What Justice League 2 Should Be
“The world’s not fixed in the past, only the future.”Silas Stone, ZSJL
“Bring back what we lost, I hope, yes. Keep what I found, I have to, at all costs.”Tony Stark, Avengers: Endgame
The path forward for Justice League movies is found in Mission: Impossible and James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad.
For the longest time, the Mission: Impossible franchise only had a few key concepts. 1) the IMF exists; 2) Ethan Hunt is Good, and will do what he has to to protect innocent lives; 3) incredibly lifelike rubber masks that can be ripped off for a dramatic reveal; 4) fit Ving Rhames in somewhere. Beyond that, each director from the first to fifth movie was allowed to take those basic concepts and put their own spin on it. Brian De Palma made a paranoid thriller. John Woo did martial arts and gunfights and slo-mo doves. J.J. Abrams made a feature length, high budget episode of Alias. Brad Bird brought the “everything goes wrong” energy of any Pixar climax to the entire movie. Christopher McQuarrie made masterpieces. Everyone had their take.
And that’s what I want from Justice League sequels. Honest to God I don’t need them to all be building one larger story, like the Avengers movies and the Infinity Saga. We had an Infinity Saga. Maybe asking the general audience to put up with a second “Watch everything, it all counts, oops actually Agents of SHIELD and Defenders don’t but keep pretending they do” franchise is irrational. No, what I want is for DC Films to find clever, innovative writers and directors and let them put their spin on what a Justice League movie should be. Don’t worry about a consistent arc, show me Emerald Fennell’s Justice League, Rian Johnson’s Justice League, Regina King’s Justice League, Greta Gerwig’s Justice League. Give them them a few simple rules, simple “rubber masks, Ethan allows zero civilian causalities” precepts, then cut them loose to do their thing. That’s way more interesting to me than “every movie must get us closer to Darkseid attacking.”
But how does James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad factor in? Gunn went to DC and said “I want to keep these characters from the last movie, but add these characters,” and DC said “That’s fine, let us know who you’re gonna kill, it’s all fine.” By the time a new Justice League movie could be greenlit, we’ll have seen a new Batman in Robert Pattinson, a new Supergirl in the Flash solo movie, new movies for the Shazam family and Black Adam, the Green Lantern Corps, and sequels for Aquaman and Wonder Woman. And those are just the things we know will happen. There could also be Zatanna, Blue Beetle, a black Superman, Static Shock, or Hourman. Even a Blackhawks movie involving Steven GD Spielberg isn’t off the table at time of writing. So if you have an interesting director on the hook for a Justice League movie? Take the same approach as The Suicide Squad. If they want to reuse characters, make it happen. If they want Zatanna or Shazam or Supergirl, make that happen. If they want to include Firestorm or Hawkgirl or I don’t know, the not-evil Doctor Light why not, let them. Life is short, give me as many takes on Justice League as you can manage, and if someone absolutely nails it McQuarrie-Rogue Nation-style, let them make as many as they like and then we’ll worry about an overall arc.
Marvel is the studio where every movie needs to be part of The Plan. Let DC be where directors can just… play. Both plans have earned the exact same number of Best Picture nominations, to be frank.
So that’s where I’m at with Zack Snyder’s Justice League. I’m glad it exists, it’s an improvement over what opened in theatres, but it’s very self-indulgent and I never want to see its intended sequels, I only want new spins from new directors. In short, this is a good place for Snyder’s take on DC to end, and screw him for teasing more.
Disagree? Sound off in the comments, but come correct, ’cause I gots the receipts.
Anyway see you next time for something maybe not about movies or superheroes at all, that’d be neat.