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DC Cinematic Universe - Wonder Woman, Justice League and More


Given that Elba was woefully underutilized in the Thor and Avengers movies, I would welcome seeing him get a meatier role in the DC films. If Will Smith has chosen not to reprise his role, Elba is a great choice as a replacement.


Smith is great, I’m waiting to see how ‘Gemini Man’ turns out, but I have no doubt that he’ll do fine work in it.

But Elba is bloody good. If he does do ‘Suicide Squad 2’ he’ll deliver. No doubt about that either.


Both Elba and Smith are great in different ways. If they do bring in Elba I’d prefer he play a different character, because there are plenty to choose from. But either way his involvement would be nothing but good for the movie.


Perfect opportunity to cast Jon Hamm as Catman.


True. Today, it would be a risk for a movie to use the classic superhero approach. Honestly, I can only think of two times it was used and worked. The first was the original Superman series with Chris Reeve and the second was Wonder Woman.

However, even Wonder Woman was extremely naive and misguided in her movie. She was still a primarily flawed heroine who had to learn harsh truths as part of her arc. Even though the whole point he was chosen was that he was good, if he’s immediately a great hero, the story has nowhere to go. Instead, he’s as unqualified to be a hero as a 15-year-old is to be a police officer or firefighter. He’s going to have to build experience.

With Shazam, there are a couple of things. Obviously, it takes a lot from the Geoff Johns/ Gary Frank comics and from BIG. It’s not going with the truly innocent original take because that doesn’t give the character anywhere to go in the story AND it gives up a whole lot of the fun of what a kid would do if they suddenly grew up and got superpowers.

Now, there are a couple of things that work against it in a trailer that mostly works. First, it doesn’t feel a whole lot like what a kid would really do. Instead, it feels like what grown up but immature writers think a kid would do if they suddenly grew up and got superpowers. It’s dumb humor along the lines of Freaky Friday.

Also, some scenes that work in the trailer will probably not make the final cut. Like when he throws a toy Batman at a super villain. That’s funny in a brief shot, but I can’t see how that would work in an actual fight sequence.


And then Catman and Elba Deadshot can make out…

Oh, wrong forum…

I still want this.


The problem with every movie being a heroes journey movie is a) enough already, everything can’t be Star Wars, and b) heroes journey really works best with a supporting character raised by an established main character. I think fictionally starting off with a completed person is actually more satisfying and longer lasting. Indiana Jones, Sherlock Holmes, Captain Kirk, Superman,Batman - they are who they are over the course of the story. They transform others but they themselves are Scooby Doo - the same each story, change simply an illusion.

It’s clear Hollywood has lost the ability to create these kind of characters. What was the last big movie to feature a non transforming lead? (I think it was Jack Sparrow).


Ah, you see that’s a sneaky one. The main heroe’s story is Orlando Bloom’s heroes journey. It’s just Luke and Han Solo again only on the seven seas.

Fully formed, zero arc characters have really fallen out of fashion and it’s a shame. Part of me thinks it’s because there are so many books and story plans now that focus on your main character evolving and a huge number of people have learnt that way and wouldn’t know how to begin to write a zero arc character. Which kind of amazes me as we grew up with zero arc TV and absolutely loved it - The A-Team, Knightrider, MacGyver… They land in some town or situation and are the same throughout, only the people around them have arcs.


Yeah, you definitely see this in the shift from episodic to serialized television. And while things like the MCU function in some ways episodically, they’ve also had arcs that they build toward, whether it’s Thanos on the large scale, or Cap/Bucky on a smaller one.

As for a non-transforming lead, I’d throw John Wick out there. Sure, he’s retired for about the first 20 minutes of the first film, but he’s basically the same character from the point he’s pulled back in, on.


According to the writers the protagonist is actually Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Swan;

In Pirates , Elizabeth is the protagonist, representing the idea of the romance of the pirate. The romantic illusion of the outlaw is a very common concept in our society; in fact, the underpinning of all romances is the anti-hero, the Byronic bad boy. That’s what Elizabeth is looking for.

But they’re only the writers. :wink:


Sort of. However those were way in the past. Even Indy quickly became about his overcoming obsession (in the first one) and then about not being a selfish prick in the prequel (Temple of Doom).

Sherlock Holmes today has to grow as a person in the television shows and so did Kirk in the Kelvin timeline movies.

It is plaguing films and stories though. I imagine the first question some exec asks is “we like the hero, but how does she change as a person?” “She flippin’ doesn’t, man” is not going to be the right answer, and we’re so conditioned to it as an audience, it’s the right thing to do.

Unless, you’re smart and do something like Deadpool where you make fun of the fact that his “growth” really isn’t growth or do what the television shows do where the arc of the story is in the supporting characters the heroes save. The whole appeal of superheroes originally was that they did not change but they changed the lives of the people they helped.


Personally I think the characters that don’t have an arc are the ones that last. I think they’ve ruined James Bond by trying this heroes journey bullshit.

Ideally you write a two person story, one who changes and one who doesn’t.


I feel like the first movie definitely has a coming to terms with death arc. He ends the movie more at peace.

It’s very hard to find zero arc characters in the last 20 years, as Jim mentioned, they’ve even nailed hero’s journey arcs over characters who don’t need it, like Bond.

Tom Cruise is probably the only actor playing zero arc rolls and that’s because he’s Tom Cruise. You can get away with it even it’s you don’t sell it all that well because it’s a Tom Cruise vehicle. Ethan Hunt and Jack Reacher are more or less full zero arc and it’s the stunts and action that make you come back.

John Wick has to be the same outside of that initial emotional arc of the first movie of coming to terms with the death of his wife and then dog (which, to be fair, he doesn’t necessarily do). He is fully formed, you can’t really add any more crucial change.


Those sorts of stories have been broadly applied. The hero with a thousand faces doesn’t really cover it all. For me, it’s a simple principle that gets excessively applied, and honestly about the only thing that really changes in most heroes are their minds. The essential natures of Tony Stark, Aquaman, Spider-Man and Star Lord do not actually change.

In writing and story meetings, they talk about it as the external obstacle and the internal obstacle. The protagonist is facing a challenge in his circumstances and will have to overcome a failing in his personality to succeed in his life. However, honestly in most the these stories, the internal struggle is not very compelling or much of an accomplishment. 90% of the time it’s “be less selfish” and the other 10% is “be more confident.” In superhero or action movies, and honestly that’s no accomplishment. So, you end up with movies where the heroes are inexplicably more childish, damaged and petty than they need to be until audiences expect them to be pricks.

Shazam just takes that as a given.


It’s even sneaker than I’d imagined!!


I think we have more characters with heroes journeys now because people got lambasted for zero arc characters when everyone started to learn a little Campbell and story theory. Audiences are fickle. :wink:


Critics really. Audiences don’t care. There are tons of flops with heroe’s journey arcs (Mortal Engines, Jupiter Ascending, John Carter) and the characters’ arcs or lack wasn’t the reason.

It’s usually a critic that sees a character that doesn’t essentially change as a problem with the story, but like Jim says, the classic characters do not essentially change.


Everyone’s a critic now though. :wink: