that with the Avengers. They gambled on Iron Man, and when it paid off they knew they could go full out. This isn’t hard to make money with. It’s not even really that hard to be creative and stay true to what makes it so great and still make money with.
They just want that guarantee. They don’t want a 95% chance of success, they want 100%.
That guarantee will kill this. Maybe not the planned Superman trilogy, maybe not the Batman reboot (or whatever they do). But if they keep approaching it like this, they’re not going to get the uber-franchise they’re wanting ala Avengers (which at this point is nine movies, all of which earned out, and a freaking TV show, not to mention what it has done for comic sales).
Maybe I’m ranting for nothing. I was one of the few who thought Superman was pretty decent and the Justice League still has a lot of potential. But everyone needs to keep an eye on this, because it will be a lesson for everyone. This isn’t a company sacrificing creativity for better business, this is just bad business.
Here’s what I really want to know. Why aren’t we doing a Martian Manhunter movie???