Justice League Dark is one of those DC films that’s been in the works for some time. It’s already slipped through the fingers of at least a couple of amazing A-list directors. This includes the Oscar-winning Guillermo del Toro and The Bourne Identity helmer Doug Liman.
While promoting his new YouTube Red series Impulse, Liman discussed the main reason why he didn’t stick around to see Justice League Dark through.
“Well, if I’m gonna do something in the superhero arena, I’m gonna do something that’s uniquely me. My criteria, when I choose to do a project, is that, first of all, I have to love it, but the other critical thing for me is that it has to be a project that, if I go and direct it, it will be fundamentally different than if anybody else does it. There has to be something in me that connects to that piece of material and that it makes sense that I’m doing it, and not somebody else. Impulse follows an anti-hero who keeps getting sent back into a situation they don’t want to be in. There’s a lot of me in Impulse. There’s a lot of me in The Bourne Identity. There’s a lot of me in Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Not to get too much psychiatry in here, but probably all my characters are anti-heroes ‘cause it comes from how I think about myself. So Justice League Dark, on paper, seemed like it would fit me perfectly ‘cause it’s inherently anti-heroic, but I just never could find myself in it.”
I’m just speculating, but perhaps with a group of anti-heroes, he really hoped they could embrace that non-hero aspect. However, as we saw with the movie Suicide Squad, Warner Bros. seems reticent to actually allow the characters to be anti-hero in nature. Even in that film, they’re fully heroic, but have the skin of villain. I wouldn’t be surprised if they interfered with how dark and unlikable the characters got.
So does this spell bad things for the eventual movie, which is still on DC’s slate? Well, clichés are there for a reason. It’s possible that, like with Jumper, that Liman could have written himself into a corner. I’d like to think there’s a middle-ground they can walk between hero and anti-hero that will make most fans happy. But we won’t find out if the movie never hits!
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