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.



  1. No he’s comparing Green Lantern to Iron Man 2, Thor 2 and Captain America 1. I thought Thor 2 was decent enough though; somewhat inconsequential but well made and with a few fun scenes.

    Green Lantern is the nadir, as far as I’m concerned. There were even moments where the editing and lighting were fucked up, it was a disaster. It was like they were trying to cram in a trilogy worth of material into a two hour running time.

    I can’t believe Warner Bros made another superhero film with a male lead after that disaster…

  2. Actually, I’m talking about general critical consensus regarding Green Lantern, Iron Man 2, Thor 2, and Kick Ass 2. Less so my opinion, which is that on the whole, they’re all pretty bad films. Though Thor 2 may be the least awful of the four, as I feel at least less actively embarrassed when watching it.

  3. Can Green Lantern really be considered “brighter” superheroics? It’s dour and dark as hell, and Reynolds has none of his usual charm. I can only remember him being pettily angry or sobbing.

    Point being, as much as I hate this movie, I can’t blame it for pushing Warner bros towards a dark DCU in general. I blame the would-be-clever fans who ate up those damn often-horrible Nolan Batman movies.

  4. I actually thought Green Lantern wasn’t bad. It’s certainly Warner Brothers applying the Marvel formula into their superhero. I’m glad the author of the post mentioned those marvel movies along with Green Lantern since Green Lantern always gets a bad rap. Thor 2 was highly produced, but really lackluster and towards the end and very forgettable. Iron Man 2 was AMAZINGLY horrible, but those 3 marvel movies mentioned made good money anyway because they were riding hard off of the Marvel brand.

  5. I also didn’t think Green Lantern was as horrible or embarrassing as people make it out to be. It suffered from being what was the third comic book of the summer, with the one immediately preceding it relaunching the X-Men brand, and the too many cooks in the kitchen mentality (which interestingly is working well for them in TV as two of the writers for Green Lantern are ep’s on Arrow) and possibly most damaging a director who seemingly had no connection to the character and source material and was hired based more on the success of his Bond films and less on any real connection with the character.

    I think at the very least on these movies, you have to have a director who is passionate with the source material or it becomes a non-starter fairly quickly and you’re going to be in for a box office disappointment.

  6. Also, not being a fan of the Thor movie at all (it took me three viewings to get through it as I fell asleep on my first two attempts) I think it would have been really interesting to see what would have happened that summer if Green Lantern had come out in May and Thor had come out in June. I’m not saying it wouldn’t have had the same results, but I’m not so sure it would have.

  7. Ultimately, the only “review” in Hollywood that matters is cash money:

    Iron Man 2: $623 million worldwide (budget of $200 million)
    Thor 2: $479 million worldwide (budget of $170 million)
    Kick-Ass 2: $63 million worldwide (budget of $28 million)
    Green Lantern: $219 million worldwide (budget of $200 million)

    You can certainly group those movies together in terms of quality, but in terms of revenue, they destroy Green Lantern.

  8. I actually liked Green Lantern a lot more than most people:

    But then I never liked Green Lantern in the comics. Aside from the lack of actual conflict the biggest problem with this movie was the journeyman director Martin Campbell, who had no connection to the material — the choice of him to helm the movie shows how disconnected WB was with the whole project.

    Plus do not make you main villain a cloud. it never works.

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