Why DC doesn't need to create a unified film universe for JLA

My opinion on why I believe that DC shouldn't follow Marvel's influence with the unified universe.

Editorial Opinion
By supyrman - Jul 11, 2011 04:07 PM EST
Filed Under: DC Comics

Everyone is praising Marvel for establishing a unified film universe to set up for their upcoming Avengers movie, but I see a few problems that a lot of people seem to be overlooking when they start talking about JLA and Avengers.


Iron Man was awesome. It was pretty much the perfect Iron Man movie. I know I personally got stoked when I saw Nick Fury step out and tell Stark that he wanted to speak with him about the Avengers initiative. It was epic, and it was appropriately timed. It was after the credits and the seeding of Agent Coulson throughout the movie was nice too. He wasn't essential to the plot, and he allowed the little tag at the end. It was great!

The Incredible Hulk was pretty good too! It stepped up the awesome where 2003's Hulk dropped the ball. It was an amazing Hulk movie, and it showcased what he could do. The story flowed well. This time, Tony Stark appeared at the end of the film to mention the Avengers, and he came BEFORE the credits. Marvel pushed the Avengers reference from an optional part of the movie to the actual ending of the film.

Iron Man 2 decided to say, "screw it! All we care about is the Avengers now!" Black Widow and Nick Fury became such an important part of the plot that the entire movie would fall apart without them. In fact, without Fury giving Stark the clues (with a few Captain America comics inside) he needed to create the new element he needed for his arc reactor (without which he would've died and the movie would've sucked). Then, after the credits we got a look at MJOLNIR from Thor.

Thor came next, and while I haven't seen the movie, I have seen the trailers - the first few of which revolved around Thor being interrogated by Agent Coulson. I also know that Hawkeye was featured (though from what I understand it was just a quick cameo). I can't comment on this one much as I haven't seen it.

Captain America: The First Avenger comes this month and Marvel has finally said, "ya know what? This whole movie thing? AVENGERS!!!" It seems that Howard Stark plays a vital role in the film, and even the title is a reference to the upcoming Avengers movie.

So what am I getting at? As Marvel nears the release of their Avengers movie, their other films suffer and become more and more reliant on the Avengers. They become little more than 2 hour advertisements for the Avengers. The movies can't stand on their own anymore!


Batman Begins came out and the only reference was one to the follow up film The Dark Knight! A single playing card with a Joker design on it. It wasn't essential to the plot. It just linked the two films together.

The Dark Knight came out a few years later (we're skipping Superman Returns, because it's being rebooted), and there were no references to anything except the next Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises (there was a quick Catwoman reference early in the film).

The Green Lantern just came out and once again we got no reference to the Justice League. Just a quick look forward to the impending sequel after the credits.

So what does DC seem to be doing? They are creating a universe that is set apart. The Nolanized Batman is grounded in reality, and he wouldn't work in a movie with the other members of the JLA. The Green Lantern would work fine with the other members, but the film had no indication of linking the two films. This idea of a set-apart universe is a great one! This way, the movies all stand alone and can be completely contained. The JLA movie can reference the other films (or not) and not bother the other films. This allows the audience to choose the way they view the films. Marvel is forcing us to accept the Avengers. DC is saying, "take the JLA or not. You decide." DC has enough faith in their properties that they don't feel the need to link them so that they can't stand alone. If the Avengers ends up sucking, then we've been building to a let down. We'd be in for the same thing cinematically that we already got with Smallville's tenth season. Build+build+build=letdown. Now if the JLA movie doesn't work out, then oh well. We'll just see a reboot a few years down the line and the story lines in the other DC movies haven't suffered one bit.

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vermillion - 7/11/2011, 5:04 PM
Honestly, WB/DC doesn't have to have a connected universe before a Justice League movie is made. They could do the opposite, have a Justice League film and make spin offs from that, and it'd probably work out just fine. Or just make a Justice League trilogy.

Or do a period piece. Maybe Kingdom Come or New Frontier. It could work out for their benefit if they try these ideas, IMO.
StuckInPanels - 7/11/2011, 5:17 PM
I think they should just make a Justice League movie and have that make spinoffs for each member
supyrman - 7/11/2011, 5:20 PM
TheShadow - 7/11/2011, 5:37 PM
I disagree...
A unified universe is needed to assure the audience isn't confused. We need one movie for most of the villains, we can have heroes introduced in the JLA movie. The JLA movie can be about this new brand of heroes coming toegether for a better good.
naterator - 7/11/2011, 6:06 PM
I would love to see something leading up to a JLA movie.....at least the first BIG THREE. SUPERMAN< BATMAN < and WW. Then the rest COULD be added in to make the JLA work. I agree with Vermillion though....except in order to do that we would have to recast the first two big guns that have already been done......and im not sure how excited i am or would be for that. As far as DC/WB doing a period piece is what SHOULD happen but if they do then it should definitely be done in a trilogy...and have Peter Jackson do it.
CorndogBurglar - 7/11/2011, 7:05 PM
If they were smart, they would do individual character movies, with each character's nemesis as the villain.

then do JLA and take all those villains and make them the Legion of Doom.

@ hailtothekingbaby

"Just look at that pos JLA Mortal they were willing to do and release"

they obviously weren't willing to do that JLA Mortal film, since it never got finished or released.
Orphix - 7/12/2011, 3:09 AM
Making a series of films in a shared universe is such a risky and difficult thing to do that I can understand why WB has decided against it so far.

Also the idea has really had time to present or develop itself.

Marvel had to create their own studio in order to make it work and even then they were still hedging their bets with Iron Man 1.

One really poor film can undermine the work of all the rest. Also you need a 'get out' strategy. I wonder if Marvel Studios have a set number of films in mind before they decide everything is running out of steam or needs a reboot?
bathead - 7/12/2011, 6:36 AM
So stupid question? Where exactly is there a catwoman reference in "The Dark Knight"? If thats true I'll be punching myself for missing it and watching it over and over again.
ThreeBigTacos - 7/12/2011, 7:31 AM
bathead: some fans believe Lucious saying "it should do fine against cats" (talking about the newer suit design) is a catwoman reference. I personally don't but to each his own.

supryman: you haven't seen Thor yet? What is wrong with you? and calling Cap an 'screw it lets focus on the avengers movie' is bullshit. Howard Stark is a vital role, so what? The reason it's subtitled 'The First Avenger' is so that Joe Public can associate Cap with the Avengers.
TheShadow - 7/12/2011, 7:58 AM
It's not a catwoman refrence as much as it is towards cats...
Bruce:"How does it handle against dogs?"
Lucius:"Should do fine against cats!"
Caedus137 - 7/12/2011, 8:25 AM
TheShadow - I dont agree that the audience would be "confused" by a JLA film seperate from the current crop of Nolan & Snyder DC movies ... It's a little bit patronising to be honest mate. After all, if we can have Smallville and Superman returns existing at the same time, the Nolan Batman films and Arkham Asylum existing at the same time - not to mention the countless comic series' and animated shows etc - why not 2 big screen versions of Batman, Superman and Green Lantern? It may not be everyones preferred option, but its by no means unthinkable.
naterator - 7/12/2011, 9:44 AM
@caedus137....because if hollywood did that...then fans and non fans alike would grow tired of all these different versions. People want to see continuity in these films.
Iconic rolls such as Batman and Superman shouldnt have several actors in their boots in the same general time frame. If they were to do a reboot and recast then it should be a period Piece a la KINGDOM COME and just invite KEATON back as batman and as far as SUPERMAN goes...well its obvious that REEVES wont be back but they would have to find someone that has aged somewhat and looks the part...whether its ROUTH or CAVILL...all they need is some grey in their hair..since Superman doesnt age like the rest of humanity.

As far as GL goes...its WAAAY to early to be thinking of a reboot....after one movie? no way. GL lacked big time but no way is is undeserving of a sequel. People complain on here all the time about why hollywood is remaking or rebooting everything...well look at the message boards here....it just looks like we are asking for it. GL can stand on its own and GL2 can introduce another GL into the corp...co-staring Reynolds. Keep the franchise going. NO REBOOT!
bathead - 7/12/2011, 11:44 AM
@Three Tacos and Shadow: Thanks for clearing that up. I'm not buying that as a catwoman reference.

Personally I think a unified DC Movie universe would have been great if it had come BEFORE Batman begins. Now I'm to invested in the Batman Nolan has given us. The talk of a Batman reboot for the purposes of the JLA is just silly and will surely bomb with genarl audiences.

I wish JLA could happen. The relationship between Supes and Batman is probably my favorite of any two heors in all of comics, and I would love to see that play out on screen. I'm not holding my breath though.....

naterator - 7/12/2011, 1:40 PM
@BATHEAD thats precisely my point. I hope that WB/DC is able to persuade if not NOLAN / SNYDER then BALE / CAVILL to appear in a JLA effort. It just makes sense to do so...rather than reboot batman and superman...mostly because people are far too invested in one of the MEGA characters (BATMAN) that has been WELL established for almost a good 10 years...i said almost..really its been nearly 7.
Minato - 7/12/2011, 4:34 PM
Why do people have so much trouble with Avengers cameos in the pre-avengers movies mostly IM2? They have been doing this in the comics for years with success. You all must realize that after the first Avengers movie the cameos would be next to noexsistant. The only reason they did so much in IM2 was there was demand from non-comic fans to flesh out what the avengers were. They are trying to make the biggest movie of all time so they needed to advertize in innovativee ways. With the short films they are planning to do post Avengers there is no need for cameos. IM2 was a great movie and if there are flaws in it, its not because of Nick or Natasha. Would yall actually want them to make solo Hawkeye and Black Widow movies pre-avengers? Grow up and stop hating for no reason. There has never been a better time to be a comic fan mostly because of Marvel studios and Chris Nolan.
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