While the Justice League and Avengers are the big two teams that most comic book readers are aware of, it was Justice League International that really got me into the team concept. While that series did feature a lot of fun stories, it was the teaming of Booster Gold and Blue Beetle that had me coming back for more.
This week, the Comic Casting Couch teams Michael Carter and Ted Kord in the first real superhero buddy movie – The Blue and the Gold!
THE ELEVATOR PITCH
Buddy movies have been around for a very long time. Most tend to team the old cop with the young rookie, or mix cultures, or even mix locals. The Blue and the Gold goes a step further by teaming a modern day hero with a hero from the future! The buddy film has gone superhero, with a bit of comedy to boot!
Or tale opens with Ted Kord jumping from a strange looking ship he designed at Kord Industries. The wealthy industrialist has become bored with his life of luxury, and constantly seeks adventure. His ship, and the tech suit he’s created, give him the means to drop what he’s doing to fly off seeking his next adrenaline rush. As Kord plummets to Earth, we hear him scream, “This rocks!”
We then cut to the Metropolis Space Museum in the 25th Century, where we hear Michael John Carter exclaim, “This sucks!”. Carter’s life has crumbled around him, the once famous quarterback was caught up in a gambling scandal which cost him his fame and fortune, resulting in his current job as the night janitor at the museum. As the only human in the building at night, Carter has the run of the place while he cleans the disgusting toilets and waste cans of the museum. Keeping tabs on the former star is Skeets, one of the security robots at the museum. Skeets has a detailed record of all the artifacts in the museum and a fairly detailed record of historical facts from the last 700 years.
While making his rounds, Carter discovers a picture of Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle, and via Skeets’ archive log, discovers Kord lead the life Michael only dreams of. The audience learns that Kord died saving the world, and holds a place of honor among the world’s greatest heroes. Skeets makes the off-handed comment that the only way Carter could ever be remembered like Kord is if he traveled back in time where no one had heard of Michael John Carter. This is all the prompting Michael needs as he steals several historical artifacts from the museum before jumping into the Space Museum’s prized exhibit – the only surviving time machine. As the time machine vanishes back to the 21st century, we see the picture change to include Michael Carter dressed as Booster Gold, while a figure approaches from the shadows.
Time has passed, we know from the picture the two have met, so viewers are lead right to one of The Blue and The Gold’s adventures. Unfortunately, Booster is more concerned about money, while Kord seeks the rush of adventure. While the two are able to perform heroic acts, the lure of making money and the next adrenaline rush, often cause more harm than good (and some funny moments as well)
Booster has been keeping his origins secret, but when Kord discovers Carter’s time machine, the allure to travel to the past is too tempting, and when the two make a quick trip to the past and return, they discover things aren’t quite the same. No one recognizes them, Kord’s fortune is wiped out, as business rivals have decimated his company, and the country has fallen into disarray.
This leads to the introduction of Rip Hunter, time traveler, who has been following Michael Charter since the beginning. He reveals that another time traveler, Per Degaton has been manipulating events in history, and Kord’s adventure to the past gave Per Degaton the one moment in time that he needed to shift the balance of power in his favor. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold are going to have to discover what it really means to be heroes, as they set aside their selfish motives to finally become the true heroes the 25th century remembers, and the 21st century needs.
Owen Wilson as Booster Gold (Michael Carter)
Michael Carter was never the sharpest knife in the drawer, and Owen Wilson has a great record of playing just such a character. At the same time he’s got the build and look to pull off the spotlight grabbing hero, and provides just enough snark in the process. If anything, Booster Gold is very much like Lightning McQeen from Pixar’s Cars movie, and since Wilson voiced the now famous car, he understands Booster Gold’s thought process.
Seth Rogen as Blue Beetle (Ted Kord)
While Ted Kord has been portrayed as a perfect specimen of physical fitness, I also liked the pudgier take on the character – someone not so perfect. Seth Rogen is no longer “That Fat Guy From Freaks and Geeks” and after seeing how slim he looks in the upcoming Green Hornet movie, I’m more convinced his comedic acting and ability to pull of some stunt work would make a perfect counter to Wilson’s Carter. Rogen may have the second best line in the movie, when things look darkest for the heroes, Blue Beetle screams, “I may die, but it isn’t going to be today!” This should reassure the audience that the death mentioned earlier in the film isn’t going to happen here.
Michael Palin as Rip Hunter (SPOILER MOMENT AHEAD)
Not much is known about Rip Hunter except what he tells the heroes in the movie. In this movie, he’s much older than the way he is portrayed in the comic books, but I think that having one older hero who doesn’t have to get into the fisticuffs works to balance the action sequences between Wilson and Rogen.
Hunter’s drive is to not only to reset the timeline, but to get Booster and Beetle to step up as heroes. It’s not until the final scene of the movie where audiences once again see the scene from the beginning of the film with Carter traveling back for the first time that it all comes together. This time, the shadowy figure is revealed to be Rip Hunter who looks at the changing picture, smiles, and says, “Good job, dad.”
As a member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Michael Palin understands comedy, but his Around the World and Pole to Pole series shows he can look inward and pull forth some serious thought. And really, how awesome would it be to have an older Palin, tripping through time with these heroes, delivering under-his-breath one-liners, having some subtle action moments, and uttering the movie’s closing line?
Timothy Dalton as Per Degaton
The evil time traveler Per Degaton doesn’t need to be an over the top villain. Instead, Per Degaton needs to be portrayed as a charming businessman, with the power to command an army of thugs and minions who will do his bidding. Timothy Dalton has played the villain many times over the years and seems just right for this role.
Selma Hayek as Beatriz Bonilla DaCosta
This movie is going to need a love interest, a heroine to get into the action, a focus point for our heroes. While the name Fire will never be used in this film, the appearance of Beatriz will be the inside joke for those in the know, while also leaving an opening for a future project. Selma Hayek as Bea… need I say more?
THAT’S A WRAP
Hancock tried to pull off a funny yet serious comic book hero, and it didn’t land quite right. The person helming The Blue and The Gold is going to need to be someone who gets comedy, can direct action, has a love of comics, and has just enough cache to pull it off. Might I suggest Kevin Smith?
I’d be more than happy to pen the first draft…