Batman vs. Superman feels like Shakespeare next to GREEN LANTERN… which only means that The Story Geeks need to Make It Better!
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Even MORE ways to make GREEN LANTERN better!
This week on the Patreon-exclusive Aftercast… Scott Niswander hangs out for even longer to come up with MORE ways to make GREEN LANTERN better. Did anybody recast the role and remove Ryan Reynolds? Listen to find out!
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The Story Geeks’ blogger Ashley Pauls responds with her own take on the questions discussed in the podcast.
A lot of great superhero movies were released in the summer of 2011. Unfortunately, “Green Lantern” wasn’t one of them.
“Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” introduced two exciting new heroes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “First Class” took the X-Men franchise back in time with a stylish, 1960s-set prequel. And then we also had…“Green Lantern.” Which wasn’t particularly “exciting” or “stylish.”
Before I saw “Green Lantern,” I thought the movie sounded like a great idea. Ryan Reynolds’ star was on the rise in Hollywood, and I loved the concept of a superhero movie set (at least partially) in space. Plus, the film was directed by Martin Campbell, who also directed one of my all-time favorite movies, Daniel Craig’s Bond film “Casino Royale.”
Sadly, all those great ingredients did not result in a stellar final product. Which is a shame, because I still really like the concept and would be on board for a different Green Lantern movie. Although I think it would probably be better to just start over from scratch, here are three suggestions I have to make the existing “Green Lantern” movie better.
1. Spend more time in space.
We’ve seen plenty of superhero movies set on Earth, so watching superheroes in an intergalactic setting feels like an exciting novelty (re: Guardians of the Galaxy series, “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Infinity War,” etc.). I feel like “Green Lantern” was a missed opportunity to really show off the cosmic side of the DC Universe. I would have loved to see this movie go full “space opera,” with only minimal scenes on Earth. (This would probably change the existing plot of the movie quite a bit, but I’m okay with that too.) 😉 There are so many cool alien characters that are really little more than cameos; their roles could have easily been expanded if the film had been set primarily in space. As it is, when you compare “Green Lantern” to its summer 2011 peers, it feels rather “meh.”
2. Scrap the villain.
In the past, fans have commented on some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s slightly lackluster villains. The MCU gets away with it most times, because their heroes are so darn engaging and fantastic. 😉 And their recent run of villains — Ego, Vulture, Hela, Killmonger, and Thanos — have been great.
However, even Malekith the Dark Elf, whom I think is the worst MCU villain, is still better than the “villain” in “Green Lantern.” I’m putting villain in quotes here because the adversary in “Green Lantern” — Parallax — is basically just a giant, weird space cloud. Let’s just say he’s definitely no Lex Luthor or Joker.
Now, having a force of nature as the antagonist in a film can be a scary and effective storytelling technique, if done right. For example, there’s no real villain in “The Martian”; the “antagonist” is Mars itself, a hostile environment that the hero, Mark Watney, has to find a way to survive in. But the nebulous antagonist concept doesn’t work in “Green Lantern,” and it makes the film’s other problems seem even worse. There’s another villain, Dr. Hector Hammond, who sort of dissolves into Parallax, but he’s not much better.
There’s a much more compelling character in the film — Sinestro (played by the always-excellent Mark Strong) — who could fulfill the villain role. The very end of the film hints at him taking a dark path; this should have been explored fully in the movie. Both Sinestro and Mark Strong are awesome, and that performance would have been a lot more fun to watch than the not-so-dynamic duo of Parallax and Dr. Hammond.
3. Use more of Carol Ferris’s background from the comics.
The relationship between Hal Jordan a.k.a. “The Green Lantern” and his love interest Carol Ferris didn’t fully work for me in the film. I feel like Ferris became more of a stereotypical “superhero girlfriend” — relegated to waiting on the sidelines or having to be rescued. I was reading a little about Carol Ferris’ background in the original comics, and there’s so much more they could have done with her character. I would have loved to see her get to be a part of the action more, à la Agent Peggy Carter in “Captain America: The First Avenger.”