Back in 2011, DC and Warner Bros. attempted to jumpstart a new DC cinematic universe not with an A-list superhero like Batman or Superman but with the emerald crusader, Green Lantern. Unfortunately, that would-be planted seed did not sprout, due to Green Lantern's fialure at the box office; it was mercilessly bashed by critics, only receiving a 26 percent fresh rating of Rotten Tomatoes.
While the movie definitely had its fair share of problems, it did many things very well — so I do not think it deserves its reputation as one of the worst movies ever made. With the DCEU bringing back the Green Lanterns with 2020's Green Lantern Corps, I think it's time we take a look back at this movie and see what a new iteration can learn from it, both positive and negative.
1. Make Great Use Of Colors
A common complaint with the DCEU is the use of very bleak colors: dark blues, grays and blacks. While I don't mind that for the most part, I will say that when you're dealing with characters who are all about light — such as the Green Lanterns — a dark filter for the movie wouldn't work.
One thing you definitely couldn't complain about with the 2011 film was its color palette; the movie was very bright and vibrant from beginning to end, from the green energy of will to the aliens like Abin Sur and Sinestro.
2. Keep The Runtime Down
Green Lantern wasn't a three-hour-long spectacle like Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, nor was it a 90-minute disposable action flick. It had a perfect runtime, coming in at two hours and three minutes; it never feels too slow or too fast.
Judging by the description, Green Lantern Corps is taking a "buddy-cop movie in space" route, so I'd say a couple hours is the same type of runtime it should go for.
3. Find An Amazing Cast
By far the best thing about the first Green Lantern movie was its cast, which was stacked with talent: Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond, Blake Lively as Carol Ferris, Geoffrey Rush as Tomar-Re, Michael Clarke Duncan as Kilowog, and the scene-stealing Mark Strong, who was straight up perfect as Sinestro, both in look and performance.
While some of the cast was severely underused, like Geoffrey Rush, most looked perfect for their parts and certainly tried their hardest to work with the material they had. Ryan Reynolds was a great fit for Hal, but I think we can all agree that he was born for Deadpool.
Perhaps Warner Bros. and DC Films can still bring back Mark Strong to reprise the role of Sinestro, because he was by far the best thing about the first film. However, I won't deny that the rumored casting of Luke Evans as Sinestro does have me pretty psyched.
4. Give Us Cool Power Ring Constructs
Another important element that the first Green Lantern movie nailed were the constructs made from the Power Ring. They looked like the constructs straight out of the comics, like the brick wall and the giant fist. While the CGI for the movie was flawed (we'll get to that later), they definitely saved the best for the constructs.
5. Remember The Humor
With Ryan Reynolds involved, you know a movie is going to provide a few laughs — and while not every joke landed, there were quite a few from Hal Jordan that had me genuinely laughing. Best example is the scene where Carol Ferris immediately sees through the mask and the deep voice (clearly a friendly jab at Christian Bale's Batman).
Again, with the description of Green Lantern Corps being inspired by movies like Rush Hour and Lethal Weapon, you need to have a good mixture of action and comedy. When you have polar opposite characters like Hal Jordan and John Stewart, there is going to be plenty of potential for their banter.
Now that we've gotten the best things about the first Green Lantern out of the way, let's take a look at the bad...
The Do Not's
1. Don't Cut The Important Stuff In Editing
With the Batman V. Superman and Suicide Squad fiascos last year, it seems Warner Bros. didn't learn from its mistake with Green Lantern: editing with awkward flow and weak character development.
For example, we only saw a quick 10-second flashback to Hal Jordan's childhood, so we didn't get a proper explanation as to why Hal was so afraid. We also got a very bizarre scene where, out of nowhere, it turns out that Hal and Hector knew each other in the past — but it's brushed off so quickly that audiences just shrugged.
The theatrical version starts with Parallax escaping, and then it cuts to when Hal is an adult, whereas the extended cut (a much superior version) gives us a 10-minute prologue where we see Hal as a child interacting with his father; we actually see his friendship with Hector and we are given a much better look into why Hal is afraid later on.
The extended cut also gives us an extended scene between Hal and his nephew (instead of the 20-second useless scene in the theatrical version), a really great interaction between the two. If the prologue and this scene were included in the theatrical version of the film, the movie might have been spared some criticism. The lesson here is that DC should only cut footage that is filler and not needed.
2. Don't Skimp On The CGI Budget
I have no problem with a movie using a character mostly comprised of CGI, but you just have to make sure that the CGI looks like the real deal. There are scenes in Green Lantern when the CGI looks great, such as the training scene where Hal and Sinestro fight. And, as we discussed before, the constructs look great.
But then there are times where it looks like Ryan Reynolds' head was quickly plastered onto a cartoon body. It's a shame, because the practical makeup for characters like Sinestro, Abin Sur and Hector Hammond look amazing.
However, if there is one thing the DCEU has excelled at compared to Fox and Marvel, it's their CGI in movies like Man of Steel, Batman V. Superman and even the trailer for Wonder Woman, which looks shockingly good.
So hopefully Green Lantern Corps continues this streak, because we don't need Deadpool to make fun of another Green Lantern movie!
3. Don't Shoehorn Every Villain Into One Movie
While Peter Sarsgaard delivered a standout performance as Hector Hammond, it was unfortunate that the movie became bogged down; it had to balance both Hector and the evil Parallax (whose look doesn't bother me as much as others, but I still think they could have done better) in the same movie. Most people agreed that if the movie stuck to just Hector Hammond and A.R.G.U.S., it would have been much better — and it would have established Amanda Waller (played by Angela Bassett) in this DC Universe.
The movie even did a great job of setting up Sinestro as the villain for a sequel in a post-credits scene — but it was all just too much.
Because the movie tried to use both Parallax and Hector Hammond, the villains become a disappointment, coming and going so quickly before being killed off — though I won't deny that the climax with Hal battling Parallax diD get me to grin, so it wasn't all bad.
With Green Lantern Corps, we'd love to see Sinestro, Atrocitus, Hector Hammond or even Parallax — emphasis on the "or," which is not "and." Whenever movies shoehorn second or third villains into the story, 90 percent of the time it doesn't work.
Green Lantern Corps has so much potential due to its rich lore and characters perfectly ripe for a big budget blockbuster, so hopefully it avoids the bad elements from the Ryan Reynolds film, but also recalls the good ones that don't get enough credit.
Are you excited to chant the Green Lantern Oath when Green Lantern Corps comes, or do you expect to rage like a Red Lantern? Let us know your thoughts down below!