Only the JLA can save us now
After the legacy shattering display that was Man of Steel, DC’s cinematic universe imploded. In one fell swoop, they alienated life-long fans, children, and anyone that isn’t interested in superhero movies – whereas Marvel keeps everyone happy with all their joking around and romantic subplots.
Synder’s vision of DC, on the other hand, is just too dark, too cruel and ultimately too cold. But there is a way to rescue this sacrilegious blunder, without backtracking. A way to tie the films to the comic lore, offer a vision of heroes children can idolize and inject some much needed levity.
There are bound to be some of you that refuse to believe the DCEU needs saving. We can only solve the problem once we admit there is one, and boy is it a doozy. While Batman vs. Superman may have done well financially, and the movie itself might be pretty good technically speaking, everything Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman stand for has been stripped away.
Look at that image. Just look at it. For any Batman fan, it should make you cringe. Even if it’s a dream. Even if it turns out he’s carrying a water pistol. The Batman carrying a gun is like Ghandi in a punk band. It’s like Mother Theresa committing the Jack the Ripper crimes. It’s like…well, you get the point. (And maybe some interesting inspiration for some very out-there comics.)
The point is, Batman isn’t meant to kill. Nor is Superman. And generally speaking, Wonder Woman shouldn’t either – although she is an Amazon warrior, so exceptions can be made. Everything these heroes represented has been reduced to grit and violence, blood and death. The spectacle has outweighed the sentiment, and everything Christopher Reeves did for the character has been undone.
But there is one last chance for the DCEU. One single way in which all the gloom and doom can be turned to its advantage and lead to something ground-breaking. I’m talking, of course, about the JLA. But probably not the JLA you think. I mean the Justice Lords of America.
Snyder wouldn’t have to undo any of the damage he’s done; he just has to set up the JLA of the DCEU, as we are meeting them now, to be an alternate reality’s JLA. We could all learn to accept the gun-toting Batman if we felt like he’s simply the product of a grim universe where the heroes are hardly any better than the villains they fight.
Then, when the time comes, and we’re all fully buying into these darker doppelgangers, the DCEU can follow in the footsteps of CW’s Flash, and open up the multiverse. There have already been comparisons to the Injustice storyline, especially with Synder intending to kill off Lois Lane.
How novel would it be to watch the heroes – the proper moral heroes – face off against the ‘Justice Lords’ as followed in Synder’s movies, and not know who to root for? After all, what makes one universe more important than another?
On the one hand, we will know the alternate Leaguers from the comics and respect their code of conduct, knowing they deserve to win. But, on the other hand, if Snyder does his job over the next five or so years, we’ll have become invested in the characters of the DCEU, regardless of their immorality and volatile methods. The emotional conflict for viewers could be immense.
Of course, drawing emotional investment in characters hasn’t been Synder’s strength so far, and there are mistakes that will hamper even this cure-all solution. But a killer Batman from another universe is much easier for me to stomach than the only Batman being a killer.
Even if Mr. Snyder doesn’t get on board with this clearly flawless and superior plan, I’m still going to convince myself that this is what I’m seeing. Otherwise, Batman using a gun might just drive me bats.