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Grumpy Old Fan | What Green Lantern could learn from Super 8

Hal's in the doghouse in 1984's issue #180

Poor reviews and mediocre box office for the Green Lantern movie, and news that aspiring genre films no longer need Comic-Con, may be combining to signal the end of America’s love affair with nerd culture. However, Super 8, director J.J. Abrams’ tribute to the Steven Spielberg movies of his youth, celebrates nerdity in a few different ways. Protagonist Joe Lamb is a middle-schooler in the summer of 1979 (a summer when yours truly was transitioning similarly from fourth to fifth grade). He collaborates with a filmmaking friend and does makeup for the latter’s amateur movies. On one bedroom wall is a poster of the yet-to-fly Space Shuttle, and on another is a reproduction of Detective Comics #475′s “Laughing Fish” cover (by the great Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin, of course). He builds model kits, and not just so they can be blown up for an inexpensive visual effect. Obviously I recognized a lot of myself in Joe, and just as obviously, I was not alone. More importantly, though, Joe’s nerdity is endearing, not off-putting. Contrast that with Green Lantern’s fidelity to its source material, which reinforces the expectation that superhero comics must lead rookies through mazes of dogma more easily navigated by longtime fans.

To be sure, Super 8 has a few significant advantages over Green Lantern. First, it’s a better-made movie, introducing its characters and grounding them in the plot so clearly and precisely that those mechanics feel almost rudimentary. (Of course, it helps that Super 8 plays mostly in the real world of small-town 1979.) Second, although it is so careful with the details of its setting, in terms of the big picture Super 8 isn’t as concerned with those details as Green Lantern is. Joe’s most important characteristics are his relationships with his parents, not that he’s working on a Hunchback of Notre Dame kit or that he’s a comic-book fan. While the trappings of Green Lantern don’t look exactly like Gil Kane or Joe Staton drew them, the movie still wants you to know it tried to do them justice.

Third, Super 8 grounds Joe’s nerdity in his adolescence, whereas Green Lantern gives Hal a certain man-child quality. Hal does mature over the course of the movie, accepting the awesome responsibility that the ring carries (and learning to harness his willpower along the way). Still, because Green Lantern is an origin story, Hal only comes completely into his own at the end. By contrast, Joe begins as a more fully-formed character whose emotional journey involves dealing with unexpected trauma, not new responsibility. In this regard Joe’s nerdity — or, put another way, his “secret knowledge” of arcane matters like modelmaking and science fiction — is incidental to Super 8’s plot; while Hal’s whole journey is about learning a particular kind of secret knowledge. Therefore, it is arguably easier for an audience to accept Joe, the kid, as a nerd, than it is for them to watch the adult Hal’s induction into the byzantine Green Lantern Corps.

Now, this is an obtuse way of saying “Green Lantern should not have been an origin movie,” and although I just said it, I don’t think GL’s origin-story plot was entirely wrongheaded. The basic Green Lantern Corps backstory is elegantly simple — a group of immortals selects thousands of courageous beings for its intergalactic peacekeeping force — and within that framework, an individual Green Lantern has a lot of leeway about how to keep the peace. No matter who it is, a given Green Lantern won’t necessarily have the same agenda as his/her/its colleague(s), and a Green Lantern may also be at odds occasionally with the Guardians. The Guardians themselves should elicit some probing questions, namely about the nature of their governance, the derivation of their authority, and the ability of their agent(s) to interpret that authority.

Longtime Green Lantern fans will recognize those issues as concerns raised in Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams’ seminal “Hard-Traveling Heroes” arc, when Hal questions his role as the Guardians’ representative. When I reviewed Green Lantern its opening weekend, I mentioned those stories as a good foundation for a different kind of GL movie. Indeed, the choice between Terran morals and ancient, otherworldly ethics was played out over thirty years ago as the climax of 1978′s Superman, when Supes chooses to ignore Jor-El’s edicts so he can save Lois’ life. Superman could make that choice, at least in part, because he only had to answer to an artificially-intelligent version of his late father. Hal, on the other hand, must either work with the Guardians on an ongoing basis, or give up the ring.

In fact, the Guardians aren’t always distant and out-of-touch, as John Stewart’s introduction in GL vol. 2 #87 demonstrates. Although Hal objects at first, a Guardian orders him to give John a ring and battery, and Hal eventually learns to see past his initial impression. This story comes fairly late in the O’Neil/Adams run, so readers familiar with preivous issues will have seen Hal’s social consciousness expanding, thereby making them somewhat sympathetic to him going into #87. (There’s also the fact that they’d be sympathetic just by reading Green Lantern….) Accordingly, Hal’s acceptance of John isn’t seen in dramatic terms as a punishment or other comeuppance, but as further evidence of Hal’s emerging social awareness.

The problem is that, in the current conception of Hal’s journey, any instance of self-doubt — especially from the “hard-traveling” stories of the early ‘70s through the gray-haired period of the early ‘90s — has been retconned into the chinks in Hal’s emotional armor which allow the Parallax fear-entity to take control. The Hal purged of Parallax, and brought back to action in Green Lantern: Rebirth, is apparently free from self-doubt; but this has made him confident to a fault. It’s not as noticeable as it might be, because Geoff Johns’ plots haven’t given Hal much room for reflection.

By implication, though, it denigrates the various attempts by Johns’ predecessors to give Hal some nuance. The relaunched Green Lantern could get by on stalwart superheroics in DC’s Silver Age of the 1960s. In the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, though, Hal needed something to distinguish himself — not just from other superhero books, but (as time went on) from colleagues John Stewart and Guy Gardner. After O’Neil’s tenure ended in 1980, writers Marv Wolfman and Mike Barr exiled Hal from Earth; Len Wein had him quit the Corps; Steve Englehart brought a squad of Lanterns to Earth; and Gerard Jones planted the seeds for the Guardians’ apparent betrayal. Ultimately, none of it was enough, and Green Lantern jettisoned all of its mythology in favor of the last Guardian choosing Kyle Rayner as a singular Green Lantern. Now Earth’s four Green Lanterns can be described rather simply as the Dreamer (Kyle), the Soldier (John), the Hothead (Guy), and the Leader (Hal).

The Green Lantern movie brings everything full circle, bringing the modern conception of Hal back to his beginning, giving him just enough doubt to be dramatically appropriate (and, perhaps, to lay the groundwork for its own Parallax subplot), and otherwise betting heavily that viewers will like the mythology as much as they (ostensibly) like the hero. Again, this bet isn’t a longshot: I thought the movie mostly did right by Oa, the Corps, and the Guardians. Still, it’s a lot to absorb, especially when the plot also incorporates Hal’s relationships with Carol Ferris, Tom Kalmaku, the extended Jordan family, and even Hector Hammond. I suppose it’s a bit of poetic justice that, like Hal himself, the Green Lantern movie struggles to balance Earthbound concerns with fantastic outer-space adventure. Accordingly, it falters when it fails to ground Hal’s experiences in a recognizable character arc.

See, the thing about Green Lantern is that magic ring + steadfast hero = fairly generic superhero setup. The details can be compelling, but by themselves they don’t add up to a fully-formed story. Instead, the best Green Lantern tales are rooted in a particular ring-slinger’s unique approach, whether it belongs to Hal, Ch’p, Soranik Natu, or Mogo. Imagine that Robert Smigel/Jack Black script re-worked to feature G’Nort in more of a tall-tale setting. More to the point, imagine a movie picking up with Hal in his post-Ferris career, trying to balance terrestrial mundanities like shelter and employment with his GL responsibilities. That may sound like a Spider-Man plot; but again, the difference is that Hal could easily be a full-time Green Lantern, giving up his Earthly life entirely. (John did it in his Mosaic solo series, and both Hal and Kyle have left Earth for extended periods.)

The point is, the comics offer many GL-movie possibilities which can stay faithful to the original stories without alienating new fans. Treating the Guardians, the Corps, and/or the ring’s rituals as incidental to the plot, and not necessarily integral, frees the filmmakers to focus on larger concerns of character and spectacle. The movie’s scenes with the Corps assembled on Oa are a good example of this — plenty of Easter eggs for fans, and an exotic, otherworldy vista for the general public. Maybe an audience skittish around nerd culture shouldn’t realize it’s actually learned something about said culture until it’s too late.

There’s one last difference between Super 8 and the average superhero film that I feel compelled to mention. Usually, when my wife and I leave a movie which is based on a minutiae-heavy, decades-old work, she will have many questions; and I tend to spend a good bit of the drive home on the answers. With Super 8, however, I had the first word: “See, model kits are cool!”

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53 Comments

Let’s face it, audiences don’t care about the “complex” ethics of being a space cop with a magic ring, and they could see that the entire emotional arc of the Reynolds character was totally contrived and fake. The only reason we’re even still talking about GL is that Warners sank so much money in that they can’t admit it was a turkey.

I think the primary thing they could learn is….how to act. Maybe wait a few years and cast some of those Super 8 kids in the next Green Lantern movie. The kid who played Joe Lamb hadn’t acted in a movie before and yet he acted circles around Ryan “Check out my Teeth” Reynolds. And the less said about Blake Deadly the better. Elle Fanning is a 100 times the actress and she’s what….12 or 13?

Stop trying to be some glossy, Transformers-like mega hit and imbue some spirit into the film. It was so devoid of character and charisma and joy, the total antithesis of a comic book.

Green Lantern was good, and fuck anyone who says otherwise. It gets far more shit than it deserves

I agree with David. I thought the movie was done well, my only complaint was I wanted it to be longer…. I do feel that everyone is lambasting it unfairly.

I really enjoyed Green Lantern i had my problems with it sure but they werent major enough to ruin it for me. It seems like hating on this movie is the trendy thing to do this summer.

Gl was slightly above average. I think a bunch of people saw the crap production design and decided it was a good time to act like they’re actually ABOVE comic book movies, quality be damned.

Closer to on topic, I haven’t been following Green Lanter the comic, and, frankly, the premise that monsters = emotions = colors = power is intensely stupid, and may fly in the comics but, really, GL should’ve just been about a bunch of space cops with advanced weaponry powered by will and undermined by fear. That’s grok-able. Other weapons are powered by other emotions (as noted, will is not an emotion) and fear may be powerful but it corrupts and one of the space commissioners done got corrupted. Parallax could just be an alien that feeds on fear; even that is somewhat understandable, but the link between emotions, colors, energy, and space monsters is just too much. Simplify that and get a decent production designer and maybe you’ve got a hit.

Frankly, though, I think this was just backlash. The cast is strong, the story could be worse, the action scenes work, etc. The audience I saw it with (after opening weekend) clearly dug it.

i think that they could have done to a better job adapting the comic because they specifically said that they are using secret origin; GL as a basis where thor and captain america are based on strazynscki and brudaker critically acclaimed runs as a basis and they are allowed more leeway than GL. I would be comparing GL to a Harry potter movie.

President Kang

June 30, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Super 8 actually has something original in the way it’s presented and plot, even if it sticks a bit too closely to Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind in it’s vibe. But that’s ok because it’s a great flick. Thor and X-Men were original and different takes on the superhero movie. Take out the production design and Green Lantern is paint by numbers and bland and features such horribly cheesy over the top performances (basically every single moment Peter Sarssgard is on screen) and a lame eye-rolling script with various cliches (Hal’s terrible Scary Flashback to his Dad Blowing Up was unbearable). And it was just one giant exposition dump after another. It’s. Simply. A. Bad. Movie. That’s it’s big problem.

I didn’t think Super 8 was that good. Besides having 2 problems that plague almost everything Abrams is involved with(decent set up with a weak ending & an uninspired monster design), its only saving grace was Kyle Chandler, Joel Courtney, &, for the most part, Elle Fanning. The fat kid director couldn’t emote his way out of a paper bag and ruined every scene he was in.

Green Lantern, on the other hand, wasn’t perfect, but it was a lot more fun than Super 8, Transformers 3, Thor, or X-Men First Class.

Seriously, Kang? Thor didn’t have a cliched script? (Apart from the fact that Loki’s ultimate motivation wasn’t made clear; that was kind of novel.) I admit, I was blown away by the moment when Thor looks to the stormy skies and cries out in vain rage to his father; that was a really cool shot, and I hope more movies will apply that kind of imagination in the future. Also, the way his redemption (and, really, a story about redemption is really like a fresh breeze–oh wait, GL was kind of about that) was earned was so well laid out and made a lot of sense. (“This hot chick is kinda bitchy but I better start acting polite if I want to hit it–holy crap! All I had to do to get Meow Meow was try to get some play?!”) Also, the Odinsleep was really well thought out, too.

I’m not really taking shots at Thor and I’m not saying GL’s script was without problems, but this is about context and, while we can diasgree (dramatically) about the merits of both casts (GLs was better across the board–I can’t hear you!), I don’t think any of your other points stand when comparing these movies.

I will say, however, that the GL epilogue made about as much sense as Loki’s motivations (he kills ___ why?), but that was the epilogue so I cut them a break and hope Sinestro’s motivations are explained in the next flick.

Oops. My point being that I think GL is suffering from backlash rather than a fair assessment.

President Kang

June 30, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Look, you put the “guy yells at the sky in rage” in any movie, including Green Lantern, it’s hacky, it’s cliched, it’s been done. I get it. But you put it in Thor, where he’s a freakin’ Norse God, they would have a tendency to scream aloud at the heavens. They do stuff like that. Gods do howl at the skies because they’re allowed to. Guys with space jewelry? Not allowed because there’s a real, human person under there. It would be silly. Not so for Gods, because they have big emotions and so forth. Yes, GL didn’t exactly do that in the film but y’know what I mean.

As for Thor’s story of redemption, it had an interesting take on it with the “vain and cruel boy” aspect. A God learns humility by hanging with humans. That’s cool, that’s different. Hal in Green Lantern need redemption because he’s a wimp and he has bad flashbacks about his daddy blowing up. As for Loki vs. Hector Hammond as villains, I simply can’t see how Hector and Sarsgaard’s performance can be considered better. Loki had layers, the performance was silky and scheming and fun to watch. Sarsgaard hunched over a lot like the hunchback of notre dame and slurred his way through his lines. It was just downright awkward.

Yes, you can see the cliches in Thor, it’s silly not to say they aren’t there. But the flick is done with conviction and a different, genuinely fun vibe. Green Lantern? Not even close. It’s lazy, it’s a photocopy, it’s just not very good.

Former DC Reader

July 1, 2011 at 4:05 am

X-Men: First Class is the only worthwhile genre movie this year. The rest is pure crap.

Great post, Tom–I really appreciated your comparisons of the different eras of GL comics. (Haven’t seen the movie yet.)

Seriously… GL WASN’T that bad…

It had flaws. But it was a summer action movie. Comparing to Super8, or apparently Citizen Kane, is foolish and short sighted.

And Hard travelling heroes showed us overly aware Hal DOESN’T work.

VERY sloppy article.

Not sloppy at all…don’t let people’s tangents get you down. Well-written and interesting piece.

Maybe GL is getting so much flack because Hal Jordan was the main character. I don’t see the problems other do, because I really enjoyed the movie. Hal, however, is our grandfather’s Lantern. Kyle would have been better, but John Stewart would have been awesome. I am saying this even though John is probably my least favorite GL, but he was this generations’ GL by being in the JLU cartoon. I personally would have preferred Kyle Rayner – having the weight of the world thrust upon his soldiers after the previous generation messed things up. I believe that would speak to movie goers.

But the movie was good. The problem with it is that it took $200 million to make, spent another $100+million on advertisements and was just a good movie. It should have been a great movie. I’m glad to hear they will be making a second, but I hope they don’t write the script by committee.

PresidentKang

July 1, 2011 at 11:24 am

Just to go back to the Green Lantern vs. Thor cliches of screaming into the sky vs. Hal’s sad daddy flashback, for the sheer, unmitigated hell of it, you have to also look at the specifics of tone and simple placement in the films of these respective scenes. When Thor yells at the sky, it’s pretty deep into the movie. Tone, and the stakes of that moment, have been firmly established by that point in the film. It fits with the vibe. For Hal to suddenly choke out of nowhere after about 10 minutes of fun and wacky airplane flying and quips it’s literally out of nowhere, which is why the moment is so jarring. That speaks to the larger problems with the film, one of a consistent tone and stuff the audience can swallow. you don’t just randomly throw something like that at the audience off the jump, you have to earn it.

green lantern is garbage just like thor and x men first class

What was well written about it? Ignored all the facts to promote some personal agenda.

It attempts to make connections that aren’t there. Doesn’t give many or any facts. It’s just sloppy editorial.

I really expect better than this from CBR.

And again, Hard Travelling Heroes, while great on it’s own, showed a way to treat Hal that ruins him for 30 years.

@Taylor: what facts do you want? Green Lantern was a commercial and a critical failure. It’s sitting at a pretty distasteful 27% on Rotten Tomatoes and while it’s probably going to make it’s budget back worldwide, it’s falling far short of expectations. It was the most expensive and will be the least profitable of the currently released summer superhero movies. Super 8 on the other hand, was a critical and commercial success. It has made a ton of money, and is sitting at 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. All of that is indisputable.

Just got back from seeing Super 8 this evening. Even more cool than the reproduction of Detective Comics #475′s “Laughing Fish” cover, is a copy of the DC Famous First Edition of All-Star #3. That one was a little harder to spot in Joe’s bedroom but once I noticed it, there was no doubt as those editions had a very distinctive font on the front covers.

Daniel, I’m sorry. I forgot correlation DOES equal causation. And there is actually a reason to compare the two movies…

Are you sleeping with writer? What’s with the defensiveness rooted in asinine statements and an inability to comprehend context?

One big this GL could learn was not to be released in 3D when no one can afford it

Green Lantern was rushed into post production and ran out of money, meaning scenes had to be cut, cropped and put together out of order (they even reused the shot of Sinestro raising his hands twice) and much of the space stuff didn’t get the focus it should have done making the film feel too short and confusing.

Maybe thats not all of it, but thats surely what I noticed. Reynolds was actually the best thing about the film, the audience I saw it with at least enjoyed the humour aspect. Believe it or not, I actually semi-enjoyed the film and I do think the reaction was way too harsh looking back.

You know, the Green Lantern that lives in your mind is always going to be better than the one on the screen. (Just like many another character or story that has ever been transferred to film, arguably.)

I can’t bring myself to see Ryan Reynolds as a cocky Hal. That frat boy enthusiasm he showed in the trailer when he shows Tom his uniform is ridiculous to me. I don’t remember Hal as particularly cocky, but the newest retconned version of him seems to have this at the core. I do not understand how or when this happened.

Of course, I stopped seriously reading when DC had Hal flip out and destroy the corps in the 90s. Even Grumpier old man, am I.

Going back through Hal’s history, I kind of liked the late 60′s version of salesman Hal trying to find himself- If the movie were made in 1968, I imagine Roy Thinnes in the lead as that Hal. (That retro-trailer videomaker on YouTube should mash up David Vincent driving around the desert in his sedan and GL green ray effects. Listening?)

I think from reading the reviews and comments about the Green Lantern film that, perhaps, it failed because they gave away too much about Oa and the Corps too quickly. I think a little discovery and a little onion-peeling at the whole mystery of Oa and a lot left for any future sequels would have worked better.

In counterpoint, there is Thor, which also deals with a bifurcated reality, cosmic vs. earthbound.

I did see Thor, and thought it was fairly good entertainment, but could have been loads better. Somehow Thor appears to have by and large evaded the kind of open hostility that Green Lantern was greeted with. I’m not sure why, because there are things to really quibble about. For me, for example, the whole Bifrost observatory/machine was completely and utterly extraneous to me, thrown in to waste valuable screen time on an effects set piece. Also, I’d prefer to see a more considered Thor, not the braggart. (That would undermine the whole thrust of the film, but tough. In the comics, Hercules represented the sort of God-Id just slightly less than out of control, and Thor always seemed level-headed, cool, stoic, and northern.)

I think I’m rambling so I’ll rein it in with just one more thing: I too, would like to see filmmakers shy away from doing things that have been done before: The “yelling at the sky thing” has been parodied enough- don’t these writers get the point as to why Seinfeld did that?

Realitätsprüfung

July 4, 2011 at 1:18 pm

While critics liked Super 8 more, I doubt Warner Bros. would be happy trading box office performance with Abhrams’ film. In its first 18 days Super 8 made $95 million at the box office. In its first 18 days, Green Lantern has made $103 million. Also:

http://www.metacritic.com/movie/super-8/user-reviews
http://www.metacritic.com/movie/green-lantern/user-reviews

On Metacritic, audiences gave Super 8 a score of 7.4. Green Lantern’s score is 6.4. So Super 8 did a **bit** better with audiences…but not much.

So this article? Yeah…no real strong argument that GL could learn anything from Super 8. Except to do slightly better with audiences. Oh, and to make less money at the box office.

Realitätsprüfung

July 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Forsaking the Super 8 comparison, suggesting Green Lantern should be taking notes from the O’Neil/Adams era reveals the author may not grasp Green Lantern as a concept very well.

Which unfortunatley isn’t unique to this article – even most comic writers since the Schwartz/Broome days have been reinventing the concept into something different (and usually lesser) over successive generations. The O’Neil/Adams stories**aren’t** really Green Lantern stories, and their themes (social ills, self-doubt, politics) aren’t anywhere NEAR the core subject matter. Green Lantern is about space cops that must overcome their fear, and utilize their will power to protect life. Basically – will vs. fear.

That’s the base concept with GL/Hal Jordan. Geoff Johns’ GL run has been all about that, utilizing the Hal-SInestro dynamic to express that very basic human conflict / experience. It explains the comics’ success over the past 7 years. To their credit, the movie’s creators tried to do this, but absolutely failed in execution.

So this entire article makes a clumsy comparison to another, less successful film, and then suggests it take its notes from a dated 70s/ hippie era take on the character that reinvented it into something less appealing. While some of these articles are well done, this one was pretty poorly thought out.

@Taylor: What? I don’t understand what my arguments have to do with correlation or causation. I said Green Lantern was a failure and that Super 8 wasn’t. They’re similar in that they’re both genre films. One was a better made, more profitable film than the other. Therefore one could learn a lesson from the other–better made movies often make more money, even when not as much money was spent on them. If you’d like to point out some logical flaw in that argument feel free, if not you’re just misapplying a phrase that you heard in a stats class at some point.

And, really, you’re resorting to an ad hominem attack? I defended the article because I think it’s right–super hero movies could learn a lot from other, better constructed genre films.

And, following up on your line of thinking here, why do feel the need to insult everyone that disagrees with you w/r/t Green Lantern? Are you sleeping with the (many) writers of the film?

Green Lantern’s budget: $200 million (and this doesn’t even include the other $50 million or so spent on advertising)

Green Lantern’s gross (worldwide): $137 million

Super 8′s budget: $50 million.

Super 8′s gross (worldwide): $155 million.

One of these figures is not like the other.

Folks can like Green Lantern as much as they want, but successful it is not.

EmperorCheese

July 4, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Yeah…
They both were weak for different reasons.
But only Super 8 made me nauseated from its content.

WBBombedBigTimewithGL

July 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Aside from the script, the casting is also to blame. Reynolds is so wrong for the role. Even though he’s built and photogenic, he’s too much of a clown-face-doofus to play Hal Jordan. This is what happens when WB steals talents (and I’m using this loosely in this case) from other studios… Singer on Supes Returns much??

Another thing, didn’t WB also consult and asked for Gheff Jhonzz input for this turkey turd? WB should reassess Jonzz’s role in building the DCnU. He’s a hack and his rainbow brite lanterns gotta go!

Brian from Canada

July 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm

I don’t think it’s a valid comparison mostly because of the other comparisons being used. Yes, Super8 has some geeky moments but that’s true of all science fiction; there’s little direct comparison here between the character arc, the crisis to be overcome, etc.

A more valid comparison for Green Lantern is other comic book movies and that’s where the critics have hit harder. First, and most important, they now hold The Dark Knight as the penultimate example, thanks to some overly projected ideas of today’s crumbling society (something that would have worked in any other dark setting). In comparison to that film, none of Green Lantern’s characters really have the gravitas of the Dark Knight.

Second, and also important, they’re also comparing it to Marvel because of Marvel’s string of successes. Thor, also an origin tale full of comic cliches, escapes the wrath of critics because it manages to balance humour, action, adventure and a sense of reality on the same level as Iron Man and Spider-Man, which are successes. Thor also has a tougher source material than other comics and works very well in the overall Marvel scheme.

Green Lantern? Honestly, I felt Superman Returns had more care for the main character here. And that’s the biggest problem of all: WB picked the character, got a film and didn’t bother to consider story value. (The last two times, Burton’s Batman and Constantine, both weren’t as rejected by audiences right away.)

WB now has to evaluate what went wrong. Either it’s going to be a lack of Chris Nolan, or it will be blamed on the script — but either way, someone has to take the blame for that turkey.

Whereas had Super8 failed, it would have been just acknowledged as a mis-step since Abrams is behind next summer’s Star Trek and that’s far more important to film critics to see if the magic is there or not.

We have gotten so used to garbage over the years that films like Thor and Green Lantern can be excused as not being “that bad”, when in fact they are both inferior to a good episode of X-Files or The Wire. Bad movies are like bad comics. If we pay for them they will think we like them and make more.

Also WB should learn from Disney and Pixar. Put an animator in charge like Bruce Timm. He gets their characters really well and WB animation kicks cartoon Marvels ass.

We can cut it up and analyze this until Thanksgiving. GL fans can just stuff it. Down to number 7 after eighteen days and still going down. I’ll be checking out Pirates 4 instead, thank you very much. ;)

I think GL has been getting a bum rap. Was it great? Not by any means. Was it as bad as people are saying? Absolutely not. GL was a good movie that really had a better movie in it. It felt rushed. I think a better premise would have been to focus more on training on Oa with Hector Hammond as a main villan, then morph into Sinestro and Parallax as enemies at the second movie. The one thing about GL is that Hal Jordan, is that he is a boring character, and I dont know if there is anyone who could have brought life into him. Add to it you had to make it an origin story thats relatable to everybody.

I think the second movie will be better than the first.

I liked Green Lantern better than Thor. Super 8 was cute too. It had a Wonder Woman glass with her W breastplate which she didn’t get until 1982. Just sayin..

I really wish people would stop defending Green Lantern. It was made by a committee that was used to working on shows that evolved from Dawson’s Creek with confused performers at best and wooden at worst. The plot was SO thick it didn’t allow for any subtly or actual story telling so that scenes were just strung together without any logical thread…

You know what, if people actually got more out of this movie than me, good for them but I’m really glad this thing bombed enough to body swerve a sequel, because that would actually need the budget this one had to be half way good and there is no way on this green Earth the WB would hand over that much money to something that would cause even more embarrassment.

For everyone that said it was better than Thor… stop it you actually do look silly.

Green Lantern wasn’t great, but it was good. It was a solid popcorn movie and I enjoyed it. Yes, it could have been better. X-Men: First Class was better than GL but GL was better than Thor by a fair stretch.

Green Lantern’s problem is that it’s not a good movie.I’m sorry,but it isn’t. We can make excuses and live in denial but it’s a failure.Period. Hopefully someone at WB accepts this fact and uses it to make their other attempts at Superhero films better.

GL is looking at his shoes like “yes mum”

anyway back to the Movie, even without prior knowledge of GL history many plot points and characters didn’t make sense, SPOILER!! why ask permision to stop an intergallactic threat, why creat a forbidden yellow ring if the gardians were never gonna use it, why is sinestro taking the ring with no indication he was evil, why is hammond and hal suddenly enemies when we only know they know each other till the end and why fuse 4 enemies into 1 destroying any posible sequel character and why on gods geen earth has amanda waller have that REDICULOUS hair (and not fat as we’ve come to respect). this is a bad movie because it insults the audience and comic book fans by not easily adapting an otherwise epic story… Plus Ryan Reynolds looks like a floating head half the time.
the Dialogue wasn’t all that either. And why is it the aliens get very little screen time. wow so many problems

Plus Thor may have been dumbed down but it had a less confusing solid plot and more engaging characters nicely woven into Avengers continuity green lantern failed miserably, i hope (though i don’t want one) the sequel makes up for all it’s flaws. and by the way for those out their that think a movie you can switch your brian off and enjoy is good. NO, it’s still bad in the same sense you can enjoy Junk food but it’s still a waste every now and again it’s passable but accepting it over and over agian is disgusting and though X-men first class was better the fact they killed the black guy who isn’t even supposed to beable to die first (first i recall anyway) means the movie loses all crediblity and diversity (angel doesn’t count)

@President Kang: I thought guy who played Loki was great, but the script literally left me wondering what his motivation was (To kill __! No–to kill ___! No, to be loved! But he’s trying to kill the people he wants to love him! And Odin can see what he’s doing when he’s asleep–and sometimes he opens his eyes when he’s asleep! And …) I’m saying the script was no great shakes and the supporting cast was worse than in GL; I agree Thor leads are EXCELLENT; I tried to make that clear in the earlier post.

You’re playing favorites: You slam GL for being cliched (I didn’t think it was particularly; and why do you need to foreshadow Hal’s freezing up?) but it’s OK if Thor’s cliched? Thor can scream at the sky because he’s a god and that’s what they do? Really? I figured the Thor movie would follow the tenets of good drama, rather than worry about factually/accurately portraying gods but whatevs. Frankly, I prefer the movie with the more relatable theme (I need to learn to stop fearing my own potential for failure) than the one about the spoiled rich kid (again, I really dug the dude who played Thor; not a slam on him, just saying the premise is less relatable for me). Again, there’s room for disagreement on preferences but I don’t think your arguments that Thor is MUCH better holds any water.

@Lead Sharp: That’s so funny! *I* wish people would stop claiming GL is worse than it is! Also, thanks for the warning about looking silly: I’m posting on a comic book forum so, clearly, appearances are a concern.

My problem with GL was the lack of a coherent emotional arc, especially that of the main character. Maybe I missed it, but it seemed like when he was grunting out the oath during the battle with Paralax sort of came out of nowhere. It would have made more sense if it was somehow more attached to his emotional maturity in filling the role.

I thought Ryan Reynolds was good enough as GL but he didn’t fit the script they wrote for him. If he was a much younger teen like the X-Men cast I think I would have bought into it more.

X-Men was great, Thor was great, GL not so much. When watching both GL and Superman Returns I was thinking, what were they thinking?!

Daniel Lawrence

July 5, 2011 at 6:41 am

Super 8 comparisons aside. All of this back and forth is ridiculous. According to an article by the Hollywood Reporter Green Lantern actually cost closer to 500 million. 200+ for the film, 100 mil for US advertising and 75 million for overseas advertising. Currently it sits at 137 million. We have at least 2 more blockbusters coming up and the behemoth of Harry Potter 7 Part 2 looming. Green Lantern will probably top out at 200 million. The movie failed because of choppy and incoherent storyline, bad/subpar acting, cheesy looking special effects, and a lame villain. I’m still confused how Parallax can possess Hal Jordan and still be a man and possess the Flash and still be a man but in the movie his is a black and yellow runny turd. I don’t care how well the CGI is, that’s not going to translate well on screen. Fantastic Four 2 discovered that too when they cast Galactus as a cloud. Warner Bros should have taken notes. Look in the end all of the quips and comparisons mean nothing. In the end the character did not resonate with the audiences. Very few people went to see it again and very few people were able to convince their friends to go after they saw it and other just didn’t recommend it at all. GL is an A list character in the DC universe but is virtually unknown in the rest of the world especially overseas. This is failure of marketing period. DC should have put of the cartoon 1st to familiarize and introduce the world to Green Lantern but they didn’t. Now that the GL Animated series in coming out, when they finally do a Green Lantern 2 or reboot it, people will fully know who the character is and they will support it at the box office.

Green Lantern got it all wrong, but Super 8 did too.

Well I enjoyed GL. Ok, not a perfect movie – Blake Lively isn’t the world’s greatest actress and her looks don’t make up for it. But I thought Ryan Reynolds was likable and charismatic; I thought the CGI was pretty good for the most part. Bring on GL2!

Realitätsprüfung

July 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Lead Sharp, ComicFan1129, et al –

I didn’t think it was a very good movie either. But get this – some people actually did. Shocking that others in the world will disagree with us, I know.

But we’re adults, and can recognize diverging opinions are OKAY. So if some people liked the film…more power to them. It’d be classier for us to NOT shout down to them for daring to disagree with us.

I felt like the GL film looked the part, but the story was missing a lot. For instance:

-The villain was a cloud.
-Even though this cloud can beat a squad of GL’s and eats worlds a couple missles make it run away?
The Corps gets beaten by said cloud but Hal beats it in like 8 seconds with no explanation or nothing leading up to this grand moment. Nothing showing that “he gets it” (Saying “I’m only human” doesn’t cut it)
-Parallax’s prison is one of the worst ever (Literally under a rock).
-Zero time spent on the Hal/Sinestro relationship. That’s the core of GL. Could have been a really cool dynamic, with the whole missing father figure bit.
-The Hector Hammond arc was just weird. (But I did like Sarsgaard’s performance)
-Nothing in the movie had any weight. Ex: Abin Sur dying and passing on the ring had little or no oomph to it. It kind of happens and then Ryan Reynolds goes dancing.
-Absolutely NO REASON to show Sinestro putting on the Fear ring. That shouldn’t even have been in there.
-In short the movie suffered from no concrete relationships and a lack of a definable villain whose actions had no weight to them

I could go on, but there’s no point. The movie missed some opportunities. Hopefully they get a second chance.

There was nothing wrong with Green Lantern, and assholes like you with your BS opinions/comparisons just cost the franchise a sequel. Why the hell did the majority of fans love it and the majority of critics not? It has nothing to do with characterization, plot, sub-plot, pace OR special effects. It was a fun sci-fi flick and once everyone sees it when they eventually will on DVD, they’ll be saying the same thing about your ‘critiques’. Why are you even writing this article? Haven’t you heard an almost unanimous thumbs up from the fans? So why not write about the huge disparity between the fans experience vs the critics. THAT would be interesting.

Critics didn’t bash it, they mostly gave it 2-2.5 stars, not a bomb, but the way rotten tomatoes adds up their score, did not work. For example, Ebert liked it, even better than Thor, but since he did not give it 3 stars, it got a rotten rating. IMDB gave it 6.5/10. That’s NOT a bad movie. AT ALL.

I have been reading Green Lantern since about 1973. I have seen all of the different takes over the years.
At the end of the day, Green Lantern in terms of film should be looked at more like a cross between Star Wars and the Last Starfighter.
Star Wars because of the ability to tell epic cosmic stories with tons of aliens and space battles, but you can also have earthbound stories with an everyman character. The Corps is basically like the Jedi. This film is perfect for taking kids toas I discovered from my 7 year old nephew who loved the hell out of it. He and the general audiance is the target for this one.
The one that will be for us, the fans, will be the next one or even the one after that. We have to many expectations that simply cannot all be met.

The Movie itself was flawed more I think from poor editing and heavy exposition than anything else. It worked overall, and it did a good job of doling out all of the various lore needed to prop up the film. It will make it easier to move foreward quickly in a second film, as long as they pick their focus and stick with it. But it was Green Lantern. The effects were right, the action scenes overall were solid if a bit light.
Reynolds was fine as Hal who originally was a womanising, far from serious ass with Daddy Issues, but a can do and not give up attitude. Reynolds delivered that.

Regarding the article, the writer needs to first realize that this is an origin film, and his wonderful trip through the history of Green Lantern and Hal, has ZERO bearing here. He is not any of those other versions of the character yet.
He is at the purist raw form suitable for hollywood’s favorite superhero film, The Origin Film.

The commonality of their situations proves it. Just look at the majority of the recent bought of Superhero films minus X-Men.
They all have daddy issues and some emotional hurdle that they need to overcome in order to fullfill whatever role the story/film requires of them.
Hell Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 had Peter dealing with father figure issus, since Doc Ock in the second was a sort of Father figure to him.

Regarding Super 8, the film works for a number of reasons, the main ones being that Abrams gave nothing away and built more hype for his film through mystery, and then it had a perfectly nostalgic feel to it for many of the target audiance. The monster design was very well done, I like how abrams stays away from giving us easily recognisable monsters. He always makes them very inhuman which is a plus.
Very Enjoyable.

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