Worst Secret Superhero Club Ever

The 1997 Justice League TV movie is like a tutorial on how not to do superheroes on film, from the stiff, I-can't-move costumes to the incredibly cheesy dialogue and acting. (Although I think the little documentary-interview segments are a neat idea, just horribly executed.) Here's the scene where our point-of-view character Tori Olafsdotter meets the rest of the League, who are based on the mid-1990s comics lineup of characters you've never heard of except Flash and Green Lantern. No matter how awful George Miller's abortive Justice League: Mortal might have been, it would have looked great compared to this disaster.

The above clip also showcases one of the biggest challenges of doing a super-team movie or TV show properly: shoehorning in everybody's origins and explaining how all these random people got together. Justice League gets around this problem by making the Martian Manhunter into the Charlie, and all of the other Leaguers into his Angels. Sadly, J'onn J'onnz, Manhunter from Mars, is also kind of a dick, judging from the way he introduces himself to Tori disguised as her creepy coworker who's actually a supervillain.


I wanted to find a clip of the League doing something superheroic and using their powers in an awesome way, but sadly that doesn't really happen in Justice League. The TV movie's big final set piece consists of Green Lantern incompetently confronting the arch-villain, the Weatherman, and failing to prevent him from activating his weather disaster machine. And then the Flash incompetently carries a few kids to safety, but fails to take them far enough. And Tori, who's been pretty useless up until this point, finally stops the Weather Man's destructive tidal wave by freezing it with her ice powers. And Green Lantern, maybe overcompensating for his total failure a few moments earlier, makes a dumb crack about how the Weatherman is always wrong.

As dull as many superhero movies have been since Sam Raimi and Chris Nolan made the genre viable again, it's good to remember how dire they really were, back in the nadir of the Joel Schumacher era.


Charlie Jane Anders

@In Other News...: This was never televised in the U.S.... it was shown in a few European and Latin American countries.