The latest rumor making its way around the Internetz is not a good one: Warner Bros. might be reconsidering its hire of Will Beall to pen the mysterious Justice League movie.
Your first reaction might be a simple “WHO?” That’s a completely fair question, and in the interests of directly competing with Marvel’s small army of franchises, one that should be explored by someone, since Warners executives clearly didn’t do a lot of thinking.
Will Beall has two writing credits in the industry. A former homicide detective, Beall got his start as a writer and supervising story editor on ABC’s Castle. Never seen the show, but it’s been on the air five seasons so it must be doing something right.
Beall’s other credit is adapting Paul Lieberman’s Gangster Squad for the big screen. We know how that turned out, and among its many flaws was a poor attempt at manufacturing shallow, bloody pulp on the cheap. Character motivations went out the door, and if you took away Ryan Gosling’s Lucky Strikes and Josh Brolin’s fedora, there was little more than a bunch of mid-level talent who liked the idea of pretending to be gangsters.
Then again maybe Gangster Squad’s source material was never good to begin with. Like Castle, I haven’t checked out Lieberman’s original story; I’m far too busy blogging about movies that won’t get made. The film came in third on its opening weekend and has plummeted since; less than a month later, and it’s not even in the Top Ten at the box office.
Beall’s done plenty of work in TV, he has a disappointing movie debut, and virtually no experience with huge franchises. Gangster Squad’s script was just one problem, but one wonders exactly what convinced Warner Bros. in June 2012 that Beall could pull of a Justice League movie. Hiring him for a two hour+ movie about how Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern (and really, whomever else Warners decides to awkwardly cram in there) seems like a bad idea. Does Beall have any familiarity with DC Comics? We know he has no comics-writing experience, and that might be to his advantage; his “green” status is definitely not. Joss Whedon’s extensive rewrites of Zak Penn’s Avengers script aside, does Warners think they can pull off the same solo feat with a vastly less seasoned writer? Fat chance.
And as easy as it is to rip Beall, this is piss poor planning on Warners’ part. Let’s look at their current plan:
- Man of Steel (2013)
- Justice League (2015)
That’s… it. After Snyder’s Superman reboot, the Justice League plan seems to coast off of Man of Steel’s presumed success, Batman’s brand recognition and the sheer idea of an Avengers-style summer blockbuster for DC Comics. Those of you paying attention at home might notice several problems.
Presumably, Henry Cavill would be be helming this particular team-up, but apart from Ryan Reynolds (?), it’s all brand new names — in the case of Batman, a new name and face. What kind of a DC Universe is Warner Bros. even working with? Is this the same watered-down fantasy of Nolan’s films? Is this a darker universe? Any chance you tone down Flash’s ridiculous costume? And how do you expect to introduce, at minimum, Flash and Wonder Woman in a single movie? The Avengers formula worked, but only because Marvel Studios took the time to show people why Iron Man and Captain America and Thor could be cool on their own merits first. So far, Warner Bros. has shown why 1.5 of its heroes can be cool, and Batman probably didn’t need the boost. Martian Manhunter? Yeah. He could use some help.
To put this another way, Warner Bros. wants to make an Avengers movie in two years time with Iron Man, Hulk, and like, four Thors. Good luck with that.