Superheromovies had an exclusive a few days back about a review of the newly leaked script for George Miller's Justice League Mortals. The film was of course cancelled due to Christopher Nolan's refusal to mix his trilogy in with the cannon of the film, and several other issues, but the author of the article said it was great. So I gave it a read and walked away with a completely different analysis. In fact, the script is so bad I really want to believe this is just some amateur hoping to score a screenwriting job.
That was a little harsh, but 128 pages of WTF can do that to a man. Let's start with the things I did like. This film had a really extensive cast.
- Flash (Barry Allen And Wally West)
- Iris Allen
- Wonder Woman
- Talia Al Ghul
- Martion Manhunter
- Green Lantern (Jon Stewart mostly but a cameo by Hal Jordan)
- Maxwell Lord
The film opens at a funeral, and you think Batman is dead. The heroes are wearing all black versions of their costumes, and Wonder Woman is giving a eulogy about the fight between good and evil. The whole conflict is that Maxwell Lord and Talia gain control of Batman's "Brother Eye" and commence taking down the Justice League one by one through the use of mind control and OMACs. Barry Allen is surprisingly the lead character, only rivaled in screen time by Batman. Superman doesn't get as much of a spotlight as you would expect and plays second banana along with the rest of the league. Hell, I might even say Alfred might have as many lines as him.
A few pages in, I was confused, but generally open to it! Seemed like a unique take and I read on until the final last page.
I hated the script. The whole thing was very comic bookish, but not in a good way. We aren't talking contemporary comic writing here or graphic novel type work. We're talking dollar comics mid '80s throwaway serial comic book writing here. Barry Allen as the lead is a mistake. While his character is written true to his identity, you can't have a serious film with him spouting out some joke or sarcastic remark every every other line.
In addition to an overload of Flash, There are also a lot of times characters go into these geek rants that completely pull you out of the story and what is happening.
Example from script: This is a very serious scene in which Superman goes to Aquaman for help.
Aquaman: "YOU CAME HERE TO ACCUSE ME?!
Superman "Aquaman, no...I."
Aquaman: "DON'T CALL ME THAT! THE AIR BREATHERS NAME! IT'S DEMEANING,. JUVENILLE. I MEAN "SUPERMAN", "WONDER WOMAN" WHO COMES UP WITH THESE NAMES?"
Part of me blames the writing, which even in the narrative of scenes is packed with cheese and camp.
"Shot of ocean with the moon reflecting off the surface. Superman burst from the waves into the night sky followed by Aquaman riding on the backs of two bottle nosed dolphins."
What the f***?! Can you imagine this scene in theaters? Everyone is watching the water and Superman spurts out followed by Aquaman in some slow motion shampoo commercial meets Flipper sequence as the moonlight dances off their wet bodies. I'd like to say this is the end of the camp, but unfortunately...
- Batman, after having his cape riddled by bullets...says "Damn. This is a new cape!"
- Barry Allen is basically a starstruck fanboy every time a new character enters the story.
- Near the end, we find out the creation of OMACs comes from people ingesting the food served by Maxwell Lord's superhero themed restaurants.
- Martian Manhunter reads Aquaman's mind to find his greatest fear...is water.
- Flash gets taken over by some virus and runs through the center of the Earth. Explodes out the ground of the South Pole scaring a bunch of Emperor penguins and flies back down the hole. He makes this occasion with, "This is gonna leave a mark."
It truly is one of the worst film adaptations I've ever read. In my mind it sounds like more of a two part episode from the 2001 TV cartoon then anything, that is until the end. This is the part that would enrage all fans of DC Comics: Batman snaps Maxwell Lord's neck and kills him. It gets better. After he's dead, Batman straddles his dead body in a Wolverine-esque fashion and says...
"What one man can do Max."
I can only assume after that he lit a cigar and told the league to stay outta his way...bub.
This isn't a Metropolis sized mass casualty situation here, either. Batman kills Maxwell Lord primarily to protect himself and the rest of the league from the mind controlled Superman. It gets better though, If Batman wasn't going to do it, Wonder Woman already had her lasso hung around his neck like a noose, and several other members of the league are eager for the kill like it's some superpowered lynch mob.
They then go on to stop the evil super robot that at this point who the hell cares? It just seems like random conflict because Maxwell Lord and Talia's plan doesn't seem well developed at all, but rather blind luck.
By the end, Barry Allen sacrifices himself to save everyone, and we return to the beginning of the film. Wally West is now in The Flash suit and you didn't see that coming, but after reading it, I just had a big "who cares?" upon finishing. This film suffered immensely by not knowing what exactly it wanted to be. It had over the top violence throughout the script (Martian Manhunter bursting into flames was insanely graphic) but then would turn around and make some cornball joke just because. The tone actually reminded me a lot of the CGI Clone Wars movie now that I look back at it. It was as though they were trying to please two sets of audiences and in the end ruined the experience for both.
Read the script below if you must. I can't and won't again.