Green Lantern has been considered the low-bar for the recent wave of superhero cinema since its release in 2011, and while it has plenty of company in Iron Man 2, Thor: The Dark World, Kick Ass 2 etc…this beleaguered adaptation of Hal Jordan’s origin has haunted its star, Ryan Reynolds, for over four years.
In 2016, Reynolds will return to the comic-based spotlight with this X-Men spinoff Deadpool, and while promoting his upcoming comedy-thriller The Voices with Yahoo! Movies, he compared the two experiences:
When we shot Green Lantern, nobody auditioning for the role of Green Lantern was given the opportunity to read the script, because the script didn’t exist. I’m not complaining about it — it was an opportunity of a lifetime, and if I were to go back and retrace my steps, I would probably do everything the exact same way. But script, that’s what’s different on this one…we’ve had a script for three years. The script got leaked, and people even loved that. That says a lot — if you can create a script around a comic-book character that is directly within the canon of the character and be embraced. That’s a huge step in the right direction. I’ve since learned that a lot of superhero movies don’t really have a fully functioning draft of the screenplay ready until they’re already well into shooting.
The failure of Green Lantern had a pretty clear ricochet effect on how Warner Bros handles their DC properties. It was an attempt at brighter super-heroics of the Marvel variety, but without any of the sharp humor, storytelling momentum and populist appeal that Marvel was able to solidify, post-Iron Man, that same year with Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.
It’s fairly apparent that Green Lantern‘s critical and commercial flop is what pushed the studio into aping the grittier feel of The Dark Knight for Man of Steel. At the time, it seemed clear that the studio saw the situation as “you either do Iron Man or you do Batman”, based on box office draw. Given the massive success of The Avengers and every Marvel film that’s followed, I can’t help but wonder if WB’s position has evolved at all for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.