In the wake of the monster success of The Avengers, Warner Brothers announced they will be bringing DC Comics’ own superhero super group, the Justice League, to the big screen. (Hilariously, they will attempt to do this in the same year that The Avengers 2 comes out.) The Justice League includes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, the Green Lantern and Aquaman, three of which have already been or are soon to be introduced in solo movies. Ryan Reynolds had a rather disastrous debut as the Green Lantern last summer and Henry Cavill will make his bow as Superman in March 2013 in Man of Steel, and though Christian Bale is out as Batman, it appears that the Justice League’s Batman will come from Nolan’s world, in the form of Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Hitfix is exclusively reporting that JGL will be the next Batman, and that we may see him before the Justice League hits theaters in 2015, potentially even as soon as Man of Steel. JGL’s reps have denied the report, but that’s not exactly unexpected. This isn’t the kind of deal where you leak your involvement to stoke interest—this kind of thing is more about surprise and realizing the biggest impact possible. But it does make sense. The ending of The Dark Knight Rises clearly set up JGL’s character as the next Batman (and no, that isn’t a spoiler, the movie has been out for four months), and they need that character for the Justice League. There’s also no way Warner Brothers will stop making Batman movies—taken individually, Batman is the most lucrative superhero property of them all.
Signing up with Christopher Nolan is a sweet gig, but the flipside of that coin for JGL is getting roped into the budget superhero team. It’s not that the Justice League can’t work like the Avengers did, it’s that it won’t work like the Avengers. They don’t have the same framework or setup, and more importantly, they don’t have that cast. A huge part of The Avengers’ success was that watching that cast was fun. That’s the lightning in the bottle that can’t be recaptured. Say Man of Steel is a hit and they manage to establish the other characters well enough that people will care about them—they still won’t be able to recreate what happened with The Avengers simply because that chemistry can’t be manufactured.
It will be interesting to see how this shakes out for JGL. I liked him in Rises, and I liked the potential of the ending, but I don’t like the Justice League’s prospects. It feels like JGL just got made captain of the B team.
Attached - JGL at the Lincoln AFI screening earlier this month.