Russo Brothers

Let’s face it. As far as superhero movies go, DC is eating Marvel’s dust in the race for the biggest box office returns. To make matters worse, Marvel’s even gotten their movie directors to do some trash talking for them. The Russo brothers, known for directing the recently released INFINITY WAR, recently said in a q-and-a session that they wouldn’t work for DC.

Anthony Russo claimed this was because they were simply more familiar with Marvel’s stable of spandex-clad heroes. But then Joe Russo had to go and stomp on the nerves of DC fans everywhere. He claimed that DC’s superheroes were unrelatable and far too powerful to be interesting.

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And you know what? Maybe he’s right. Compared to the relatable heroes of the MCU, stuff like Kryptonians and amazons are pretty far-fetched. Who could be more humble than Captain America? Any superhero would look silly compared to a war propaganda mascot who was frozen in time for almost a century.

And if you think that’s down-to-earth, how about Thor, the literal Norse god of thunder? Given JUSTICE LEAGUE’s poor critical reception, maybe it’s time to tone down the all-powerful supermen of the DC Universe. With just a little bit of readjustment, I’m sure the Russo brothers will cast aside their anti-DC biases. 

Make Superman Less Super

Last son of Krypton? More like the last son of Zyrtec considering how boring he is. It’s no surprise that the most whitebread superhero of them all also happens to be one of the most powerful. If he wants to earn Joe Russo’s approval, the big blue boy scout’s got to take it down a notch.

Now, how do we do that? Well, some people have suggested that we get rid of some of Superman’s more extraneous powers. Why does one hero get to have flight, super-breath, laser vision, x-ray vision, etc.? Those are just too many add-ons to the already invincible man of steel. So why not go back to the basics of being faster than a bullet and more powerful than a locomotive? After all, nothing makes a superpowered spaceman more relatable than if you’re comparing him to firearms and trains.

But let’s be real here, that’s not enough. It’s no coincidence that Batman is the most popular DC superhero and that he doesn’t have any superpowers. If we want Superman to surpass that level of popularity, we can’t just weaken him a little bit.

Russo Brothers
Sketch courtesy of yours truly. Logo courtesy of DC Comics.

In the current lore, Superman’s powers come from the radiation emanating from Earth’s yellow sun. He also derives strength from Earth’s center of gravity being less than that of Krypton’s. However, in the new and improved Russo-friendly film version, Earth’s gravity is heavier than Krypton’s.

This makes Superman frailer than the average human. Also, instead of giving him radiation powered abilities, Earth’s yellow sun instead makes Superman more prone to sunburns. That way, we can keep Superman’s backstory intact, while making him the down-to-earth underdog the Russo brothers crave.

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Make Batman a Working Man

Now, the Russo Brothers did admit that they were fans of the caped crusader. But there’s always room for improvement. There is something a bit alienating about a trust fund billionaire going out at night in a silly outfit. Especially if he’s doing that to beat up people who are mostly poorer than he is. If he’s going to act that ridiculous, I’d say it’s about time that Batman actually earns his fortune.

And what could be more relatable in this day and age than funding yourself with online donations?

Russo Brothers
Logo courtesy of DC Comics.

Who can emphasize with someone who was born into wealth like some sort of snooty unrelatable aristocrat? Bruce Wayne should earn his wealth the way most up-and-comers do these days: through the internet. Maybe he kicks things off with an Indiegogo or a Kickstarter campaign. Or maybe monthly donations on Patreon are keeping him afloat. Either way, it shouldn’t intrude upon that award-winning Batman formula too much.

You just have to add a couple extra touches here and there. A Batcave computer could show a mailing order for the five dollar reward tier commemorative t-shirts he’s mailing out. Or, when Batman’s driving around in the Batmobile, have him record an update vlog at the same time. He could even go on a quick rant how Patreon’s rules against “promoting violence” are costing him funds. Little things like this make Batman more relatable to the working class audiences of today. This should appeal to the Russo brothers’ anti-elitist preferences.

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Make Wonder Woman More Accessible

Out of all the members of the Justice League, the most unrelatable hero on the roster has to be Wonder Woman. An all-powerful woman raised by powerful women being a confident hero in the world of men? Considering that it took until phase 3 of the MCU for a female superhero to even get a leading role worthy of having her name in the film’s title, it’s no wonder that Wonder Woman’s got the Russo brothers feeling intimidated.

As any screenwriter worth their salt knows, while male leads are the cultural norm, and if YouTube comments about the latest Star Wars movies are any indication, going away from that cultural norm can be pretty upsetting.  Sure, audiences were willing to take a chance on a female superpowered protagonist when WONDER WOMAN came out in theaters. But, if Joe’s comments on relatability are any indication, I think the Russos still feel a bit skittish about the Amazonian princess. However, I think we can dispel that lack of familiarity by making Wonder Woman male.

Russo Brothers
Logo courtesy of DC Comics.

Making Wonder Woman male should make her more accessible for the male directing duo, while also making her the sort of underdog the Russos like to root for. Instead of being a confident princess from a Greek mythological island, Wonder Wilson (Wonder Man was already copyrighted by Marvel) would be a man born to and raised by Amazons, making him an outsider in both Themyscira and the realm of men.

While his powers would still be the same as Wonder Woman’s, Wilson’s struggle to reconcile his Amazonian upbringing with his male nature would be a humbling and pitiable burden to bear. It would also be emblematic of one of the truly underrepresented minorities in film: woke male feminists like me.

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Make Green Lantern More Accountable

Green Lantern is essentially a space cop. And while that would normally be fine, these days, regular cops are having a bit of a PR crisis. For instance, on May 4th, the Civilian Complaint Review Board tweeted out about the fourth amendment. This prompted the following response from a New York Police Union:

Russo Brothers
Image courtesy of Twitter

With that kind of behavior in the public eye, I can see why the Russo brothers wouldn’t want to put their names behind an all-powerful cop with a do-anything alien superweapon at his disposal. That being said, Superheroes are supposed to represent unity, not division.

If we want the directors of CIVIL WAR to come around on Green Lantern, we can’t just denounce the cops and call it a day. We’ve got to make Green Lantern the sort of space cop we would want policing space. Which is why he should be wearing a body camera at all times.

Russo Brothers
Logo courtesy of DC comics

The Green Lantern Corps may be too out there for the realistically-minded Russo brothers. But once the corps are equipped with body cameras that are always recording, those cosmic mavericks are sure to become a self-conscious and responsible group of officers. And it’s all thanks to the blessing that is constant surveillance.

Technically, the Green Lantern uniform is the ring itself, so if the body camera is attached to the uniform, it should always be on whenever the ring is being used. Adding forward-thinking concepts like this to otherwise ridiculous sci-fi concepts is sure to make the Russo brothers realize the depth DC has to offer.

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Make Flash Skeptical of Superheroes

One issue that both Marvel and DC haven’t quite addressed is the disconnect between superhero movies and superhero tv shows. Shows like JESSICA JONES and movies like THE AVENGERS take place in the same universe, but it certainly doesn’t seem that way. DC, on the other hand, didn’t even try to connect the DCEU to the Arrowverse or any of the other various tv shows it has on the air.

Another issue I’ve noticed is the growing rift between superhero movie fans and superhero movie haters. I realized something after seeing articles like this, and the backlash they get online. If the superhero film genre really is destined to be an all-consuming pop culture franchise monstrosity, then we’ve got to give the superhero haters someone to relate to in these movies.

And, with the scarlet speedster at our disposal, I think we can kill both those birds with one stone. Let’s make the Flash someone who despises the superhero genre, with the main target of his ire being the currently ongoing CW series, THE FLASH.

Russo Brothers
Logo courtesy of DC comics

I’m sure the writers can work out the logistics of THE FLASH existing in a Justice League movie since it would be a great way of addressing both the haters and the disparity between superhero tv and superhero films. This avatar of self-acknowledgment would be more down-to-earth in comparison to other incarnations of the Flash, which should appease the Russo brother’s need for “relatable” heroes.

Obviously, this version isn’t going to go all out with his powers, since he’s self-conscious about emulating the genre and television show he despises. By pitting the Flash against his pop culture origins, we get a character dynamic that’s relatable, dramatic, and, most importantly, accessible to the Russo brothers.

Aquaman and Cyborg Are There Too, I Guess…

Russo Brothers
Parts of this image are courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Okay, look. When you’ve got seven protagonists, it’s inevitable that some of them aren’t going to get that much characterization. I know Fishman and the Teen Titan robot are getting their own films soon, but for the time being, they’re just there to take up space and look pretty. I mean, the Russo Brothers have presided over two multi-superhero crossovers already; they know what I’m talking about.

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Last Notes on the Russo Brothers

Obviously, these are all terrible suggestions, but here’s the thing. Superheroes are meant to be kind of wacky and unrealistic. Even Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman featured things like flamboyant killer clowns and secret assassin cabals responsible for the fall of Rome. The latest Russo Brothers film was literally titled INFINITY WAR, and its main villain was a giant purple man with a magic glove.

When it comes to being relatable, it’s really just a matter of framing. Depending on who’s writing him, Superman can either be a one-dimensional prince charming from space, or he can be an anxious alien trying to do right and fit in with his adopted people. Iron Man can be a brilliant inventor trying to atone for his sordid past, or he could be a control freak arms dealer that only stopped dealing arms after he built an ultra-powerful superweapon exo-suit for his own personal use.

And sure, if we had the time, I suppose we could line up all the heroes from either company to determine which group was the most powerful. But remember that in THE AVENGERS, Hawkeye went out in a tight vest and used a modified archery kit against an alien invasion. That’s what’s fun about superheroes: anything’s possible. Though it’s pretty unlikely that the Russo brothers will ever cross over to DC.

They’re definitely being paid a lot of money by Disney for their company loyalty.

One Comment

  1. Armie

    May 21, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Surely this article is 100% joking lol. Like no one seriously feels this way. DCEU has issues but not the ones listed in this article. You can make all of the DC heroes exactly the way they are in the comics & you will have an award-winning recipe. The problem w/ DCEU is that they have yet to do that.

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