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Green Lantern: A Retrospective

Green Lantern: A Retrospective published on

I hadn’t seen Green Lantern (Campbell) since it was released in 2011 and I can’t say it left a great impression on me at the time. I found the overall story flat and uninspiring with the characters a little bland and not particularly deep or likeable and as origin stories go it was by the numbers. In fact the whole thing had been done much better in 2009 with the animated feature Green Lantern: First Flight (Montgomery), this wasn’t the first time that DC had put out a superior animated feature covering similar territory. In 1997 they released the widely derided Batman & Robin (Schumacher), followed by the animated feature Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (Kirkland) which covered similar ground and had been held back by Warner Bros. for fear it would over shadow their live action dud.

For all intents and purposes this should have been the beginning of a live action DC universe, Marvel already had the drop on DC by 3 years with Iron Man (Favreau, 2008) and Man Of Steel (Snyder, 2013) was still 2 years away. Given its science fiction leanings, with a healthy dose of cop thrown into the mix this should have been the perfect starting point for the more ‘God’ like elements of the DC universe and should have put an end to Warner Bros. reliance upon Batman and Superman titles that have been their cash cow since 1978.

I’m not sure what prompted me to re-watch Green Lantern 6 years later, or buy it for that matter, however 25p for the Blu-Ray Extended Cut on Amazon, courtesy of Music Magpie, certainly helped sweeten the pot. So with some trepidation I sat down to watch a film that memory convinced me was nothing short of terrible, one of the worst comic book movies to ever grace our screens, right down there with Catwoman (Pitof, 2004) and Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance (Nevaldine, Taylor, 2011).

Was it as bad as I remembered? Well no, but it wasn’t great either. The Extended Cut runs a little over 10 minutes longer than the cinema release and doesn’t add a great deal to the plot, unlike ‘classic’ Directors or Extended Cuts like Aliens (Cameron, 1986) or The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (Jackson, 2001, 2002, 2003). The additional 10 minutes don’t alter the film in any significant or noticeable way there are no revelations in the additional footage that change relationships or plot points the film gets to its destination in much the same shape, it just takes 10 more minutes to arrive.

6 years on I still think Ryan Reynolds is woefully miscast, and was apparently cast against director Martin Campbell’s wishes as he had wanted Bradley Cooper for the part. I don’t think either would/are suitable choices both actors are largely inter-changable but I find Reynolds is just far too cocky and carefree to be believable as Hal Jordan. I’ve always thought of Jordan as a straight arrow albeit one who would bend the rules rather than flat out ignore them as he does with Reynolds interpretation.

Reynolds isn’t the only one miscast, Blake Lively, as Carol Ferris, just seems woefully out of place. Whilst she isn’t reduced to eye candy I just don’t buy Lively as a test pilot, in much the same way that I still don’t see Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist in The World Is Not Enough (Apted, 1999). The part is underwritten and apart from one line of improvised dialogue “I’ve seen you naked! You think I wouldn’t recognise you because you covered your cheekbones!” the role is uneventful.

Peter Sarsgaard fairs a little better as Hector Hammond, getting to chew some serious scenery but the uneven pacing, more of that shortly, means that his arc whips by at breakneck speed and is over before you know it.

The remainder of the cast is filled out with a decent and dependable cast, but they have very little screen time and provide little more than lip service to their comic book originators.

Only Reynolds head is real!

As for the plot, pacing and editing. It is a little hit and miss from the beginning. This is very much a by the book origin story and feels like a collection of scenes in desperate need of a plot, it bounces back and forth between earth and space and Parallax. For the sake of the plot Jordan learns to use his ring and powers with surprising ease and the training montage flies by in less than a couple of minutes as does Jordans’ doubt in his abilities before a final act turn around. As for the final act it is a little underwhelming, Parallax isn’t written as the massive threat he/it should be and follows the trend of evil clouds previously seen in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (Story, 2007).

I think that happens to have been my biggest issue with the film watching it again, whilst it gloriously embraces the science fiction elements of the source material there is too much of the film that is CGI, from the Green Lantern costumes to 95% of the Lanterns. Almost every scene features some digital tinkering making The Phantom Menace (Lucas, 1999) look positively restrained in comparison. The CG just makes everything look weightless and this film was there at the beginning for global disasters lacking the gravitas they should have. 

I think the character could have greatly benefited from a sequel, especially with the mid-credit sequence that suggests Mark Strong’s Sinestro would be the villain. Looking at Box Office Mojo I’m not surprised the film didn’t get a sequel as it appears to have cost in the region of $200 million, and only just broke even with a worldwide gross of just under $220 million. Even with the studio desperately trying to tag the film to the latest 3D craze that only just seems to be dying on its arse, it doesn’t appear to have helped the box office in any way.

The Green Lantern looks to be getting another go at the box office in 2020 with Green Lantern Corps. so like Ang Lees Hulk (2003) this appears to be the forgotten step child that DC doesn’t talk about. Had there been a better more well rounded script who knows we may have had a sequel by now and have even been talking up an appearance in Justice League (Snyder, 2017). As it is we’ll simply continue to chalk this up to one of the many comic book misfires and at the time of writing this is the 837 most (un)popular film on IMDB.

DCEU: A Franchise In Crisis

DCEU: A Franchise In Crisis published on

How the hell is the DCEU in crisis after only three films?

Some seem to think that Zack Snyder is to blame, he has after all directed Man Of Steel and Batman Vs Superman and is the Executive Producer on Suicide Squad. Sadly he is also credited as ‘Story By’ on the upcoming Wonder Woman, a film that apparently is in crisis according to one ‘supposed’ former Warner Bros. employee. Along with numerous sites reporting upon the apparent behind the scenes issues at Warner Bros. here’s one and here’s anotherThere are also a number of reports that Suicide Squad had various competing edits that left fans with, personally the best DCEU so far, a mess of a film.

Suicide Squad PosterSo what the hell is going on, DC/Warner Bros. are working with some of the most recognisable characters in comic books but somehow don’t seem to be able to craft a film that isn’t full of plot holes, questionable dialogue or crappy editing.

Wonder Woman has a lot riding on it, yes we’ve had the surprising release of the Justice League trailer which presented us with some surprisingly light and funny dialogue. But Wonder Woman is the first superhero feature film to have a woman in the lead since Elektra in 2005 and we all know how well that one was received.

Sooner or later a comic book film is going to tank really big at the Box Office, like Fantastic Four big and it’s going to kill the current goodwill that comic book movies have with the wider cinema going audience. I’ve written previously about the tipping point regarding comic book related properties, here, and with DC’s recent announcement that the possible Booster Gold film wont be part of the DCEU it seems pretty clear that should Wonder Woman and Justice League not fair so well at the box office Warner Bros./DC’s slate of announced titles could get a lot smaller unlike Marvel’s which seems to add a new title every couple of months.

Suicide Squad: A review in two parts

Suicide Squad: A review in two parts published on
Suicide Squad Group Wallpaper
The cinema Squad. (L-R) Slipknot, Captain Boomerang, Enchantress, Rick Flag, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc, El Diablo. (Front) Katana

Part 1: Before

Is this do or die, make or break for the DCEU (DC Extended Universe), so far the films have failed to impress. Man Of Steel was a disappointing mess of ideas, Batman Vs Superman well here are my thoughts. The Squad has a lot riding on it especially after DC/Warner Bros. pulled the plug upon The Arrowverses fledgling Squad.

The TV Squad. Bronze Tiger, Shrapnel, The Wall, Deadshot (L-R)

This fledgling Squad had hinted at Harley Quinn, Arrow has also featured versions of Katana and Captain Boomerang, though not as part of the Squad, and Deadshot as well as Amanda Waller and also included Bronze Tiger and Shrapnel in the team.

Clearly DC/Warner Bros. think they have a dynamite script on their hands to effectively tell The Arrowverse to pull the plug upon these recurring characters but the signs have not been great so far. There has definitely been a feeling that the cast have had fun whilst making the film, tattooing each other, with SKWAD and other behind the scenes antics including Jared Leto staying in character as The Joker, sending ‘gifts’ to his cast mates including live rats to Margot Robbie, but now reports have started to surface that there are/were two competing edits. And at the time of writing the film has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 29% and imdb has it at 7.7 out of 10, based on 16543 reviews/opinions even though the film hasn’t been released worldwide yet.

As always I’ll go in with an open mind but the trailers that were released during the films promotion were uneven in tone making it unclear what sort of film we will be getting and I draw particular issue with the sexualisation of Harley Quinn during one trailer where it appears an entire airforce base stands around and watches her get dressed.
Suicide Squad PosterPart 2: After

The film you get is far from the one that the trailers lead you to believe you are going to get, The Jokers prominence in the advertising leads you to believe that he is the main antagonist, sadly he’s a secondary character at best. Leto is fine in the role but it’s nothing special personally and the behind the scenes antics must have seriously got on the tits of everyone involved given the 20ish minutes of screen time The Joker has.

I found the tone of the film to be very uneven, obviously given either the character or the actors prominence then it wasn’t exactly a no brainer that Deadshot and Harley were going to be the most significant members of the group. They command the majority of the screen time for the group but everyone gets a moment or line that allows them to shine. Except Slipknot, which is a shame as I really like Adam Beach, he was great in Smoke Signals and Flags of Our Fathers.

But that is the issue with the advertising, no clear indication of what the film is really about which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this day and age where trailers give away the majority of the plot and usually a big twist or reveal. As I’ve said the trailers lead you to believe that the film is about one thing but then it’s about something completely different and we are used to scenes featuring in trailers that don’t make the final cut but in the case of the SKWAD the majority of the trailers fail to make the film or are edited to within an inch of their lives.

The soundtrack is littered with rap, pop and classic rock tunes that play over huge chunks of the film, pretty much every character has song that plays over their introduction and becomes incessantly more annoying as the film progresses. As does the constant slow motion, I’m pretty certain that modern blockbusters would be about 10-15 minutes shorter if scenes played at their regular speed.

It’s not all doom and gloom, it’s just that the film is so ‘meh’, so much wasted promise. It’s loud and brash and has moments of pure joy, Will Smith is clearly having a blast playing a badass and I love the ‘gangster’ feel to Killer Croc from Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje along with Diablo’s barrio street thug turn from Jay Hernandez but for the love of god will someone please tell me why studios keep putting Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang) in stuff.

The flashback/forward within a dream sequence!

In the run up to the film it was also unclear where this film would fit in with Man of Steel and Batman V Superman, for anyone wondering, it is post BvS with a few flashbacks thrown in. The Batman scenes personally just add confusion to how long Batman has been active or inactive for his appearance in BvS to be such a surprise to Clark Kent, especially in light of director David Ayer stating that each member of the SKWAD has a personal vendetta against The Bat, only two of the villains are seen interacting with Batman and one is apprehended by The Flash (Ezra Millar). I hope that boy gets a solo feature as he’s been in as many films as Batfleck at this point.

Another aspect that I really liked was the Dirty Dozen/Magnificent Seven not everyone survives to the end, though in this case their are obvious exceptions to this. Some we know going in are obviously going to survive through star power alone, whilst others are apparently going to be getting their own solo feature and others you think are going to survive don’t.

In Conclusion

DC/Warner Bros. have got to pull their act together, Marvel are leaving them for dust. Whilst the MCU isn’t exactly perfect and doesn’t always flow fluidly it still holds together after a decade whereas the DCEU is a car crash of forced continuity and ideas after only three films. Whilst Suicide Squad didn’t suck it didn’t live up to the hype, that same hype that supposedly had studio executives giving BvS a standing ovation and signing Affleck on for a multi-picture deal with a shit load of creative control going forward. But for the love of god someone please show Zack Snyder the door or maybe Harley’s oversized mallet now that Harley Quinn Smith has her baseball bat.

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