Green Lantern (2011), a recap (part 1 of 9)

Welcome to another patron-only recap! The full article is available to those who pledge at least $1/month on the Agony Booth’s Patreon page. New installments will be posted at least once a week, and will be written by me in the same style as the movie recaps I wrote when I started this website way back when.

The list of cancelled and aborted live-action movie adaptations of DC superheroes is a lengthy one, and the attempts at bringing Green Lantern to the big screen surely make up a big chunk of that list. Warner Brothers/DC considered making a Green Lantern movie as early as the mid-1990s, according to Kevin Smith, who immediately passed on the project due to not being a big enough fan of the character. Also, I’m guessing his spirit was broken after his script for Superman Lives was tossed aside after all the time he spent acceding to Jon Peters’ wacky demands.

Rumors of a Green Lantern movie surfaced again in the early 2000s, this time as a comedic take on the character starring Jack Black and scripted by former Conan O’Brien and Saturday Night Live writer Robert Smigel. This version would have featured Black as a lazy, overweight slob who’s accidentally picked to be the new Green Lantern. It would have involved Black “capturing bad guys with green, giant prophylactics”. The ending would have featured him conjuring up a green Superman to save the day with a time-reversing bit just like the one at the end of Superman: The Movie, officially making him the “laziest Green Lantern in history”. Thankfully, the project never went forward, partially due to online fan backlash, but mostly due to how hard Catwoman bombed, souring Warners on the idea of comedic superhero films—even though I’m pretty sure Catwoman wasn’t intended to be funny.

The next time Green Lantern almost made it to live-action was in George Miller’s aborted Justice League movie from 2007, Justice League: Mortal, which was reportedly just days away from shooting in Australia where the entire cast was assembled and ready to go, including rapper Common playing the John Stewart version of Green Lantern. But then Warners got nervous about moving forward on such a massive project, in no small part because they were fearful of an alt-continuity Batman diluting the appeal of the Christopher Nolan films. Of course, nowadays the studio’s got like three or four different actors playing the Joker in multiple movies and TV shows, but I guess 12 years ago this was a thing to be worried about.

Not long after the plug was pulled on Justice League: Mortal, Marvel started to gain serious momentum with its cinematic universe. DC knew they had to get in the game, and for the first time (but certainly not the last), the studio planned a huge film to kick off their own multi-movie superhero franchise in a big way. And that movie would be Green Lantern.

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Multi-Part Article: Green Lantern (2011), a recap

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  • Kradeiz

    “And I can’t criticize the concept too much, since it comes directly from the comics, but dividing up the entire universe into just 3,600 sectors is insane.”

    This might’ve been somewhat more plausible if Oa watched over just our galaxy rather than the universe. Except then they actually would be the Guardians of the Galaxy…although you could get a joke out of that and say they went with Guardians of the Universe because it sounds more impressive.

    • I remember a Superman novel by Elliot S. Maggin that posited exactly that. The villain’s scheme was to sever the richest and most populous spiral arm because the Guardians’ policing authority only extended to gravitationally bound stars in the galactic disc.

  • I really need to figure out how to get back into my Patreon account.

  • maarvarq

    Marvel has long been criticized for their crappy villains, but even they never dared to pass off a semi-sentient glowing ball of gas as an intimidating nemesis.

    They obviously did this because it had worked so well in 2007.

  • Kradeiz

    Not gonna lie, when I saw the picture of Abin Sur my first thought was “Wow, Thanos got the Time Stone a lot earlier in the DC Universe.”

  • Michael Weyer

    The real shame of this movie is that Mark Strong was a perfect Sinestro and deserved a chance to go full evil in a sequel.

  • Little Brother Joey (3-7-77)

    Playing devil’s advocate here, but I wonder if Ryut and its sector being ‘lost’ is meant to signify that it’s uninhabitable or forsaken because of
    Parallax being trapped there. Still a really clumsy and rather stupid title, but it’d make a bit more sense than if it meant lost as in vanished or uncharted… yet still well-known and easily found.

    • I don’t know, a whole sector of space is uninhabitable because of one cloud stuck in a cave on one planet? Again, we’re talking about millions of galaxies here.