In which I re-write the Justice League movie

Last November, I was busy creating a tiny human and so did not have time to go to the theater for Justice League.  I finally got around to seeing it a few weeks ago, and in general I felt the same about it as I did about the other DC movies: there was a good movie in there somewhere.  It just wasn’t the final cut.

There wasn’t anything really horrible about the movie; it was just kind of blah.  Characters, plot, effects, everything.  The more I thought about it, the more ideas came to me of how to improve it (none of which involve more Whedon-esque quips).

Start with Intergang

It’s pretty clear that BvS set the stage for a villain from the fiery dystopian planet Apokolips to appear in Justice League by teasing parademons and possibly Darkseid himself (“He’s coming!”)  Justice League picks that thread up by starting the movie with an invasion of parademons, then goes on to a history lesson about the Mother boxes and Steppenwolf, the movie’s big bad (and one of Darkseid’s lieutenants).  Although I got a laugh with the scene comparing the sketch of a parademon to Batman, in general this was not a terribly compelling plot and definitely involved some info dumps.

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Parademons

But I have seen a better way to introduce the Apokoliptians in Superman: The Animated Series, which uses a criminal organization called Intergang to bring in concepts like Mother boxes and boom tubes (which are shown but never explained in JL).

Intergang is a group of humans based in Metropolis, generally led by a guy named Bruno Mannheim, that use advanced technology from Apokolips to commit thefts and other crimes.  The DCU movies do like to pretend from time to time that they care about how all this superhero stuff affects the average citizen, so perhaps seeing an “arms race” of super-tech in response to the beginnings of the Justice League would be an interesting direction to take (a bit like Vulture in Spiderman: Homecoming).

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Darkseid and Bruno Mannheim in the DCAU

Just as with the parademons, we could see Batman investigating Intergang early in the movie.  This would be a good excuse to show Batman acting like a detective instead of a thug who just likes to dangle people off buildings when it’s helpful to him.  As his investigations lead him further, he and Wonder Woman could come across the information about the Mother boxes and Darkseid’s underling who brought them to Earth.  This seems a little more organic than an oddly specific flare signal from the Amazons and an info dump from Diana (though, again, I enjoyed seeing more of the Amazons).

Intergang also provides a vehicle for character development for Lois Lane.  Instead of grieving by writing fluff pieces, Lois could grieve by throwing herself recklessly into a dangerous investigation of the group.  As much as I liked the “mother-in-law” scene with her and Ma Kent, this reaction seems more like the Lois Lane I am familiar with. It also gives her a reason to cross paths with Batman early in the movie so they can be like, “Man, doesn’t it suck that Superman’s dead?  Yeah, we could really use him around.” And thereby lay the groundwork for his eventual resurrection and Lois’s role in it.

Ditch Steppenwolf

So if we have Intergang, do we need Steppenwolf in his role?  Well, we need some Apokoliptian to be calling the shots for Intergang, but it should definitely not be Steppenwolf, who is one of the absolute worst villains in all modern superhero movies.  His defining characteristics are that he has a cool axe and some vague mommy issues. It is an absolute waste of a great actor like Ciaran Hinds.

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Steppenwolf: The Worst

If I have one problem with the DCU movies in general, it’s that the third act tends to devolve into an everything-is-dark-and-on-fire CGI mess.  So maybe we could have a villain that’s not a giant CGI monster for once?

There are several flunkies of Darkseid’s that would work for this role.  Kalibak and DeSaad specifically were well done in S:TAS, giving some insight to the political machinations going on back on Apokolips.  But my first crazy choice would have to be Granny Goodness.

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Come to Granny, darling. She’ll make it all better.

We haven’t seen anything like Granny yet, not even in a Marvel movie.  Done well, she can be intimidating while at the same time providing comic relief.  Remember, for example, that she is voiced wonderfully by Ed Asner in the DCAU–what if we had someone similar to play her here?  It doesn’t have to be too campy.

Plus, if we get Granny, we can also get her Furies, which would make for a pretty cool climax battle for the Justice League, with several different types of action.  And it would be nice to see some female supervillains for once (they are a rarity even in Marvel movies).

Complete Cyborg’s Story Arc

Image result for cyborg justice leagueGoing in to Justice League, I was afraid that Cyborg’s character was going to be very bland, but I was pleasantly surprised with him and his backstory.  (Though his character design could have been better…)  But after finishing the movie, I really feel like he got the shaft in terms of character development.  Batman and Wonder Woman both see grow over the movie, Aquaman gets some set up for his upcoming movie, Flash gets some nice resolution and a cute end credit scene with Superman.  What does Cyborg get?  A story arc that’s left hanging.

At the beginning of the movie, we see that Cyborg is conflicted, to say the least, about his father’s decision to save his life and make him into a cyborg with the technology from the Mother box.  He feels more like an experiment than a son and is frustrated that he can’t understand his changing powers.  Later, he must save his father from the parademons, and this would have been a great time for his feelings to come to a head.

But instead, the team saves his father and just kinda leaves, and I don’t think we see Dr. Stone again at the end of the movie (someone correct me if I’m wrong).  Cyborg never works out his feelings about what was done to him, and how he’ll live going forward.  For a character that is essential to the plot, being the only one who understands how to shut down the Mother boxes, this seems like a significant oversight.  Especially when Barry gets such a nice scene with his father at the end showing his character growth.

I’m sure the powers that be had planned to flesh this out more in a solo Cyborg movie, but I wouldn’t bet on that being a certainty now.

Speaking of which, after seeing the end credit scene, I think it’s pretty cute that they think they’ll be doing not only another possible movie with Darkseid that they’ve been leading up to, but also an Injustice League (or Secret Society/Legion of Doom/etc) movie.  Beyond Aquaman and WW2, I’m not convinced of how many more movies we’ll get in the DCU period.  My younger self would cry to hear me say this, but I’m not sure I really even care.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Awakening

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From Skellig Michael.

“There has been an awakening…”

So said the first teaser for The Force Awakens.  Skellig Michael appeared in the last minutes of that movie as Ahch-To, the refuge of hermit Luke Skywalker.  The island will be forever associated with Star Wars to me.  Here are some of the “Jedi Steps” that Rey climbs, and some of the puffins that became “porgs” in The Last Jedi.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Awakening

Disney/Pixar Madness

Do you like getting into fights on the Internet over trivial things?  If so, I recommend you fill out this March Madness-style bracket of Disney and Pixar movies and begin alienating your friends with your terrible choices.

I had so much fun doing the Holiday Madness bracket at Christmas, I thought this would be another fun one to do.  As you see, Disney movies are on the left side of the bracket and Pixar movies are on the right, meeting in the final.  As with all brackets, the seeding is the most important factor in determining the outcome, and I think the seeding here is a bit flawed.  I’m not really sure how it was done, and I feel like the starting matchups could be better, but I’m too lazy to figure out my own, so we’ll go with this one.

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I really tried to be objective instead of just picking my favorites.  On the Disney side, I knew it would come down to those top four, and then I struggled to pick among them.  I admit I probably let some nostalgia sway me, because The Lion King is my favorite Disney movie.  I’m confused by the inclusion of The Nightmare Before Christmas instead of, say, The Rescuers Down Under or Atlantis if they wanted to keep it around the Disney Renaissance period, or Wreck-It Ralph if going more contemporary.

On the Pixar side, Up and Wall-E are my favorite Pixar movies, but they didn’t make it very far.  I really struggled with the seeding: Finding Nemo vs. Inside Out and The Incredibles vs. Wall-E do not seem like first round matchups to me.  I also admit I have not seen Coco or Cars 2 (plus I fell asleep during the original Cars).

But overall, I think my “Elite Eight” are a pretty good representation of the best of Disney/Pixar.  Now here’s your chance to tell me how wrong I am!  What would your picks be?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Smile

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From Co. Cork.

 

One of the things about visiting tourist locations is that you often get tourists in your photos!  This is Blarney House, whose grounds also encompass Blarney Castle, where I did kiss the famous Blarney Stone (I could really use the gift of gab…).  Blarney Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland.  These ladies were taking a long time setting up a really nice shot so I didn’t have time to wait around to get a picture without them in it.  I bet their picture was really pretty though!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Smile

Fan Art Friday: Vader’s Mask

Welcome back to our Star Wars coloring book club, where Kiri at Star Wars Anonymous and I color the same image every month to compare and contrast.

My cat wanted to get into the action this month: I left my book open on the floor and decided to add his claw marks.  I think he was trying to add to the edginess or something.

I really like the color scheme I picked this time, and the execution was okay.  I did Vader’s mask in grey and it kinda turned out looking like a skeleton.  But then I decided I liked it, because it reminded me of the scene in ROTJ when Vader tosses the Emperor over the railing, and the Force lightening energy electrocutes him so you can see his skeleton.  Not sure that’s entirely scientifically accurate, but it sure looks cool.

You can check out Kiri’s version here and enjoy its great colors and shading.

Next month in anticipation of the Solo movie, we’ll do a Han Solo-inspired image.  Fun fact: this one is actually in the book twice!

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