Geoff Johns is unfit for taking charge of DC movies
The fallout from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice continues to ripple through Warner Bros.After the failure of the Green Lantern movie, for which Johns had a co-production credit, they want a man who was said to have an overbearing influence on the proceedings take part? I really don't see the point. IMO, based on his record in pamphlet writing, that's why I sure don't think he deserves the role.
The Burbank-based studio is making changes to the way it handles its DC Entertainment-centered films, giving oversight of the feature projects to a pair of executives and creating a dedicated division for the films. Current executive vp Jon Berg and Geoff Johns, DC's chief content officer who successfully launched the comics label's foray into television, will co-run the newly created DC Films, according to multiple sources.
This move is part of a broader refinement of executive roles at Warners, which has suffered a disappointing run of movies and has vexed producers and filmmakers, some of whom complain about a murky greenlight process.
He even hypocritically told a press conference that he's going to bring optimism to these movies, after all the harm he caused back in comicdom (via Screen Rant):
He was there to talk about an upcoming comic he wrote and said he couldn’t confirm the story, but that “you can connect the dots.” Even though he declined to directly address that topic and didn’t speak specifically about DC’s film slate, he was more than willing to talk about what he thinks makes the DC mythos unique. One phrase came out of his mouth over and over again as he talked about DC’s comics: “hope and optimism.” Though Johns would never speak ill of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or its director, Zack Snyder — Johns is nothing if not loyal to the company that made him a star — it’s crystal clear that his vision for DC looks a lot brighter than the much-maligned grimness Snyder provided earlier this year.Big talk from somebody who never exactly tried in his own way to make Supes relatable, let alone readable. And who certainly did a terrible disfavor to the Flash 15 years earlier. IMO, I can't see we should admire somebody who took an otherwise different approach to comicdom than what he may do with the movies.
DC’s nascent cinematic universe has so far depicted Superman as an angry god; a violent, alien entity that needs to be kept in check. This morning, Johns offered a vastly different take on the character's archetype. “I think people make a mistake when they say, ‘Superman’s not relatable because he’s so powerful,’” he said. “I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me? He’s a farmboy from Kansas who moves to the city and just wants to do the best he can with what he’s got.’ That’s the most relatable character in the world."
That attitude isn’t surprising, given Johns’s track record in the superhero world. The 43-year-old started his career as an assistant to Superman director Richard Donner in the late 1990s, then snagged a gig writing for DC in 1999, at the tender age of 26. Right from the start, he showed a special interest in the company’s past: He revered the smiling, benevolent heroes of the mid-century and largely eschewed the gritty bloodletting that had been in vogue since the '80s. In series like Justice Society of America and The Flash, he cranked out stories that managed to be sun-dappled without being sappy.Hmm, notice how they sugarcoat the talk of crossovers, as though it weren't a serious hindering to creative freedom and stand-alone scriptwriting. More telling is the reporter's head-shaking lies about what approach Johns took, with the Flash or anything else he wrote over the past decade. As noted, Johns' writing on the Flash was nothing short of execrable, and come to think of it, so was his work on GL, where he penned some left-wing propaganda. After David Goyer left JSA and Johns became sole scripter, that's when it started getting pretty bad there too. The reporter's dishonesty about his approach is a disgrace.
Over the course of the '00s, he became DC’s golden boy. He was insanely prolific, producing stories on multiple series and in major company-wide crossovers like 2006’s Infinite Crisis. He was especially lauded for his eight-year run on Green Lantern, which revitalized and redefined the character. When DC executed an ambitious reboot of its entire superhero line in 2011, he was put in charge of the miniseries that launched it and its subsequent flagship title, Justice League. Johns was never the flashiest writer, opting for traditional story structures and plain prose, but he had an undeniable reverence for DC iconography (some have said too much reverence) and a willingness to think big when the company wanted to do something world-shaking.
And even without the jarring violence that was particularly noticeable in Flash (not to mention some grimy, pointless allusions to sexual harassment/assault), a serious detractor in his work is that it just wasn't very good, and character drama was awfully half-hearted, right down to where, after Fury/Lyta Hall was woken from the enchanted coma Mordru put her in, she and Hector Hall were wiped out yet again in 2005. What was the whole point of bringing them back if they didn't even intend to give them long-term focus? The irony is that Johns wasn't the flashiest writer because he was really one of the most pretentious. Him think big? Nope, and neither was he very "traditional", at least not in a good sense. He wasn't very understanding of past continuity either, altering it as he saw fit.
However, there does seem to be a little bit of good news here:
...he’s currently taking a break from writing comics for a while. He penned a status-quo-altering one-shot issue called DC Universe: Rebirth, which comes out in a week and was the topic of conversation at today’s journalist gathering — but after that his hands will be too full. Whatever he does next, it’ll be rooted in a belief that DC needs to understand the deep-seated warmth and love that people feel toward its pantheon. “There’s a lot of emotional underpinning of the characters and the stories," he said. "It's not that people take it for granted. They’re just not as aware of it. But when it’s not there, you really feel that emptiness.”And it wasn't there when he was doing the writing, so it sure was pretty empty. Don't believe what they say about what he believes either. But I'd say it's good if he's largely on his way out of DC's publishing arm. He was nothing but a wrecker of everything positive about the DCU, all because, despite what he claims, he's just another phony who goes by a cowardly vision that nobody takes the DCU seriously because of the tongue-in-cheek storytelling they were known for in the Silver Age. I won't miss him. Suffice it to say his work doesn't stand the test of time, and he certainly doesn't seem to care about it, given that he disavowed the work post-Flashpoint.