May 6th, 2016, and Warner Brothers / DC Entertainment has something they want to show you that will be the lead in to the biggest blockbuster comic book hero movie ever made - maybe! I'm going to say maybe because how good Warner's follow up movie to [Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice](movie:711870) is depends on a lot of things, most important of those being which of its stable of heroes will actually be in the movie. Oh, by the way, the movie we are talking about is Justice League, which will probably not be the name they choose when the time comes.
Before we get that movie we will wade through Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice and we will get an introduction by the end of this movie to our team of heroes for the Justice League film. What we have at the moment on that team that has been confirmed is a Superman played by Hanry Cavill, a Batman who happens to be Ben Affleck, the very controversial Gal Gadot as [Wonder Woman](movie:45787) and Ray Fisher in the role of Cyborg. Casting Cyborg then suggests that what is coming will be a team that looks like the Justice League from the New 52 comic book line from DC Comics.
After the four who have already been cast we get three more heroes who just happen to be Aquaman, who Warner Brothers is big on, Green Lantern and The Flash, and for the time being it is my honest belief that the three will be played by Jason Momoa, Ryan Reynolds and Charlie Hunnam, respectively. Is this the team we really want to see in our first exposure to the most historic super hero team of all time though? I am guessing no, and I think an overwhelming number of moviegoers are going to agree. We want the Martian Manhunter, not Cyborg. There could well be hope for what fans are clamoring for along those lines too.
Martian Manhunter, NEEDED For Justice League!
Rumors have emerged that Warner Brothers has an interest in Benedict Cumberbatch for the part of the Martian Manhunter in Justice League and possibly a cameo spot in Dawn Of Justice. Lets remember that it is a only a rumor and that does not mean we put on colorful hats and pop the cork on a bottle of champagne because we are getting what we want. But, we aren't in surrender mode either because as it happens, Mr. Cumberbatch has not denied truth to the rumor and has even teased that he may be just what we are hoping for and based on Warner's habit of saying no when they mean yes and their sworn to secrecy policy I'd say at this point go ahead and bet the farm on this one.
How many people think Cyborg would be better in a Teen Titans Movie? This is, after all, where he has operated in all of the animated shows, in comic books until the new 52, and on Smallville was a less talented and important League member than the Martian Manhunter. Yes, he is similar to the Manhunter in that he can fly and has super strength, but after that he is little more than a walking arsenal that can communicate with computers, not unlike dogs and cats communicating with others of their kind. Powers and abilities, what there are of them, are a nice thing but what is probably as, if not more important is the man inside, what it is that makes him a hero.
Batman vs Superman? Cyborg vs Martian Manhunter!!
Victor Stone tragically became Cyborg, and his life was difficult because he was now part human and part machinery and was looked on like a kind of monster, maybe a Frankenstein. J'onn J'onzz, on the other hand was a refugee from another planet that after an attack from out in space was left nothing more than a lifeless rock in space. J'onn's home world of Mars was no more, and so too was the family he knew that, according to the animated Justice League series included a wife and daughter. Victor was different but what he had to deal with that left him a mechanical monster was not something he had to do alone, he had a loving family and still lived among his own kind while J'onn came to Earth an outcast being with nothing. How one deals with the circumstances of his or her life builds what is inside so the question is based on the cards they were dealt which one was probably the stronger and more likeable and the reader must decide.
Besides the ability to fly and his super strength, the Manhunter can do basically the same things as Superman: he is invulnerable, can move very fast, has Martian vision (undefined what that is), but unlike Superman he doesn't have that frosty breath. But then Superman can't turn invisible or shape change and has no telekinetic or telepathic abilities. So, what this means is the Manhunter could turn invisible or he could invade Superman's mind and he would have the advantage, but wait, Superman could use his super hearing, which J'onn has as well, to locate J'onn's beating heart. What then? Well unlike Superman who has a weakness called Kryptonite, the Martian Manhunter in his Martian form can be taken down with a penny book of matches, as Batman points out in the The animated movie The New Frontier. Still, J'onn could hang in with the the Man of Steel where Cyborg would be very limited in the same situation.
Ok, now lets consider which has seen more action on screen, thus lending popularity to exposure. Begin with the once upon of time first appearance of the Justice League and then ask yourself if there was a Cyborg back where nostalgia became an acquired part of the story. It is my contention that nostalgia and history means more fans in theater seats and most of those seats will not be filled by fans of Cyborg. Beyond comic books and animated shows who has the most exposure in terms of live action which is what we are arguing anyway.
In 1997 Turner Network Television tried to bring the Justice League to life but made the very unusual choice of casting Major Charles Emerson Winchester, or David Ogden Stiers as he is actually known as the Martian Manhunter. It wasn't a bad show but it didn't last. Maybe the world wasn't ready, or maybe it just wasn't that good. Then the League landed in animation with Carl Lumbly as the Manhunter and they had a pretty good run, but it was only animation.
Smallville after years of avoiding an appearances of a lot of Clark's old comic book buddies, brought a Justice League to the small screen that actually worked and we had appearances by Green Arrow, Cyborg, Aquaman, Black Canary, Impulse and yes, the Martian Manhunter, played by Phil Morris who gave real credibility to the part and made it a recurring character. Morris would be a good choice to play the part in a movie now too, or so I thought until the rumors started flying that an actor was selected by Warner Brothers to bring the character to life on the big screen.
Martian Manhunter, The Original!
I see, in the face of Benedict Cumberbatch, the Martian Manhunter and even though it has been stated the Zack Snyder doesn't like the Martian Manhunter and has even called him boring, ask yourself, why is Cumberbatch teasing that the rumor is true and not denying what is being said? But then who cares anyway, right? Why do we need a forth heavy bat on the team when we have Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman already? Is the best I can come up with a comparison to the Avengers who during the 80's had four heavy bats: Iron Man, Thor, Vision and Wonderman? Avengers is making the move to three next movie with the addition of the Vision so are they getting ready to do what Justice League should before someone beats them to the punch.
I am also going to bring up that earlier idea of nostalgia and history now that we are at the end of my thoughts. We can live the New 52 later, but first don't we need to establish the history and why people loved the Justice League decades back, before there was a Cyborg?
What do you think, do we need a Martian Manhunter on this current Justice League project? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below and remember to vote in the poll!