Mark Millar on the disastrous state of a Justice League movie and an FF/X-Men cross-over

I have mixed feelings about his work, but Mark Millar has a gift at crafting comic book properties that translate to the big screen (Wanted and Kick Ass being two examples). Here he gives his opinion on the possible challenges of a Justice League of America movie featuring superheroes with a long legacy tracking back to the early woolier days of comics when a feller could look goofy, fight silly villains in a four-colored fantasy world.

In my opinion, the strength of the DC Universe is in its fantastic nature (though the current Batman monthly titles feature the Joker literally wearing his own face like a mask, held in place by a belt). Like many, Millar’s approach seems to be similar to the one taken for the Avengers, Watchmen and even the Dark Knight Trilogy in which a comic book reality is translated into the real world. Personally I think that is a mis-step and can only hamper the success of a feature film focusing on colorful characters with larger than life personalities and abilities that seem more at home in children’s adventure stories than a gritty action drama.
Sure, you can make a grim crime fighter hard-edged and sophisticated but how can you turn the same trick with an amazon princess, the fastest man alive, the king of the seven seas and a galactic cop with a magic ring? A much better approach would be to embrace the silliness and weirdness of it all rather than try to make sense of it.

Millar specific worries…

(Via Bleedingcool)

Speaking to Sci-Fi Now, Millar outlined some reasons that he thinks a Justice League adaptation wouldn’t cut it at all.

His first, general complaint is that the characters are old:

The characters were created 75 years ago, even the newest major character was created 68 years ago, so they’re in a really weird time…

So far, I don’t follow him, but he does have character-specific worries too. Here he is on Green Lantern:

His power is that he manifests green plasma from his imagination and uses them as weapons against someone? Even that in itself if you just imagine then watching a fight scene with a guy who’s like a hundred feet away making plasma manifestations fight someone – it’s not exactly raucous, getting up close and personal.

Okay, not a terrible observation but far from a deal breaker. And then, slightly less well-argued are his points against The Flash:

The Flash has door handles on the side of his mask and if he doesn’t wear that mask, I’ll be pissed off, you know what I mean? They’re in a weird, weird situation – if you’ve got a guy who moves at the speed of light up against the Weather Wizard and Captain Cold or whatever, then your movie’s over in two seconds.

Door handles.

Millar is also rather worried about Aquaman’s ability to communicate in his native environment:

Aquaman can’t even talk under water. If you think about it in comics it’s fine, you just have a speech balloon, but how do you have Atlantis and people talking under water? Are they gonna talking telepathically? Is it going to be body forms?

There’s not an insurmountable problem in the lot. In fact, all of these obstacles are easily soluble.

Still, Millar hammers his point home by slamming the whole combination:

The actual logistics of each member of the Justice League is disastrous, and you put them all together and I think you get an excellent way of losing $200 million.

Over at Fox, Millar is nurturing a shared comic book movie universe. That one will blend The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Deadpool and, very possibly, a few other stragglers that can be pulled in from the peripheries of the X and 4 universes. He’s got a lot of odd problems and legacy quirks to work with too.


I may be late to the party here, but is there really a plan to develop a shared universe between the X-Men and the Fantastic Four?? I know that Sony and Disney want Spider-Man to cross into the Marvel Avengers Universe, but tapping the potential of the Fox-owned properties is very interesting.

Of course a lot rides on the success of the mysterious Fantastic Four reboot and the Days of Future Past X-Men flick from fan favorite director Brian Singer, but if both of those projects work, we may be seeing a lot more comic book movie madness in the near future (and that’s already anticipating the Avengers sequels, Ant Man and Doctor Strange!).

3 thoughts on “Mark Millar on the disastrous state of a Justice League movie and an FF/X-Men cross-over

  1. On the one hand, he isn’t wrong that direct comic-to-movie translations probably will not work well… some changes have to be made… BUT to act like it is impossible?

    We had a Superman movie… several of them… and at least a few of them worked quite well and didn’t look silly. Batman has been done. Green Lantern has been done, and while it didn’t have a great review… the stuff Millar is picking at wasn’t the problem with the GL movie. The GL movie lacked a bit of plot, and seemed to combine Hal Jordan + Kyle Raynor’s personality somehow… and I don’t think that worked. The CGI was effective, though.

    We know Wonder Woman can be done… It was done in the 1970s on a TV budget! Same for Flash… I thought the CBS show did Flash quite well, it was ahead of its time and the audience wasn’t ready for it back then.

    To me, F/X has progressed to a point where all of these are plausible. The ONLY hedge for me is a good plot. In comics, there are a LOT of bad stories… and the bad stories are painful to read… But when the story is solid? There’s no reason why DC can’t have a nice Justice League movie IF they put their mind to making a quality movie.


    • I think that it’s the approach rather than the material that is flawed with DC properties. Millar is just outing himself as someone who either doesn’t get it or is incredibly cynical about movie audiences.


  2. That Millar is so involved with Marvel caused me to rather dismiss this when I read it in SciFi Now. Most of his assertions can be answered, there’s always a way. As for the notion that the characters are too old, well Sherlock Holmes seems to be doing well. I don’t know, for someone who likes to be seen as iconoclastic (and who, apparently, loves Superman) he appears downright conventional here. Boo. Hiss. For him to come out as a Cinema Oracle and say, more or less, that it would be disastrous is ludicrous. The screenwriter William Goldman said in his book Adventures in the Screen Trade that in Hollywood nobody knows anything. For the most part even the experts don’t know what will be a hit or how big, who would have guessed ten years ago that the Marvel Movie Universe would happen? Millar’s talking tosh. Still, Jupiter’s Legacy, his series with Frank Quitely looks promising. At least art-wise.
    Yeah, Fox appear to want to mimic the Marvel Studios route which is what Millar is consulting on.


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