A look at DC’s Justice League movie build-up.

§ July 22nd, 2013 § Filed under what § 9 Comments

Of course, one of the major problems DC Comics and Warner Brothers face in getting the Firestorm movie off the ground is that there have already been multiple movies in recent years using the name Firestorm, including at least one major studio release. Not that there isn’t precedent for other, perhaps more descriptive titles for the character: the full name as used in the original series, Firestorm the Nuclear Man, may fit the bill, but perhaps seems a bit too…I don’t know, unserious? for the grim, gritty direction of the DC Comics film universe. The other title used by the 1980s comic series relaunch, Fury of Firestorm (also appended with “The Nuclear Man,” but we can likely safely ignore it in favor of the main portion of the title) may be more in line with said direction. Then again, there may be a third option if DC/WB truly wishes to avoid marketplace confusion, by adapting Marvel’s strategy with the Avengers film and titling the project DC Comics’s Firestorm and I’ll leave discussion whether to form the possessive with ” ‘s ” or just the apostrophe for others.

Now, this is all just blather about the title of the film itself…what of an actual live action film version of Firestorm? The character has, shall we say, one of the more garish appearances, even by superhero terms, though if I recall correctly there was an editorial reply to a letter of comment, or perhaps just an offhand remark in an interview (I’m working on 20+ year old memories here, so bear with me) that the costume was deliberately over-the-top, an overexcited teenager’s idea of what a superhero costume should look like, and given that the dominant half of Firestorm is teenager Ronnie Raymond, well, there you go. However true that explanation might be (and I suspect there may be some after-the-fact rationalization), if they intend of keeping the costume for the movie, an undercurrent of “can you believe this guy’s get-up?” running through the storyline would be the way to play it. However, I say it’s 50/50 whether his fiery hairdo makes the transition.

And it probably goes without saying that the origin will need some tweaking. The ’70s origin of Ronnie hanging with nuclear power protesters who, without Ron’s knowledge, plan on blowing up a power plant…well, that’s a no-go, having the hero even tangentially associated with terrorism, so we’re almost certainly looking at an adaptation of the current New 52 version of the character: Ronnie paired with fellow student Jason Rusch, and Martin Stein as the scientist responsible for their fusion. And if the villain in the first movie isn’t Killer Frost, I’ll go out, buy a hat, preferably a small candied one, and eat it, because if the villain isn’t a bigger, badder version of the hero (and Firestorm does have a few of that type of arch-nemesis), it’ll be a villain that’s thematically opposite.

And then there’s the Red Tornado movie. Man, I don’t know. First, if, as rumor has it, Marvel’s going to have the Vision in Avengers 2: The Ultronening, they’ll corner the market on the “if only I knew what it was like to be…human” thing all superhero androids seem to go through. Second, okay, granted, this movie won’t be out for a while, but right now you think “tornado movie,” you think Sharknado. Or okay, maybe Wizard of Oz, but mostly right now, it’s Sharknado, just grant me my premise here, so there may be some residual association between the hokeyness of that SyFy spectacular and DC’s desperate attempt at padding out the cast of their Justice League movie that may affect audience acceptance. And third, you never know if there may be other worries about brand confusion…not quite to the extent of Firestorm’s issues, but all it takes is one letter from one studio lawyer to trip up DC’s big movie plans.

Let’s not even get started on villains. There’s his creator, the evil supergenius T.O. Morrow, and the Construct, who fought RT in his own mini-series, aaaand that’s more or less it. Maybe there was somebody in Primal Force, but I bet there are people at DC who don’t even remember Primal Force. However, on second thought, the Construct sort of fits the “bigger, badder version of hero” villain formula, so maybe that’s enough to build a movie around. I mean, if you can make a halfway decent movie with Doctor Octopus as the villain, I guess anything’s possible.

Now, about that Wonder Woman movie:

Oh, yeah, like that’s gonna happen.


images from The Fury of Firestorm #1 (June 1982) by Gerry Conway, Pat Broderick and Rodin Rodriguez; Red Tornado #1 (July 1985) by Kurt Busiek, Carmine Infantino and Frank McLaughlin; Wonder Woman #300 (February 1983) by Roy & Danette Thomas and Keith Pollard

9 Responses to “A look at DC’s Justice League movie build-up.”

  • They could use the Ma Hunkel Red Tornado…

  • philfromgermany says:

    Just wanted to use this occasion to give some well deserved praise to the Firestorm writers, Conway and later Ostrander, for doing such a good job on his Rogues gallery.
    There is not only KF (though she is awesome), there is Multiplex (would work nice in a movie), Black Bison (ok, not PC), Parasite on loan from Superman, the Weasel, the Enforcer, Stalnoivolk, the Steel Wolf, Slipknot, the Thinker. Yeah, I know a lot of those guys died inthe Suicide Squad/Doom Patrol crossover but that’s a better rogues gallery than Thor or Green Arrow have.

  • Jozan says:

    Look, if the don’t use the fiery hairdo, then what’s the point?

  • RDaggle says:

    UGH, seriously?! When is the ‘grim n gritty’ gonna stop?!!

    Who will they get to direct this crap, Rob Zombie?!!

    What do you have against FUN, Mr. Sterling?!!

    [ps: the sound effects in the Wonder Woman panel clearly hint at a WW / Ricochet Rabbit team-up]

  • caleb says:

    I’m trying really, really hard to imagine a live-action Firestorm now and..I can’t. I think fire hair doesn’t really work if it’s not in a comic book. Like, Ghost Rider never really looked right to me, but I think Firestorm would have it so much worse, because he’s not a burning skeleton head, but just a dude with a head like the Olympic torch…

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Firestorm the Nuclear Man”

    Firestorm the Canceled Superhero!

    “you think Sharknado. Or okay, maybe Wizard of Oz,”


    ” Wonder Woman #300 ”

    WW is apparently working on her burlesque act…

    ” Slipknot”

    he throws a rope on you! A ROPE! unless you run away or he misses. then he’s standing there like a dink.

  • Bear says:

    Sorry, Mike, but I refuse to live in a world that has a Red Tornado movie, but not a Wonder Woman one.

  • Decker says:

    Firestorm is no Bruce Wayne, but still… check out that hinder!

  • Nice write-up! I’m a pretty big Firestorm fan (I even run the FIRESTORM FAN blog). However, even I have had a hard time imaging the Nuclear Man on the big screen. I said as much on the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST and was then surprisingly besieged with e-mails of people who think the film would work well. Obviously the visuals would be challenging, but the core concept is strong.

    Impulsive teenage with over-the-top powers being counseled by a more mature scientist. Lots of teenage angst combined with fun super-heroics. Imagine THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, but with one additional character to advise Peter.

    Once I read all that feedback, I was convinced the concept is sound. Again, just gotta figure out the visuals.

    The Irredeemable Shag