As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m not really too thrilled about the idea of there being a movie about the Suicide Squad next year. It’s not because I think the creators of the movie or the pre-existing comic books are necessarily evil, I just think that it is an incredibly poor choice of name, an awful thing to focus on, and a bit of a waste of some serious acting talent.
I get that people like it. It’s been a fan favorite since the eighties. I can sort of see why, I mean, the characters in the series are super cool and who doesn’t love a story with protagonists who just don’t care anymore? However I think to bring it into the spotlight so suddenly in our modern society is simply inappropriate and unnecessary. Half the world is torn apart by teen suicide and the other half is torn apart by suicide bombers. While the [Suicide Squad](movie:2283363) is nothing like either of those problems, I hate hearing that word used lightly.
Of course, their only other option of what to call the movie was Task Force X, and I think that may have ticked off a few people at 20th Century Fox who have way better lawyers than I do. Again, I’m not saying they are making this movie because they are evil or anything. They were just a little bit inconsiderate and really could have chosen better teams to bring to the big screen. DC owns the rights to some much cooler ones anyway, such as...
10. The Challengers of the Unknown
Hear me out on this one. I know they aren’t the most exciting-looking bunch, but everyone knows a good revamp can turn even the cheesiest crew into a team of gritty action heroes. Even if the weren’t changed all that much, they already have an adventurous desire for discovery that a lot of people value even more than the ability to kick a lot of supervillain butt. Such a thirst for knowledge combined with the endless imagination of any good science-fiction writer makes for basically endless potential.
I was going to say that a a certain other Kirby-created quartet could serve the same purpose if they weren’t always so busy fighting Doctor Doom to use that aspect of themselves very often, but having seen yesterday’s teaser trailer, The Fantastic Four might be doing just that in their next movie. They are a tad similar, but I’m sure something could be worked out.
9. Legion of Super-Heroes
This lighthearted space team could become DC’s larger, much more heroic version of Guardians of the Galaxy. In today’s antihero-focused culture, this team could serve as a bizarre “what if?” storyline in which superheroes are already expected to be responsible and heroic. Of course, that is only one of the myriad of possibilities enormous cast of characters could conjure. For example, the early life of Henry Cavil’s version of Superman could definitely use some spicing up, and there are stories of a young Superman joining the Legion. A little time-travel never hurt anything.
8. The Freedom Fighters
Remember when superhero movies were something weird, nerdy kids were interested in? Well, nowadays they are joined in the theatres by all the cool guys and their girlfriends. I am beginning to wonder if the weird kids miss feeling weird. This is one team that could bring the magic back. This team, which could have been thrown out of a discotheque for being too flamboyant, is led by none other than Uncle Sam. In case you fail to understand the comic book brilliance of that, here is a picture of Uncle Sam arm-wrestling a Nazi Superman.
Also, they are often associated with Plastic Man. Who doesn’t want to see him in a movie?
And speaking of weird heroes...
7. Creature Commandos
Well, I can think of one person who wouldn’t want to see this one. Myself. I’m not really a big monster guy, but I know lots of people would kill to see a movie where a Vampire and a Werewolf were on a superhero team with a Frankenstein monster. If they went heavy enough on the cheese, they could make a pile of money. In fact, if it was cheesy enough, even I would go see it.
6. Seven Soldiers
Again, there are a couple of different ways this could work. Preferably, they would use the original roster of Green Arrow, Speedy, Vigilante, Shining Knight, Crimson Avenger, Star-spangled Kid, and Stripesy.
Stephen Amell and Colton Haynes could star as Arrow and Aresnal, while being juxtaposed with other characters that may retain their considerable cheese factor.
To redeem Vigilante and Shining Knight, it would prudent to cast some somewhat well-known celebrities in the roles. It’s not as if they have legions of fans that would object, and besides, if a prominent country singer was in a movie with a young Game of Thrones heartthrob, the female audience would be greatly increased. There is no reason a Knight and a Cowboy shouldn’t be appealing.
To balance out this boundless bounty of male beauty, the producers of the film would probably be forced to use Stargirl and STRIPE instead of Star Spangled Kid and Stripesy, which worked quite well in Justice League Unlimited:
Last but not least, the crimson avenger could either add more feminine appeal and paranormal diversity in the form of the Jill Carlyle version or else a delightful helping of cheese in the form of the Lee Travis incarnation.
Alternatively, you could also go with the Grant Morrison version of the team featuring Shining Knight, The Guardian, Zatanna, Klarion, Mister Miracle, Bulleteer, and Frankenstein, most of whom are pretty awesome to begin with.
Too much? Nah, you were going to just scroll through and see who was on the list anyway, weren't you?
5. The Teen Titans/Young Justice
I know there might be a TV show about this team coming up, and I should not be complaining. But jeez, the Suicide Squad is getting a movie before the Titans? One of the most successful teenage superhero teams of all time? The basis of the best superhero cartoon of all time?
Really now, they cancelled Young Justice. How long do you think they’ll let this next show last? A year? I’d take a movie any day. They’ll actually finish that.
Of course, you never know how well the general public will react to a team made up largely of younger versions of characters that may or may not already have movies of their own. A much safer bet for a movie about superhero teens might be…
4. The Forever People
This group of hippies is one cheesy team that could actually be taken seriously and still work. Hippies were a real thing, and a very entertaining one at that. So long as the actors do not push these characters over the top, this could be the funniest superhero team-up movie since…well, since the last one to be directed by James Gunn and star Chris Pratt.
Of course, there is always potential for failure. The audience could fail to grasp the awesomeness of their home mythos (discussed in my first post on Jack Kirby’s Fourth World). The war between Apokolips and New Genesis can be pretty involved. That isn’t the worst thing that could happen though, as you can clearly see in this image from DC’s new publication about the team “Infinity Man and the Forever People”.
As you can see, they have finally found a way to tarnish gold. The cowboy-like Serifan is now a girl, Beautiful Dreamer is now a ragamuffin, and, worst of all, Big Bear’s once inimitably thrilling hair and beard combination has been traded for sideburns and a bowl cut. The whole thing seems to scream “Hail Darkseid”!
3. The Birds of Prey
Here is a no-brainer. If someone wants to make a movie that makes money, what should they put in it? Girls? Explosions? Thrilling fight scenes?
All of the above. The easiest way to do so, it would seem, would be to make a movie about a female superhero. However, this is a rather daunting task. So many different things could dismay the audience. The women could feel that the movie upholds unrealistic stereotypes of women if the woman has a model-like physique and face, while the men may argue that the leading lady is not as attractive as they would have liked if she does not. The only way to please both genders would be to have more than one woman. This group of women could be given various personalities and body types, confounding the feminists and still pleasing the drooling male audience. (I’m not saying we all drool, my fellow fellas, but it is a fact that good-looking women help ticket sales).
Of course, giving the Birds of Prey more diverse bodies would mean diverting from the comics a certain amount...
...but that’s the price you pay to involve more than one type of human being in a movie.
2. The Doom Patrol
Have these characters ever been more relevant than they are now? Go look a your Facebook newsfeed. You’ll most likely see people complaining about overreliance on technology, unrealistic female body expectations, and the amount of negativity on the internet. (Gee, I should do something about that…) Now read these names: Robotman, Elastigirl, Negative Man. Face it. Any modern writer could turn this team into the most popular superheroes in the world right now.
If you want to get really crazy, Doctor Niles Caulder could be the ultimate hipster and Beastboy could incite heated evolutionism/creationism arguments. There is no end to how relatable it could be.
Imagine a movie that discussed and came to terms with the problems of technology, body image, pessimism, and atheism all while being a bizarre and fascinating superhero tale. It could win an Oscar for best screenplay. Honestly. Just remember where you got the idea.
1. Justice League
I know, it’s a lot of work to make an acceptable movie about this team. I get that the Suicide Squad is a way easier movie to make as there have actually been multiple movies with similar concepts to go off of. Even so, why is a band of supervillains getting a movie before DC’s number one superhero team? I hardly need to elaborate upon the various things that could be done with the Justice League. There are the lighthearted stories of the silver age, the beloved characters of the bronze age, the elevated symbolism of the modern age, and the esthetic perfection of the reboot era. How many more options do they need before they can figure out a way to make the world’s greatest superheroes work on the big screen?
It’s really quite amazing how little of their immense resources DC uses. Since the primary members of the Batman family and Green Lantern Cops have already technically been on the silver screen, they will have to make do with honorable mention here as yet another gold mine of wonderment DC has yet to drill into. While we’re talking about teams that respect Batman as their leader I may as well bring up Batman Incorporated (which could be one of the most unique superhero movies of all time) and The Outsiders (which could be one of the most generic).
Last but not least, I shall make mention of the perhaps the most honorable mention of all. The first superhero team, precursor to the Justice League, banished forever from the screen by the absence of a decent multiverse, taking with them the All-Star Squadron and Infinity Inc.:
The Justice Society.
Have I missed any great cohorts of heroes? Have I placed these teams in a suitable order of awesomeness? Let me know of any blunders in the comments section.