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How DC Entertainment Could Save The “Justice League" Movies

Embracing one simple idea from the comics could allow DC fans to enjoy ultra-grim and traditionally heroic versions of Batman, Superman, and the rest at the same time.

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Zach Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is out now, and though the movie has been a success at the box office, the critical and fan response has been…not so great.

Warner Bros

For a lot of fans, the tone of the movie, like Snyder’s Man of Steel before it, is overly dark and serious.

Even worse, the depiction of Batman and Superman is very far removed from traditional depictions of them as paragons of morality. Superman is willing to kill and seemingly indifferent to thousands dying in collateral damage of his battle with General Zod, and Batman is seen shooting guns and killing criminals, two things ​most other versions of the​ character have sworn against ever doing.
Warner Bros.

Even worse, the depiction of Batman and Superman is very far removed from traditional depictions of them as paragons of morality. Superman is willing to kill and seemingly indifferent to thousands dying in collateral damage of his battle with General Zod, and Batman is seen shooting guns and killing criminals, two things ​most other versions of the​ character have sworn against ever doing.

Snyder’s Batman is basically an unhinged psychopath, and his Superman is an arrogant, aloof sociopath.

The traditional versions of Batman and Superman would undoubtedly look at Snyder’s interpretations of them and see a pair of super villains. But as much as this interpretation of the DC Universe closes a lot of doors in terms of what sort of stories can be told in DC movies, it does open up a possibility to do something totally unprecedented in superhero cinema and totally in line with the long tradition of DC Comics.
Warner Bros

The traditional versions of Batman and Superman would undoubtedly look at Snyder’s interpretations of them and see a pair of super villains. But as much as this interpretation of the DC Universe closes a lot of doors in terms of what sort of stories can be told in DC movies, it does open up a possibility to do something totally unprecedented in superhero cinema and totally in line with the long tradition of DC Comics.

In most DC comics, as well as current DC television shows like Supergirl and The Flash, there are actually multiple parallel universes.

This idea has given writers and artists the opportunity to show different versions of the same characters, and give us evil versions of heroes, heroic versions of villains, and everything in between. Though Marvel Comics also uses this idea, it's far more central to the tradition of DC Comics.
Warner Bros.

This idea has given writers and artists the opportunity to show different versions of the same characters, and give us evil versions of heroes, heroic versions of villains, and everything in between. Though Marvel Comics also uses this idea, it's far more central to the tradition of DC Comics.

There’s a long history of the Justice League having an evil counterpart from a parallel world, where all the heroes became villains instead. This evil Justice League is usually called the Crime Syndicate.

Jim Lee/Ivan Reis DC Comics

Snyder's first Justice League story will be split into two movies. Let's imagine that at the end of the second movie, there's a huge twist, and we meet another League that closely resembles the traditionally heroic versions from comics and animation.

Warner Bros.

As the film comes to an end, we realize that the Snyder movies have been set on another earth all along, and there's a better world out there in the multiverse!

The next movie would give us something totally new, that totally one-ups the idea of “Batman V Superman” – Justice League V Justice League!

Warner Bros
Alex Ross/DC Comics

Since the Snyder version of the Justice League aren’t meant to be seen as full-on baddies, this conflict of Justice Leagues sets up a more nuanced argument about what it is to be a hero, and how much moral compromise a hero can make before becoming a villain.

The very idea of introducing parallel earths sets up the opportunity to do a film adaptation of one of the most iconic DC Comics stories of all time – Crisis on Infinite Earths!

Crisis was a 1986 miniseries that took several decades worth of DC Comics' countless alternate universes and smashed them together, with several versions of their most popular characters starring in an epic story that ended the original DC multiverse, and created a new, revised version of DC lore focused on just one Earth.
George Perez/DC Comics

Crisis was a 1986 miniseries that took several decades worth of DC Comics' countless alternate universes and smashed them together, with several versions of their most popular characters starring in an epic story that ended the original DC multiverse, and created a new, revised version of DC lore focused on just one Earth.

And if there’s a Crisis, it sets up the possibility of using one of DC’s most powerful and terrifying cosmic villains - The Anti-Monitor!

He's basically DC's answer to Marvel Comics' Galactus.
George Perez / DC Comics

He's basically DC's answer to Marvel Comics' Galactus.

Geoff Johns, the CCO of DC Entertainment, is both a key contributor to the DC cinematic universe and the author of many, many DC Comics, including the most recent run of Justice League comics.

His Justice League run has focused on a conflict between Darkseid, the likely villain of Snyder’s Justice League movie, and The Anti-Monitor, with the Crime Syndicate and the Justice League caught in between. It wouldn’t take much for Johns’ comics to become the basis of the film storyline.
Jason Fabok / DC Comics

His Justice League run has focused on a conflict between Darkseid, the likely villain of Snyder’s Justice League movie, and The Anti-Monitor, with the Crime Syndicate and the Justice League caught in between. It wouldn’t take much for Johns’ comics to become the basis of the film storyline.

So, anyway...Justice League V Justice League!

Having two Earths – or more! – would open up the producers to making a wider variety of DC movies. A darker movie could be set on Earth Two, a more light-hearted one can be set on Earth One. They could adapt to the market rather than forcing every character into the relentlessly bleak Scott Snyder/Christopher Nolan vibe. Consider it, DC Entertainment!
Jim Lee / DC Comics

Having two Earths – or more! – would open up the producers to making a wider variety of DC movies. A darker movie could be set on Earth Two, a more light-hearted one can be set on Earth One. They could adapt to the market rather than forcing every character into the relentlessly bleak Scott Snyder/Christopher Nolan vibe.

Consider it, DC Entertainment!

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