By Charlie Phillips | August 11, 2017
I am personally very excited and even optimistic about the upcoming Justice League movie, but some are concerned that it’ll feel like the first Avengers movie—absent the support of many preceding movies. I’m sympathetic to this assessment, but it also got me thinking: Maybe continuity is just as much a weakness as a strength. After all, tons and tons of cool ideas have to be shut down for the sake of adhering to a singular vision.
What if DC cut themselves loose and tapped the full range of their stories for the silver screen? If they did decide to vaporize film continuity with a blast of executive heat vision, one of the first things I’d want to see done is Justice Riders.
Justice Riders is an Elseworlds story from 1997 written by Chuck Dixon, which reimagines beloved DC heroes as figures from the old west. Wonder Woman is the sheriff of Paradise City, Kid Flash is a super-speedster gunslinger unjustly wanted by the law, and Blue Beetle is an eccentric steampunk inventor.
Westerns ruled the American box office back in the day and many are nostalgic for this classic setting. Previous attempts to bring it back with a superhero bent, like Jonah Hex and Cowboys & Aliens, have been met with lukewarm enthusiasm. A Justice Riders movie could beat this trend by capitalizing on the existing popularity and visual appeal of these characters. Wonder Woman and Kid Flash pop more on a cereal box or a poster than the somewhat generic looking Jonah Hex.
A superhero western might just be the perfect palate cleanser to keep things fresh and interesting and would open up the floodgate to all sorts of new concepts for DC movies. Some may argue that superhero movies with continuity aren’t as exciting. I would argue that when you aren’t always looking to the next big thing the stories become more impactful.
I can’t be the only one who rolled my eyes at the conclusion to Captain America: Civil War when the whole conflict was smoothed over with what was basically a post-it note on a refrigerator apology from Cap to Iron-Man. I don’t blame the filmmakers for this; they had to quickly sweep the conflict under the rug, so as not to slow down the next installment.
I think that when push comes to shove, people will appreciate fresh takes on the superhero movie formula. Cameos and after credit scenes are fun, but they come second to creativity and variety in my book. And those qualities are just what a Justice Riders movie would deliver.
In the year 400 BC, Zeus in the form of a golden beam of light visited a mortal woman. The result of this union was a demigod! Charlie Phillips . . . is not that demigod, but he is a fan of non sequitur, and comic books too if you can believe it. Charlie is a student at James Madison University where he studies Media Arts and Design. Currently he works as a writer for ComicBlitz and in television development.