After hearing many rumors about the "Justice League of America" (JLA) film, supposedly going into production early next year, I listed the advantages and my concerns. Sadly, the negatives outweighed the good by more than two to one.
Since I suggested in September 2005 that JLA get the Hollywood treatment, this was very disconcerting and disappointing.
The biggest advantage is being a launching pad for films for characters such as Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and The Flash.
It's simply bad for business for Warner Bros. (DC Comics' parent company) to avoid this money-making opportunity. The studio must realize the average moviegoer recognizes more Marvel Comics characters than DC ones, thanks to Marvel striking often in the comic book film genre.
This leads to my third positive: "JLA" allows WB to invest in high-quality films about DC characters other than Batman and Superman.
My concerns are double-edged swords. Hollywood has its own Batman and Superman set (Christian Bale and Brandon Routh, respectively), but the latest buzz is that WB wants to recast the parts for "JLA."
I can't say this enough: Casting continuity means everything.
Most audience members will be confused if someone else besides Bale and Routh plays Batman and Superman. People had a hard enough time realizing "Batman Begins" wasn't related to the previous four films, even with a gap of eight years.
The public already knows and respects Routh and Bale in their roles. Plus, there's no reason to make things more complicated by choosing new actors or setting "JLA" in a time frame outside of "Superman Returns" and "Batman Begins."
Routh, as of July, expressed interest in doing "JLA" and working with Bale. During a recent "3:10 to Yuma" press junket, Bale said he hasn't been approached and isn't doing "JLA" after 2008's "The Dark Knight" (TDK). He doesn't want "JLA" to "tread on the toes" of the Batman franchise, saying it should come out after "Shadow of the Bat," to be released in 2011.
I agree with IESB film reporter Robert Sanchez that the "JLA" crew should use some "TDK" producers "to keep that camp happy."
Another concern is releasing "JLA" in summer 2009.
It's not a smart business decision for "JLA" and "Superman: The Man of Steel" to come out the same summer. WB should green-light "Man of Steel" for June 2009 as originally planned and spend more time on "JLA."
I'm stunned about the unconfirmed news that "Mad Max" director George Miller will helm "JLA." Using computer-generated imagery (CGI) combined with live action doesn't mean the "Happy Feet" and "Babe" director/producer knows anything about doing an ensemble action-adventure film.
For the record, here's my wish list for the "JLA" roster: Angelina Jolie, Anne Hathaway or Charisma Carpenter as Wonder Woman (Jolie actually might have to gain weight for the role); Brad Pitt as Green Lantern; Woody Harrelson as Green Arrow; Nicole Kidman as Black Canary; Michael Clarke Duncan or Laurence "the voice" Fishburne as Martian Manhunter; and Liam Neeson as Hawkman.
I'd also like Atom, Aquaman, The Flash and Zatanna to be included, and if necessary, a CGI version of Plastic Man for comic relief.
My final "JLA" concern revolves around fans' fear of a loner like Batman being in the film.
I envision Batman as the group's unofficial tipster or telling Superman "thanks, but no thanks" to JLA membership in a cameo. The JLA also could talk about, but never see, the Dark Knight the super hero equivalent of an urban legend.