2017 has the potential to be one of the biggest movie years in history. With three MCU movies, two DCEU films, multiple Stephen King pictures, and a new Star Wars on the way, the box office returns this year are sure to break records. While I’m looking forward to seeing all of the big tent-pole blockbusters that are on the way, there is no movie this year I’m looking forward to more than Justice League.
Though the DC Extended Universe hasn’t received glowing critical or audience reviews up until this point, nor has it enjoyed the box office success of many Marvel movies, it has a legion of loyal fans – including myself. I’ve stated before that I’ve been an enormous fan of the character of Batman pretty much since birth, and he served as my gateway to the rest of the DC Comics characters and mythos. I’ve always been much more invested in the DC brand than the Marvel one, and I’ve been waiting years to see the Justice League team up in live-action on the big screen.
A Justice League film has been a long time coming. There has only ever been one serious attempt to bring the team together in live-action, and that was back in 2009 when George Miller was set to direct Justice League: Mortal, which was supposed to have the league face of against Maxwell Lord. The movie had begun pre-production, had already been cast, costumes had been fitted, and sets had been built when the Writers Guild of America strike of 2008 put the brakes on production, allowing Warner Bros. to cancel the film. It didn’t bode well for the movie either that Christopher Nolan was already in the middle of The Dark Knight trilogy, featuring a completely different, unconnected Batman. Before and after this doomed project, however, no serious attempt has ever been made to bring these iconic characters together in one film – until now.
I’m excited for this project for a number of reasons. Firstly, as a fan of both of Zack Snyder’s previous directorial efforts in the DC Films Universe – Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice – I’m excited to see what he has in store for audiences with Justice League. There are many rumors floating around that this will be Snyder’s last film in the DCEU and that it will be the finale-of-sorts to his DC trilogy, so I’m excited to see what sort of ending he provides us with. I’m optimistic that it will be one with all of our heroes, including a reborn Superman, parting ways on friendly terms, hopeful of the future and promising to reunite if the world needs them to again.
While we’re on the subject of Zack Snyder, he is a great visual director. Say what you want about his ability to craft a story or write a script, the man knows how to shoot a beautiful movie. Justice League is a film that is bringing together Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg for the first time ever, and considering all of these characters are so iconic and larger than life, they deserve a director who will translate them to the silver screen in a way that will resonate both with fans and casual audiences.
No matter how beautifully a movie is shot, a good film is nothing without a great script. Luckily for us, an Oscar-winning writer wrote Justice League. Chris Terrio, who won an Academy Award for writing 2012’s Argo, penned the movie for Warner Bros. While this may give those who didn’t like Batman v. Superman pause, as he re-wrote David Goyer’s initial screenplay for that movie, they should take solace in the fact that Chris Terrio wrote this one from scratch. Not only that, but Terrio comes across as extremely passionate when discussing the process of writing the film. Per an interview he did with The Wall Street Journal:
‘Batman v. Superman’ is a bit of an ‘Empire Strikes Back’ or ‘Two Towers’ or any similar middle film in a trilogy. The middle film tends to be the darkest one. I do think from ‘Man of Steel’ through ‘Justice League’, it is one saga really. I expect ‘Justice League’ will be tonally not quite as dark as ‘Batman v. Superman’. From that point of view, I felt compelled to go back and try to lift us and myself into a different tonal place because I think when you write a darker film, sometimes you want to redeem it all a bit[…]This has been the most rigorous intellectual exercise I’ve had in my writing life. For ‘Batman v. Superman’, I wanted to really dig into everything from ideas about American power to the structure of revenge tragedies to the huge canon of DC Comics to Amazon mythology. For ‘Justice League’, I could be reading in the same day about red-and-blue shifts in physics, Diodorus of Sicily and his account of the war between Amazons and Atlanteans, or deep-sea biology and what kind of life plausibly might be in the Mariana Trench. If you told me the most rigorous dramaturgical and intellectual product of my life would be superhero movies, I would say you were crazy. But I do think fans deserve that. I felt I owed the fan base all of my body and soul for two years because anything less wouldn’t have been appreciating the opportunity I had.
Reading the above, it’s clear that Terrio immersed himself in some interesting themes and mythology to help craft the story for Justice League. The fact that he calls it one of the most dramatic and intellectual products he’s ever created makes me hopeful that it will not only be a fun movie, full of action-packed sequences, but also a smart one too; one that transcends the comic book genre and is an excellent drama as well, despite the costumed heroes – just like The Dark Knight trilogy.
The reason that I’m most excited about Justice League, however, is due to the simple fact that I’ve waited my whole life to see these characters interacting with one another in live-action. The Man of Steel, the Dark Knight, the Amazon Princess, the King of Atlantis, the Scarlet Speedster, and the Bionic Man all have such distinctly different personalities, half of the fun of this movie will be seeing how they come together; what each of them will bring to the table, and what the overall dynamic of the team will be like. Of course, comic book fans will already have a good idea of how these gods among men will interact with one another, but that won’t minimize the pure joy that we’ll feel actually seeing it happen for the first time. The little glimpse we’ve gotten in the trailers thus far have been so fun, it makes me confident that amongst the dramatic elements that Chris Terrio is sure to have incorporated into the film’s story, there will be a lot of fun and humor as well.
Justice League will also be a nice contrast to The Avengers, who we’ve seen multiples times on the big screen so far. While the Avengers team consists of extraordinary human beings, the majority of the characters that make up the Justice League are literally gods protecting regular people from monsters. It’s something new and, while similar, is also different enough to Marvel’s all-star team to prevent general audiences from feeling like they’ve seen this story before, which will push off superhero fatigue for another few years at least, which is a good thing for all of us! Not to mention, this film is really serving as a launching point for the DCEU. Superman is truly the only hero within DC’s fledgling universe who’s received a solo film so far – and Wonder Woman is the only other one who will have received one by the time Justice League is released. It seems that Warner Bros. is using the upcoming team-up flick as jumping off point to spin off the rest of their heroes into their own solo franchises, which ensures – whether or not Justice League is successful – we’ll be inundated with DC content for the years to come. And for fans of the comics, like myself, that is an extremely good thing.
Are you excited for Justice League? Do you think it will be any good? What 2017 movie are you most excited for this year? Let me know in the comments below!