Warner Bros. are, as is their prerogative, taking it steady with Justice League. This is their shot at Marvel Movieverse style glory, creating not just a single hit film, but a whole, cyclically boosted network of pictures. Only fools would rush in.
But I do think the studio should take the shot in target, when they’ve sized it up and done the prep. I do think a Justice League movie could work.
Mark Millar, it seems, doesn’t agree.
Speaking to Sci-Fi Now, Millar outlined some reasons that he thinks a Justice League adaptation wouldn’t cut it at all.
His first, general complaint is that the characters are old:
The characters were created 75 years ago, even the newest major character was created 68 years ago, so they’re in a really weird time…
So far, I don’t follow him, but he does have character-specific worries too. Here he is on Green Lantern:
His power is that he manifests green plasma from his imagination and uses them as weapons against someone? Even that in itself if you just imagine then watching a fight scene with a guy who’s like a hundred feet away making plasma manifestations fight someone – it’s not exactly raucous, getting up close and personal.
Okay, not a terrible observation but far from a deal breaker. And then, slightly less well-argued are his points against The Flash:
The Flash has door handles on the side of his mask and if he doesn’t wear that mask, I’ll be pissed off, you know what I mean? They’re in a weird, weird situation – if you’ve got a guy who moves at the speed of light up against the Weather Wizard and Captain Cold or whatever, then your movie’s over in two seconds.
Millar is also rather worried about Aquaman’s ability to communicate in his native environment:
Aquaman can’t even talk under water. If you think about it in comics it’s fine, you just have a speech balloon, but how do you have Atlantis and people talking under water? Are they gonna talking telepathically? Is it going to be body forms?
There’s not an insurmountable problem in the lot. In fact, all of these obstacles are easily soluble.
Still, Millar hammers his point home by slamming the whole combination:
The actual logistics of each member of the Justice League is disastrous, and you put them all together and I think you get an excellent way of losing $200 million.
Over at Fox, Millar is nurturing a shared comic book movie universe. That one will blend The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Deadpool and, very possibly, a few other stragglers that can be pulled in from the peripheries of the X and 4 universes. He’s got a lot of odd problems and legacy quirks to work with too.
Surely there’s even an equivalent of “door handles” to be had in Fox’s roster of oddballs.
Translating comics into movies requires translation. An adaptation will adapt. Millar knows full well that some things that work on the page need to be left behind, reconfigured and reinvented in order to make a movie version of a comic come together.
There’s really no question of whether or not a Justice League movie could add up properly, it’s just a matter of what Warner Bros. will add and subtract to make it all balance.
Same at Fox. And it was just the same with Marvel.