Wonder Woman: “They said the Age of Heroes would never come again.“
Batman: “It has to…” – Justice League (2017)
The DC Extended Universe is failing. Their movies range from forgettable to bad to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Marvel continues surging with blockbuster after blockbuster. Marvel’s 2018 lineup includes Black Panther, Infinity War, Deadpool 2, Ant Man and The Wasp, and Venom. DC will only release Aquaman Christmas weekend.
DC can’t keep playing catch up against Marvel. They need to think outside the box. Look through 80+ years of comics. DC has plenty of characters and stories that can beat Marvel without risking OverBaturation ™ by creating yet another Batman film. Here are our picks.
#5. The Books of Magic
The Phantom Stranger: “Enlighten the child. Show him what magic truly is, and what it was, and what it may become. He has the potential to become the most powerful human adept of this age. It is up to the four of us to ensure that he chooses correctly. That is our mission and our burden.”
John Constantine: “Just what the world’s been waiting for. The charge of the Trenchcoat Brigade.”
The Phantom Stranger: “I heard that, Constantine.” – The Books of Magic vol.1
The Story: A cabal of magical superheroes learns that a child named Tim Hunter is destined to become one of the most powerful wizards ever. They take Tim on a journey across the DC Universe to teach him about the magical world and offer him a choice of becoming a wizard or remaining a Muggle. But there are many who fear Tim’s potential and would see him dead before he can come into his power…
Why It Works: This Neil Gaiman-scribed series focuses on the mystical side of the DC universe. Instead of watching random superheroes fight, audiences would see a coming of age story about a dark haired boy with green eyes and an owl who learns magic. Harry Potter in DC, to be blunt, although Gaiman wrote the first of these years before Rowling’s books and both have addressed the similarities.
Who Should Play The Role: Daniel Radcliffe. C’mon, he’s got experience.
#4. Mayhem of the Music Meister
Human Race: [hypnotized] “The Music Meister sings the song that the world wants to hear!”
“Let’s not fight, let’s get along for our hypnotic profiteer”
“The Music Meister is the man that the world shall obey”
“So do your job, steal all you can”
“While you’re under his sway!“ – Batman the Brave and the Bold “Mayhem of the Music Meister!” (Season 1, Episode 25)
The Story: A singing supervillain called the Music Meister hypnotizes several heroes and villains into doing his bidding. He manages to broadcast his music via satellite. Only Batman and Black Canary are unaffected. With the entire world against them, they must figure out how to stop the Music Meister.
Why It Works: Superhero movies are old hat, but no one has been brazen enough to make a musical superhero movie. The Music Meister’s debut in Batman: The Brave and the Bold earned the show an Emmy nomination against hit shows like Lost and 24. Meister reappeared in The Flash to critical acclaim. If nothing else, it would get fans to buy the soundtrack even if they don’t buy the DVD.
Who Should Play The Role: Hugh Jackman can sing, dance, fight. We’ve seen him do all three at once.
#3. Mr. Mxyzptlk
Clark Kent: “You’re the one who’s been following me.”
Mr. Mxyzptlk: [disappointed] “You peeked!”
Clark: “You’re not human.”
Myx: “I’m from out of town. The fifth dimension to be exact. Name’s Mxyzptlk, Mr. Mxyzptlk [Clark looks confused] It’s spelled the usual way. And since the games are about to begin, I thought we should do the formal intro thing. – Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, “‘Twas the Night Before Mxymas” (Season 4, Episode 11)
The Story: Mr. Mxyzptlk [pronounced Mix-Yes-Spit-Lick] is an imp from the fifth dimension. The technology of Mxy’s realm looks like magic to third dimensional beings. He traveled Earth, inspiring stories about leprechauns, genies and other such creatures until he encountered Superman in Metropolis.
Mr. Mxyzptlk began a campaign of chaos until Superman talked him into a game. Superman would have to trick Mxy into saying his name backwards, Kltpzyxm , and if he succeeded, Mxy would leave Earth alone.
Why It Works: Lex Luthor is the predictable antagonist and General Zod has been done a few times already. Mr. Mxyzptlk is a fun-loving reality warper that Superman can’t just beat into submission. Supes would get to show off his intelligence while using his powers to stop Mxy’s tricks.
Who Should Play The Role: You need a comedic height-challenged actor to portray this cross between Bugs Bunny and the Great Gazoo. Gilbert Gottfried and Howie Mandel have played this type in the past, but Peter Dinklage or Danny DeVito are the smart, modern picks.
#2. The Justice Lords
Lord Batman: “Think about it – a world where there’s no crimes. No victims. No pain.”
Batman: “And no choice! Who elected you, anyway?”
Lord Batman: “Who elected you? The problem with democracy is… it doesn’t keep you very safe.”
Batman: “It has other virtues. But you seem to have forgotten that.”
Lord Batman: “I didn’t forget! I just chose peace and security instead.”
Batman: “You grabbed power!”
Lord Batman: “And with that power, we’ve made a world where no eight-year-old boy will ever lose his parents…because of some punk with a gun!” – Justice League, “A Better World” (Season 2, Episode 11 and 12)
The Story: In an alternate universe, President Lex Luthor murders The Flash. The Justice League retaliated with a coup d’etat against the government. Superman took it a step further and assassinated Luthor. The League renamed themselves The Justice Lords and conquered the world.
Years later, the Justice Lords discover the Justice League and learn they are still fighting crime the old fashioned way. The Lords decide to conquer that universe as well, thinking the League is too soft.
Why It Works: The Justice Lords show how easily superheroes can become fascist Knight Templars. Unlike the similar DC series Injustice: Gods Among Us, The Justice Lords aren’t portrayed as child-killing monsters. They represent the problem of security vs. freedom while giving the Justice League villains to punch. This would be a perfect movie for the DCEU.
Who Should Play The Role: Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, Dean Cain as Superman, and hire the best of all CGI artists to allow Adam West one last go at the Caped Crusader. It worked for Rogue One, and Justice Lords are fascist Knight Templars. They don’t have to look good doing it.
#1. Crisis on Infinite Earths
“Worlds will live! Worlds will die! And the DC Universe will never be the same!” – Tagline
The Story: An ancient being called The Monitor assembles a group of heroes and villains from across the multiverse. He reveals that his all-powerful counterpart, The Anti-Monitor, is destroying reality. The group traverses the multiverse, eventually uniting every hero and villain to fight the Anti-Monitor and his army of Shadow Demons.
Why it Works: Crisis on Infinite Earths united every damn character in the DC Universe to save reality. The Arrowverse has hinted that it is building towards The Crisis, so DC could do a crossover between the DCEU and the Arrowverse. Or take the “everything” angle to its extreme and bring in previous actors. Think the casts of the DCEU, the Arrowverse, the Nolan Batman trilogy, hell every Batman movie, the DC Animated Universe, and others teaming up in one expensive, but awesome movie! O.K. that might be a little too over the top. But Crisis on Infinite Earths is still DC’s best bet against Marvel at the box office.
Who Should Play The Role: Seriously. Any one of the old crew who wants to sign up for a cameo should be in the final cut. How many times do you have to see Marvel fans cheering the Stan Lee cameos?
Which of these flicks would you watch? Leave a comment.
Jared Bounacos has written for Movie Rewind since 2017.