Goyer's Martian Manhunter Comments Are Why DC Can't Have Nice Things

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Goyer's Martian Manhunter Comments Are Why DC Can't Have Nice Things

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Here's one more example of how wrong things can go with DC's movie universe.

We've all had a bit of fun at the expense of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice this morning, but joking aside it's worth asking how such a formless, generic title ended up being selected. Probably for the same reason that by and large, the DC-based movies really aren't as good as the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Warner Bros. and DC seem to hire people who kind of hate comic books to make their comic book movies.

Case in point, David Goyer, screenwriter of The Dark Knight trilogy and both Man of Steel and the upcoming Batman v. Marbury v. Madison, which makes him essentially the boss of bosses for the DC Cinematic Universe. Last night he appeared on the Scriptnotes podcast, along with Andrea Berloff, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and the conversation inevitably turned to Superhero movies. Goyer's astoundingly sexist comments about She-Hulk are generating the most discussion, but it's what he said when the conversation turned to DC Comics mainstay Martian Manhunter that tell us everything we need to know about precisely what is wrong with DC's attempt to clone Marvel's box office success.

Martian Manhunter, AKA J'onn J'onzz, is of course the last survivor of an ancient Martian civilization, notable for being one of the cofounders of the Justice League of America. He has not been announced to appear in the upcoming Justice League film however, and based on what Goyer said when asked about the character, it's looking like he likely won't. After first dismissing Martian Manhunter as too obscure to matter, Goyer explained how he can't see making use of the character without removing nearly everything associated with the character. I'll just let his words speak for themselves:

"He can't be fucking called the Martian Manhunter because that's goofy. He can be called Manhunter... The whole deal with Martian Manhunter is he's an alien living amongst us... So he comes down to Earth and decides, unlike Superman who already exists in the world now, that he's just going to be a homicide detective... So instead of using super-powers and mind-reading and like, oh, I could figure out if the President's lying or whatever, he just decides to disguise himself as a human homicide detective. Dare to dream!"

"I would set it up like The Day After Tomorrow. We discover one of those Earth-like planets... So maybe like... we get the DNA code from that planet and then grow him in a petri dish here... He's like in Area 51 or something and we're just basically... doing biopsies on him."

I probably don't need to tell you that Goyer is rather painfully uninformed about Martian Manhunter. Yes J'onn J'onzz assumes human form and supports himself by working as a homicide detective, but he also spends his off duty hours dressed as... Martian Manhunter, Superhero at large. Which is why he's well-known enough to be one of the JLA's charter members.

It's been said before, but Goyer almost appears to be ashamed that he's even associated with comic book films. So it is that the best he can come up with, when asked about one of DC's most interesting properties, is to delete any trace of the his origin story, misunderstand core aspects of his character, and saddle him with a genericized sobriquet so hackish it almost belongs in a Matrix sequel and plot points that reflect the worst cliches of the last 20 years.

I can't argue that Martian Manhunter isn't as well known as Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman. But using obscurity as an excuse to ignore him shows a painful lack of imagination. Marvel has made billions producing movies about ancient Norse gods and talking raccoons. Meanwhile, DC's attempt to copy Marvel is being run by someone who thinks the lone survivor of an ancient Martian civilization is too nerdy for audiences to accept. Make of that what you will.

Source: The Mary Sue, via Badass Digest.

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*blinks slowly*

......And this guy is on the project........Why?

He clearly has little to no working knowledge of the subject matter, let alone any love for it. Why the hell is he on the project? *scratches head*

Because DC makes terrible decisions.
Almost nothing but terrible decisions.

To be fair, to your average movie-goer, MM's origin sounds Superman-like.

"He's the last of his race, come to Earth, and when not flying around using his superpowers he has a secret identity as an average human."

When you've already set up your movies to be as uninteresting and hyper-realistic (not to be confused with actual realism) as possible, having another super-alien means you have less time to flesh out the cast of sidekicks who are only there to show how serious everything is.

Poor Manhunter will likely be relegated to a cameo. Maybe when SM and BM form the JLA, Manhunter will be sitting at the table, but that's about it.

Okay.... fuck say what you will about the X-Men movies, at least they have the balls to actually call their characters their actual superhero names. The Marvel movies get around this by doing away with secret identities, so it's just as easy to call Captain America Steve Rogers.

Why does Warner Brothers think this guy is the right one to make superhero films?

Marvel took the fact all their well known heroes were licensed out to other studios and made it into a strength: characters like Iron Man and Thor were really pretty much obscure to the main public, so they didn't need to worry about too much of a backlash when they overhauled them for the films.
And even the comic fans seem to like them.

DC on the other hand owns all its properties. And yet it still can't figure out what to do with them...

aegix drakan:
*blinks slowly*

......And this guy is on the project........Why?

He clearly has little to no working knowledge of the subject matter, let alone any love for it. Why the hell is he on the project? *scratches head*

He wrote the story for all 3 Dark Knight films. Which is apparently more than enough cred for DC to just say "Here, take all our characters and make them print money like Batman did, 'cause we don't know how."

That, of course, seems to completely ignore the fact that the Dark Knight trilogy was aiming for a more grounded, realistic feeling, which Goyer seems to have just revealed to be the only style he's capable of crafting stories with.
It's definitely not a style that DC should adopt wholesale if they hope to create a cinematic universe to rival Marvel's, and certainly wouldn't work for a character like Martian Manhunter.

I don't think they'd have to adapt the detective thing in a film. One of the things Marvel has going for them is that they have struck the right balance between being respectful to the source material, but not slavishly devoted to it. They know what works about Iron Man (they went out of their way to skip the 'bodyguard' thing), what works about Thor (no Donald Blake in the films). A lot of people I know who know about Martian Manhunter just know him as J'onn J'onzz, because of the Justice League cartoon.

As I said in the She-Hulk article, it's not the fact that he doesn't know all about the character that bothers me. It's that he acts like he does know and casually dismisses it.

I'm not sure I'd entirely go in the same direction if I was adapting the character, but I don't think he's wrong in suggesting that Martian Manhunter isn't an especially cool hero. DC's got a great stable of characters, but it's also got some real clunkers, and I'd say MM is one of their highest profile ones. There's just very little appealing about a green dude with a weird forehead who dresses like He-Man gone wrong, whose origin story is largely similar to Superman's (last survivor of dead world), and whose powers are the same as Superman's except also he can read minds and he can shapeshift to look less awful.

There's also the issue of the Curse of Mars - the fact that the mere mention of Mars is absolute movie poison, because audiences associate Mars with awful cheesy pre-Star Wars pulp sci-fi, and by and large they're right to do so.

Clearly, there are comic readers out there who love the character, because he's managed to persist for an awfully long time, but I really can't think of a worse A/B-lister in either Marvel or DC's roster, as far as I'm concerned, and there are plenty of better characters you could fill a Justice League with.

David S. Goyer isn't a talented writer. I maintain that the Nolan brothers (especially Jonathan) were the driving forces behind any and all quality in the Dark Knight trilogy.

P.S. Thanks

Hey anyone here remember the DC animated universe by Bruce Timm?

They did a Justice League cartoon and the Martian Manhunter was in it. But through all 91 episodes of it, I don't ever remember him ever being called by name the Martian Manhunter by anyone just John.

Am I wrong or not?

So yeah if what is considered one of the best adaptions of the Justice League doesn't use the name Martian Manhunter why the hell would a big budget film.

Soviet Heavy:
Okay.... fuck say what you will about the X-Men movies, at least they have the balls to actually call their characters their actual superhero names. The Marvel movies get around this by doing away with secret identities, so it's just as easy to call Captain America Steve Rogers.

Why does Warner Brothers think this guy is the right one to make superhero films?

For eleven years the X-Men movies were too embarrassed to allow their characters to dress in anything but black leather, I'm not sure they're the go-to-franchise for faithful adaptations...

Kolyarut:

Soviet Heavy:
Okay.... fuck say what you will about the X-Men movies, at least they have the balls to actually call their characters their actual superhero names. The Marvel movies get around this by doing away with secret identities, so it's just as easy to call Captain America Steve Rogers.

Why does Warner Brothers think this guy is the right one to make superhero films?

For eleven years the X-Men movies were too embarrassed to allow their characters to dress in anything but black leather, I'm not sure they're the go-to-franchise for faithful adaptations...

Correct, but at the same time, you had Patrick Stewart calling people Storm, Magneto, Rogue and Cyclops with utter sincerity. And their characters were pretty faithful to how they act in the comics. Black leather is a small concession to see Nightcrawler or Beast.

aegix drakan:
*blinks slowly*

......And this guy is on the project........Why?

He clearly has little to no working knowledge of the subject matter, let alone any love for it. Why the hell is he on the project? *scratches head*

You clearly don't grasp the current depth of general dysfunction over at Warner Brothers when it comes to projects like this. This is "Old Hollywood" very much at play, some studios don't grasp the new landscape of how film and media now works (and certainly won't when chord-cutting and avoiding the antiquated idea of the 10 box office become the norm)

Sony seems to have the same problem. They don't understand.... anything about what makes a good film in 2014 and beyond so they can't judge if other people are good or bad for the project. It's a problem that goes right to the top. Execs love the money that comes with these franchises but sneer at the creative value. It's why so much of this industry is so focused on "The Numbers", they are scared shitless someone will reveal that they, in fact, have no idea how to make a movie in this day and age and it will ruin them.

3 articles today. 3 articles shaming the team behind the DCU films today. Can you spell "agenda"? Pretty sad if you ask me, at least make a judgement after the films are out instead of trying to smear the films before they've even got off the ground.

Anyway...I think calling him Manhunter would be much better. Martian makes him sounds very B-movie and old fashioned and kinda goofy.

endtherapture:
3 articles today. 3 articles shaming the team behind the DCU films today. Can you spell "agenda"? Pretty sad if you ask me, at least make a judgement after the films are out instead of trying to smear the films before they've even got off the ground.

You act as though pointing out that the title of the Batman v Superman movie is stupid, or that David Goyer is saying some utterly moronic things is somehow a judgement of the quality of the eventual movie. It's not.

Soviet Heavy:
Correct, but at the same time, you had Patrick Stewart calling people Storm, Magneto, Rogue and Cyclops with utter sincerity. And their characters were pretty faithful to how they act in the comics. Black leather is a small concession to see Nightcrawler or Beast.

Mmmmhh... calling characters by their character names is really a bare minimum, else you're not adapting at all, you're just making up some new stuff. The character and story stuff is only very loosely related to their comic counterparts - for every Professor X and Magneto there's a Storm or a Mystique. They're not any better as adaptations than the Michael Bay Transformers films.

(also, no, the black leather was awful, and the fact that they had to crack the spandex joke to laugh over how stupid it would be if they were superheroes still makes me cringe)

endtherapture:
3 articles today. 3 articles shaming the team behind the DCU films today. Can you spell "agenda"? Pretty sad if you ask me, at least make a judgement after the films are out instead of trying to smear the films before they've even got off the ground.

Anyway...I think calling him Manhunter would be much better. Martian makes him sounds very B-movie and old fashioned and kinda goofy.

It needs to be said again that Marvel is making a movie about a talking raccoon named Rocket and his best friend the sentient tree. I'm pretty sure "goofy" and "old fashioned" aren't guarantors of badness or lack of audience response.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Ironman, Thor, and Capt. America were all B-list super heroes before their movies? I mean sure the average man on the street could have probably been able to name them if shown a picutre, but they aren't the A listers like Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Wolverine or the Hulk. I feel like Martian Manhunter would be at least a B- lister, the average fan would say they recognize him. He shows up in the JLA cartoons and one off cartoon movies. It isn't like he is this Rocket Raccoon Marvel has a movie for.

Point is you can introduce this Martian Manhunter in other movies not unlike how Hawkeye and Black Widow were introduced in Thor and Ironman 2 respectively. Sure he is a silly character (i mean that from an outsiders perspective) but he isn't any sillier than Thor or all of Guardian;s cast. And that is half the point of superhero comic books, is to have these silly characters that do awesome things.

Goyer is short sighted and undervaluing what the mass will accept. Hell the masses just went in droves to see Godzilla. I think they can buy a flying green dude.

Wait a second, Goyer is in charge of DC Cinematic Universe? Well, now it makes sense why it blows, why the flying fuck does he still get job after Blade 3?

RossaLincoln:

endtherapture:
3 articles today. 3 articles shaming the team behind the DCU films today. Can you spell "agenda"? Pretty sad if you ask me, at least make a judgement after the films are out instead of trying to smear the films before they've even got off the ground.

Anyway...I think calling him Manhunter would be much better. Martian makes him sounds very B-movie and old fashioned and kinda goofy.

It needs to be said again that Marvel is making a movie about a talking raccoon named Rocket and his best friend the sentient tree. I'm pretty sure "goofy" and "old fashioned" aren't guarantors of badness or lack of audience response.

And we have NO idea how it will do. It might open and become the greatest film of all time, but at the moment no one knows if it's a commercial success. I personally think it will flop as it looks like an OTT sci-fi film with no easily-identifiable connection to the rest of the grounded, Earth-centric Marvel Universe, but we'll see.

RossaLincoln:

endtherapture:
3 articles today. 3 articles shaming the team behind the DCU films today. Can you spell "agenda"? Pretty sad if you ask me, at least make a judgement after the films are out instead of trying to smear the films before they've even got off the ground.

Anyway...I think calling him Manhunter would be much better. Martian makes him sounds very B-movie and old fashioned and kinda goofy.

It needs to be said again that Marvel is making a movie about a talking raccoon named Rocket and his best friend the sentient tree. I'm pretty sure "goofy" and "old fashioned" aren't guarantors of badness or lack of audience response.

They're not, but everyone has always said since they announced it that it's an incredibly brave move bringing Rocket to the big screen. Brave and awesome, I might add, but it's the sort of risk that's only even slightly viable when you already have a dozen films worth of franchise goodwill. GotG could still flop, hard, and if it does then part of that is going to be raccoon-related.

They're also different kinds of goofy. One is "oh my god that raccoon has a machine gun, that's (amazing/stupid)", and the other is "did the green man from Mars get dressed in the dark?" or "did the Hulk lose a bunch of weight?". I literally don't even know how you'd sell a non-comic buying audience on Martian Manhunter, and I don't really know how you sell a comic buying audience on him either?

Wow. I knew the guys behind DC's answer to marvel's hugely successful cinematic universe didn't know what the fuck they were doing. It's common ground as a movie fan, actually. An awful lot of film trends can be summed up as a huge hit coming out and people struggling to get in on that success. The only difference here is that this time it's between two particular long standing rival companies in their fields. Which only magnifies the effect, as I can't be assed to look up the actual numbers right now (it's quarter to midnight in the UK), but I'll bet that marvel's comics have seen some increased popularity since their avengers movie continuity hit it big, increased popularity that may well hurt DC, if nothing else, simply because it's a cash cow they're not quite in on.

But...seriously? This guy mangles a beloved character like this in what is effectively a public setting like it's no big deal. I don't even know that much about martian manhunter, my only prolonged contact with the character was "injustice: gods among us" in which he was a DLC character, and thus not even in the plot that much, but even I seem to know more about this character than Goyer does. It wouldn't surprise me if shit like this leaked, I practically expect this kind of talk behind the scenes on DC productions, but to just say "Yeah, I'm gonna shit on this character if I get the chance, what of it" like that? It doesn't just show that he doesn't know what he's talking about, but that he doesn't care that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

Why is it DC can do so much good with their cartoons, but suck at the live action stuff?

aegix drakan:
......And this guy is on the project........Why?

I assume because he part wrote Batman Begins and the Dark Knight, giving him access to any WB project he feels like that week from now until the rapture.

It's perverse how DC/Warner Bros are still afraid of taking risks when Marvel's have mostly paid off.

I mean who'd have thought that guy from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang would become the defacto face of a multi billion dollar franchise? Or that campy space opera about intergalactic Vikings would make $450million (and the even campier sequel would make more than that)? Sure there's been two awkward Hulk Movies, but compared to Jonah Hex, Catwoman and Green Lantern that's a minor flub.

They'll probably get it and dump the overt seriousness just when Marvel decide it's time to push the drama and starts killing off characters, which will make DC suddenly look clueless and trite... I'm starting to think DC are just fated to always be one step behind.

Just fire this guy already! The moment is ripe, the right zeitgeist!

"We here at DC are greatly... blah-bleedeeh-blah... Mr. Goyer will no longer continue as the head writer of the DCU ... bla-blegh-blah..."

And just look for someone who cares, and even likes this sort of stuff. Not this too-cool-for-school hypocrite.

It's been known and stated many times that the issue with the DC films is that they are literally scared of their own origins. They try to do this "realistic" version of superheroes, which is just stupid on so many levels. If you want further proof, look at the Batman suit from the Dawn of Justice film. They went right to Frank Miller for inspiration, and that guy HATES superheroes. He probably hates everyone, but he especially is offended by the concept of a "superman". So far so that he has successfully convinced some of his readers that all superheroes should be done away with. It's the most insane thing you could possibly imagine. But DC/WB is full of people who seem to be on the same page. A superhero can exist, but he must be as realistic as possible. Forget that fact that their whole success is built on Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, all characters that do things no normal human. And yes, you can sit there and say Batman is a normal guy, but no real person is as intuitive, intelligent or as physically gifted as he is.

I don't see why you guys are even listening to this guy. He has no clue.

Wow, just Wow. MM works especially well if DC isn't going for the interconnected Universe. For the Superman comparison, MM is the last of his species but unlike Superman they died off while he was an adult. I mean he lost his wife and child. I'd play up that aspect. MM can easily be one of DC's more "human" characters if you script it right.

I've already made my statements towards Goyer in MovieBob's report about his sexist comments towards She-Hulk. Short version: David S Goyer is a socially-retarded piece of monkey shit that wouldn't know anything about common sense unless it pulled down his shorts and blew him. So, I'm just gonna post this video clip to let people know what I would like to do with Goyer right now (NSFW despite being rather cartoonish).

Fuck! Its shit like this that makes me want to become a hardcore drinker. -_-

Well done DC. Well done. Can you guys hire someone who actually LIKES the comics? It's been working out marvellously for Marvel.

DC, you prove once again why, even with Marvel's atrocious continuity, you still will never outshine anything done by Marvel. You just don't have the cajones cabron.

I love how almost every DC character is related to or directly alien, yet they still try to go for the "SO REALISTIC" approach to their movies.

Batman was one thing, a human that fights humans (although usually mutated/crazy) and that's about it in regards of "grounded" story that most people know about.

Just because Green Lantern was poorly done, that doesn't mean that the entire "hey... aliens" part should be put aside, it just shows how scared WB is of their own "money-making" universe, while Marvel puts out a movie with a talking raccoon, Vin diesel as a tree, a green alien and Batista and most people are going ape-shit about it, cuz they showed the balls to make their "nonsenical" universe a thing, and keep it going.

Oh god, why is that clown in anyway contributing to the creation of these movies?

The thing about people having heard of martian manhunter cos they never got laid in particular I found rather distasteful coming from a dude in charge of the story for a geek movie.

TheMemoman:
Just fire this guy already! The moment is ripe, the right zeitgeist!

"We here at DC are greatly... blah-bleedeeh-blah... Mr. Goyer will no longer continue as the head writer of the DCU ... bla-blegh-blah..."

And just look for someone who cares, and even likes this sort of stuff. Not this too-cool-for-school hypocrite.

I don't understand why they have Goyer when he clearly hates comics and the target audience. THEY HAVE BRUCE TIMM ON STAFF. BTAS, Superman, Batman Beyond, Justice League ring any bells DC? The guy was responsible for your 90s and early 2000s rennaisance, he'd make beautiful things happen, he could even out marvel Marvel in films!

I still think someone should hire Brian Clevinger(8-bit Theater, Atomic Robo) to give a go at a script. Teamed up with a competent director(that also loves comics), he could write stuff that would rival Whedon's stuff easily.

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