Tuesday, April 4, 2017

'Justice League' flashback from Cary's Comics Craze: Film debate was a 2007 highlight

Can you believe that ten years ago Warner Bros. was in the middle of launching a "Justice League" film -- one that went as far as casting, hiring the actors and costume fittings? But the idea was scrapped. 

Even a decade ago, I knew it was a great idea to not make that movie. Except for the gorgeous Aussie Megan Gale cast as Wonder Woman, the choices for casting the rest of George Miller's "Justice League" was nothing short of cringe-inducing. Or at least they were head-scratchers. (More on that in a bit — plus my rave review of the pre-release viral marketing for "The Dark Knight"!)

And just in time (or actually about a week or so after director Zack Snyder's first trailer for "Justice League" trailer was released and was broken down second-by-second here on Cary's Comics Craze), check out this flashback to my 2007 year-end review. The NORWALK REFLECTOR newspaper published it at the end of December 2007, an annual tradition when I wrote CCC as a twice-montly column. For nearly ten years, I recapped superhero projects from throughout the year with my last CCC of the year -- and even addressed a few goodies I missed or the paper didn't have space for ...

Megan Gale in 2015
December 2007 via norwalkreflector.com -- 2007 was full of comic book industry news that got fans talking.

Warner Bros. announced Feb. 22 (of 2007) that an unknown husband-wife team would write the onscreen adaptation of the “Justice League of America” series. After heated Internet debates covering casting and two leaked scripts, the latest controversy is about director George Miller possibly calling his film “American Heroes.” Not only is this a horribly cheesy title, I think it would alienate overseas audiences and effectively take away the inherent drawing power of the “Justice League” name.

Earlier this month, Australian supermodel and part-time actress Megan Gale, 32, was cast as Wonder Woman.

So far, rounding out the cast is: Adam Brody of “The OC” as The Flash, rapper Common as the John Stewart version of Green Lantern and Armie Hammer as Batman.

My biggest concern is using Talia al Ghul as a foe. It’s confusing to include the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul — the featured villain in “Batman Begins” — since producers have said the “Justice League” continuity is unrelated to “Begins” or “Superman Returns.”

Teresa Palmer
Blond-haired, fair-skinned actress Teresa Palmer — rumored to have snagged the part — has none of the obvious, exotic sensuality necessary for the dark-skinned Talia. I can only hope "Casino Royale" Bond girl Eva Green, who apparently auditioned within the last week for an unknown "Justice League" part, might get cast as Talia instead of Palmer.

The comics femme fatale has led the League of Assassins since her father died. Talia is also the mother of Batman’s love child.

Speaking of Damian, the ill-tempered child and his mother rocked Bruce Wayne’s world in the “Batman & Son” storyline. It’s one of the few series-within-a-series that would have been better paced with an additional issue.

“Superman: The Movie” and "Superman II" director Richard Donner co-wrote several intriguing ACTION COMICS issues.

Clark Kent and his wife, Lois Lane, adopt a boy, only to learn he is the son of Kryptonian criminals General Zod and Ursa — two of the “Superman II” movie villains. Lex Luthor also sends Bizarro Superman after his archenemy. The dialogue, drama and action would have been perfect for “Superman III,” if Donner had directed the 1983 movie.

Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, dies
in the arms of Sharon Carter in CAPTAIN AMERICA
No. 25.
In March (2007), Marvel Comics killed off Captain America in the climax of its lengthy limited/crossover series CIVIL WAR. (Go here for the CCC take on how closely the third "Captain America" film might connect with the series. Keep in mind it was written before the movie was released.)

THE NEW YORK POST covered the news of Steve Rogers’ assassination.

Two spring films I predicted to snag moderate box office success at best — “Ghost Rider” and “300” — were fairly big hits.

“Ghost Rider” made $228.7 million worldwide in 11 weeks of release. The ultra-violent period piece “300” topped out with a little more than $456 million.

In May (2007), the same fans who clamored for Venom to be a villain in “Spider-Man 3” griped the sequel was too convoluted and had too many characters. I still firmly believe it was fun to watch, nicely completed the trilogy and properly addressed many previous themes.

Speaking of Spidey, October (2007)’s hyped “One More Day” storyline in three monthly titles was a gross disappointment.

Fans had been guessing Peter Parker might get a divorce or Mary Jane Watson would be killed. Instead, cheesy villain Mephisto offers to save Aunt May, hospitalized after being shot by a sniper, in exchange for wiping out the Parkers’ memory of their marriage. Odd — even for comics. 

On Dec. 14 (of 2007), fans got their first look at “The Dark Knight” trailer. IMAX audiences going to see "I Am Legend" saw the first six minutes of TDK. By the end of 2007, there were numerous websites to creatively promote the July 18 Batman film.

The most intriguing site, “The Gotham Times,” covers events since “Batman Begins.”

For example, a civil servant sued Batman for recklessly destroying her stolen convertible after the hero nabbed the car thief. An editorialist criticizes billionaire Bruce Wayne’s partying and womanizing and calls him “Gotham’s richest scamp.” The Joker’s vandalized version of the newspaper — “The Ha Ha Ha Times” — has modified headlines such as “Batman saves money on car insurance.”

The funniest title is “Dent prepares bubble bath for city’s dirty cops” about the prosecutor starting a tip line to report police corruption. A related site, wearetheanswer.org, announced the indictment of two Gotham police officers after being “overwhelmed by the reaction of Gotham citizens since we asked for your help.” Nothing short of brilliant.

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