People Say Green Lantern Was a Terrible Film? But was it really? Read ON!!!….
Green Lantern has been a film that most fans and normal moviegoers hate. When the film came out originally in 2011, many had high expectations and rightly so. It was a very popular character in the comics, and was the next logical step for Warner Bros. to cash in on. The universe in the mythology is enormous, and when Greg Berlanti pitched the character to them, he pointed that out in his selling them on the idea. The first trailer came out, and people were a bit skeptical but two trailers later, people were sold for the most part on the film. At WonderCon, footage was shown, and the audience was dazzled by it. However when the film came out, it was panned by critics for the most part, and did not do as well as other films like Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger that came out that summer. But really with all the high expectations everyone had for it, was it really that bad…?
I remember seeing the first trailer coming out, and it gave me an idea where they were taking the film. It was going to be an examination of a man’s choices and how he is offered a second chance by the ring. Going back to filming, Martin Campbell cited the infamous Emerald Dawn story as an influence on the film, and that came across with the first trailer with the music, the mood and the style of cuts. I can still remember watching the scene between Hal and Abin Sur, and feeling the idea of second chances expressed. With the additional trailers, I was still excited but I feared it would not live up to the standards of fans like Superman Returns did not unfortunately. Superman Returns was not a terrible movie by any means but people did not like it for a number of reasons, and I feared the new Green Lantern film was destined for that same fate.
Coming out of that first showing, I felt just confused. This movie was a bit of a kid’s movie. The film explored his family barely, and gave him this stupid kid which was supposed to serve as a corollary to Hal’s relationship with his dad before he died in a plane crash. It does not really serve the plot, and frankly, I felt the film was turned into something it should not have been. Hal is an adult character with emotions. While yes he is a bit of a child in terms of immaturity, he is still an adult. I get extremely annoyed when Hollywood puts kids in films that could be better served without them. All it does is weigh films down and forcibly lighten the tone when the audience could see a real examination of the main character and his struggles. That’s what Hal’s film should have been about, and if they were going the Dawn route, they should have stuck to it completely with him going to prison, being drunk, etc. Instead, they decided to make it more “kid-friendly,” and toss a kid who serves no purpose into it.
My other major problem was with the lack of reason for the antagonist Hector Hammond. He seemed to have no purpose in the film especially in the main cut. If you see the extended cut, you can get some idea of his motivations but after watching it again recently (with the extended cut, my preferred choice), it still seems as if the plot is just literally tossing him into the movie when he is adult Hector. It makes no sense since people just arrive at his doorstep, and bring him into the conflict when he had no prior involvement with the woman who he is introduced to her named Dr. Amanda Waller. It was obvious there Warner Bros. wanted to expand her part when they cast Angela Bassett as Waller. She was good in the movie too! And she could have been so much more! But back to Hammond. The writers should have delved way more into the character’s psyche establishing much more his motivations for bringing Hal down. The jealousy should have begun long before it did, and they should have had him working for the government from the get-go since that is how they established Hal, Carol and all the other characters in the status quo. Heck, Hector suffers more than Hal does in many ways, and we do not have any sympathy really for the character since the audience does not really like him from the beginning. To make the villain human should have been the goal with him or to make him just pure evil but the human part seemed to be where they were going. And now my main problem and thought on why the movie failed.
The writers! You have four writers (Michael Goldenberg, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim and Greg Berlanti), and they all had different ideas about the story and screenplay. They were not organized like Christopher and Jonathan Nolan and David Goyer were when they worked together to resurrect Batman from the ashes of Batman and Robin. This was a major issue since the main film’s structure was gone, the villain was not really interesting and Hal was not the focus. I have no problem extending the playing field to other character. Heck, I think they should have given Hector more screen time to focus on his character. Yet, I think the main person who needed to be better written like Hector was Hal. Hal has so much potential as a character, and could have been a character with a second chance given to him by a dying alien. But again, that was not the case. He was just a jerk who became a hero. Carol was another character who just seemed not to be really doing anything in the plot. She would appear in charge, then as damsel in distress and then as love interest. A lot of that is true for her in the comics but where is her necessity to the plot? I just do not get it, and I guess I never will understand why four accomplished writers could not coordinate what they wrote instead of just rewriting and rewriting. The sad thing is that two of those men have written for DC Comics!
Now that I have poo pooed the movie…. Are there any parts I like about it? Yes, actually there are. There were more parts I liked than hated actually. The first being Ryan Reynolds as Hal. He was a perfect choice for the character, and if you need any more proof of that, ask Geoff Johns. He has said on multiple occasions he thought Ryan was a great Hal. Reynolds is an emerging and evolving talent, and I really respect him stretching his acting talents beyond general comedies because he does have talent. This film showed that. I was not too upset with the casting of Blake Lively. She was believable as a young woman put in a situation where she had to choose between her company and her childhood love. It is certainly a dynamic the writers should have explored more but was present in the opening scenes; probably the more interesting part of her involvement. While I loved all the other actors such as Peter Sarsgaard and Tim Robbins, there were two outstanding people on this film who deserve a lot of the credit for the great parts of it. The first being Martin Campbell who is amazingly accomplished director with his Bond films like Goldeneye and Casino Royale but other films like Edge of Darkness with Mel Gibson and Danny Houston. He rebooted the Bond franchise twice, once with Pierce Brosnan and the second time with Daniel Craig. He guided the film in the right direction but it failed because of the writing on it. The next person in the film was Taika Waititi as Tom Kalmaku. His relationship with Hal was awesome in the film, and he could have served so much more to as a friend who cares about his friend like a brother. Kalmaku could have served to bring Hal back to life along with Ferris or even without Carol but the truth is, the writers did not see the potential in what could have been an awesome film. I look at this film when I watch it, and still say, what a missed opportunity. Yet, I do not think DC Comics and Warner Bros. should kick this out of the new DC Cinematic Universe given that they did an ok job with the film, and they still have a great actor in Reynolds as Jordan. He was not the bad part so why detract it? They will obviously do that but Marvel did not do that when their first Hulk film bombed critically and was not praised by audiences either. They instead streamlined the character maintaining that all but reworking it a bit. They did that again recently in The Avengers when they could not bring Edward Norton back, and instead, cast Mark Ruffalo as the character. Warner Bros. should follow that model but they probably won’t. Hey, I am not complaining….. It wasn’t that bad of a film, and Man of Steel is a pretty great film which we will be sure to see a sequel to.