A few thoughts on recent casting rumours and the future of the Man of Steel (and possible Justice League) franchise…
A few weeks ago I posted about my thoughts on the inclusion of Wonder Woman in the still as yet unnamed Superman Vs Batman Movie that we had expected to see in 2015, but has now been pushed back to 2016.
After that post I actually stopped reading all the updates being thrown at me by the likes of SFX and Den of Geek. I was becoming exhausted by it all, and at the point where some of the casting was announced I think I mentally tapped out. If I’m honest, I kind of stopped reading when I heard the announcements about Jesse Eisenberg (really?!) and Jeremy Irons (misogynistic fox hunting bastard!). Terrible I know. I usually would never judge a movie or an actor before seeing it/them in action, but in my head I’m struggling to get mature, evil (misguided?), successful business mogul/scientist, heavy hitting and influential sociopath from Eisenberg. He may totally surprise me, but I’m not sure I’m ready for what would potentially be a young Lex. He doesn’t feel old enough to fit the usual tropes of Luthor and I’m not sold on the idea of a young ‘un amongst the Jesus-aged Clark and mature take on Batman. Maybe it can work, it did in Smallville – but that was always because we knew that he and Clark were both ten years off from their full potential, and his path was all to clear…
So today I decided to stop shying away, and whilst I worry that the more I know the less interest I may have in this project, I’m glad I popped my head back out from under the sand because reading rumours of a possible Justice League outing gives me a happy.
I enjoyed the Man of Steel movie, and like all those aimed at being a block buster hit, it had its flaws but it also had some incredibly good moments – really bringing to life the alien-ness of Kal-El and Krypton/Kryptonians. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I felt the MOS sequel should be just that – give us a chance to get to know this new screen incarnation of Kal/Clark et al.
So as interesting as I think a Batman/Superman movie could be at some point, I’ve never been struck on the idea of it being as an immediate sequel to a movie that could stand a little bit more character development and basic settings. After all, they shouldn’t assume that their audience is familiar enough with Kal-El/Clark/Superman because of previous media, when they are in fact introducing their own version of that character. My opinion on adding Wonder Woman to this is in my above linked post, though my concerns about her addition are largely from a feminist perspective, I also have concerns of over bloating a movie like we saw with Spiderman 3. On the other hand, Marvel with their X-Men and Avengers movies have proved that ensemble movies can work. And is that what we are looking at here?
Latest news on the subject is that production on MOS/Batman has begun and the cast are possibly already shooting despite a ten month push back on the release date. Should this be correct then there is a chance that they are filming back to back shoots. Ok, so it could just be they wanted to move the scheduled release date to have a bit more of a shot at the blockbuster status with less rivals on the playing field – not a bad idea. However, the possibility that production wheels are already in motion could suggest that plans have changed.
Couple this with the news that yet another person has been added to the casting rumour mill – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as John Stewart/Green Lantern – and we’ve got to start wondering, when are they going to announce that there is something a little bit Justice League about all this? Already we can start ticking our check list – Superman, check, Batman, check, Wonder Woman, check, Aquaman, possibly?, Lantern, check – excepting the point that it is not the Hal Jordan incarnation (let’s go with the New 52 continuity to avoid the crazy) – you know, we’re only a short list away from the founding members of the Justice League right there. Alright so this is speculation on top of rumours on top of vague twittering. BUT!!! I’m excited (strangely so given that until recently I really haven’t been able to imagine a JL movie really working).
Excited? Hell yes!
There are few different ways to slice this – if a Justice League movie is in the offing as a follow up to MOS/Batman, then as stated, I still wonder if MOS needs more time to develop, let alone all these new characters being thrown in. If it is a case of back to back filming, maybe we are looking at largely cameos in the MOS/Batman venture with a Justice League follow up. Either way, is it a good idea?
I guess this could go either way and potentially be the nail in the coffin of a franchise before it is even born, but if it is good… It could be so awesome. Going head to head with the Marvel beast when it comes to their expert hand at ensemble movies is daunting, but it might just work – and we can only hope would lead to stand alone movies if successful. I would pay all the money to see a Wonder Woman movie, and it is my experience that anything, no matter how terrible, is watchable with The Rock on board (and as a side note, we already know he’s good in an ensemble cast which may tip the odds).
The more I think about it the more I’m on board with the possibility of keeping MOS 2 a bit ensemble light but bringing in enough cameos to whet the appetite and then launch the Justice League ensemble in a reverse to the Marvel standard – with the ensemble coming (almost) first, followed by the standalone movies to flesh it all out in time for a JL sequel.
I liked Henry Cavill as Kal (we do need to see more of Clark though!), Affleck is a solid actor with a love of the source material (which doesn’t hurt), I’ve not seen much of Gadot but the casters must think she can hold her own, and THE ROCK!! With a precedent set for how to handle a super hero ensemble by Marvel, it might just work. Yes, I am excited. Possibly even enough to start reading the updates. 2016 feels a long way off!!