Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why Removing Ryan Reynolds from Green Lantern 2 Is a Terrible Idea

Dan Ingram of Fear the Cacti and Crossover Appeal is now a regular contributor! You can read his previous posts herehere, and here.

I’m big on Internet debates. Anyone that has me as a friend on Facebook will tell you that the last few months have been increasingly political on my news feed and I can tell you that it’s only going to get worse.

That said, I also think I’m good at arguing with people. I think it helps me become a better citizen in general, especially in politics, because it forces me to go out and research specific topics. Like “Obamacare” or the GOP’s War on Women. 

So by trash talking people I disagree with, I feel like I learn something. And that may be that I was wrong all along. And ask my girlfriend, I may not admit it immediately, but eventually I’ll come around and apologize.

Completely unrelated Google image result for “apologizing boyfriend”.
But recently one of my favorite geek haunts posted this article:

Before I dissect this article, forgive my inappropriate usage of capitals in the above title. Bloggers have been getting around that lately by capitalizing all their words and frankly I’ve never been that good with the subject.

That’s neither here nor there. The real issue is this guy:

Jar Jar Binks is in this movie somewhere and that’s why it sucked.
The article says that the reason “Green Lantern” failed was because Ryan Reynolds is “pure box office poison”. Which is a couple of things. One it’s not true at all. He’s been in successful movies, both as the lead or a secondary character. And when it comes to romantic comedies of recent history, I’d be hard pressed to find anything bigger than “The Proposal”. The article also demonstrates a VERY narrow viewpoint on how Hollywood works. 
The writer of the GammaSquad article is entitled to his opinions, I just think this is a very bad opinion to have. I took to the comments (I’m NasalCactus if you look at the article) and tried to protest his point. I was snarky, but hey, it’s how I roll. I pointed out Ry-Ry’s film successes, and was promptly met with “Counterpoint – Ryan Reynolds is a giant pile of garbage.” 

Oh the trolls, they hurt my soul. And that guy probably gets paid to blog. Debbi, we’re doing something desperately wrong.

“Green Lantern” is terrible. I want to establish that. I really did not enjoy this movie. Which is the general consensus. It’s earned a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 39% on MetaCritic.
It’s staggering how bad this movie is because it’s such a well-established character in one of the biggest comic universes ever. I saw it for free and I still wanted my money back (even though the 3D was some of the best I’ve ever seen).

All that said; whose fault is it?

Even though he still dresses way better than I do.
This is radically oversimplifying things. Because anyone with a sliver of knowledge on how the film industry works knows that there is not a singular person that can be blamed. But that same person will turn around and immediately tell you that someone got fired for this movie. They may not have been the person behind the monetary losses, but someone in a suit is now branded as “the-guy-who-greenlit-the-Green-Lantern”. Inadvertent pun aside, that guy now has no job with Warner Bros., so he’s out of the picture.

Generally the public turns to the most notable figure, and in this case it’s Ryan Reynolds.
People know him from various projects ranging from “Van Wilder” to “Blade:Trinity”, but he’ll probably always be known best for his role as Hal Jordan. Which is sad.

And now, because of this stigma, Ryan Reynolds may be fired from the next installment. Maybe fired is too harsh. They’ll “reboot” the character. Which I’m sure is the terminology they’re putting into a press release right now.

If Kim Kardashian gets to keep her ring, Ryan should get to keep his too.
Here’s my argument against this decision (and I’m sorry it’s taken this long to get to it).
First, Ryan Reynolds is NOT to blame for the film failing. It was a disaster in every way once four writers and the director became involved. I’m not saying that it’s any one of those people’s faults either, but it should come as no surprise that having 5 people trying to make something creatively with a $200 million budget, opinions will differ. 

A standard rule of filmmaking is that you write a movie three times: once when you write the script, another when you shoot the film and a third time when you edit the footage. 

So let’s add the editor of the film to the dog pile. This doesn’t include any influence from the producers, the studio or DC representatives by the way; these are just the people that are responsible for handling the actual film. Do you see what I’m getting at?

We live in a society where actors get really involved with their projects. And Ryan Reynolds is even an avid producer, having started his own production company and starring in a bunch of independent films. However, it’s tough for me to justify him as THE REASON “GL” failed because he probably had little to absolutely no influence on the subject. 

I’ve read the script for “Green Lantern”. Not the shooting script or some lame ass Barnes and Noble shelf-filler that makes people feel like they’re “in-the-know”. But a draft of the script on three hole punch paper. To put it mildly . . . it’s different.

Hal is much more brash and a bigger smart ass. We get hints of that in the trailer even. Hal is asleep with a woman who he doesn’t know, tells her there’s water in the tap, and after he dons the Lantern suit right in front of his best friend, he says plainly “let’s find some trouble”. Those were significantly less impactful in the film and robbed the character of what Ryan could have really sold.

Hal Jordan is arrogant. And if you want someone who can play a snarky son of a bitch with washboard abs that becomes a selfless fighter that never gives up despite hopeless odds (and washboard abs) then you need someone like Ryan Reynolds. 

My other big argument for keeping Ryan Reynolds: The Justice League.

By now we all know that Marvel has mastered the comic film franchise. Nolan-verse aside, no other set of films is as highly touted as the “Avengers” series. Even Raimi’s “Spider-Man” films fall desperately short of the high water mark when you add the atrocity that was “emo-Parker”.

George McFly shudders in horror at this greasy haired sight.
If Warner Bros. has any hope of replicating a shred of the success that “The Avengers” just witnessed, they need to build a franchise around a star. Marvel got Robert Downey, Jr. involved, then they roped in Edward Norton (for a moment) and they put the idea out to the world. “We are making ‘Avengers’, this is who we are going to have in it.”

Whether or not Downey or Norton’s involvement drew in Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner or Scarlet Johansson is a total mystery. But I would be really shocked if you could find an audience member who wasn’t influenced by Marvel snagging some of the best possible candidates for the job.

After “The Dark Knight Rises”, DC will fall back on the “Superman” franchise (again) and who knows what that movie will look like considering Zak Snyder has such a great catalogue of films to chose from. 

If you’re not covered in sarcasm from that last sentence then there really is no hope for me as a writer.

But I will bet money on the fact that if you keep Ryan Reynolds as the Green Lantern and establish the Justice League franchise from his participation; moviegoers are going to take JL way more seriously. 

Either way I think Ryan Reynolds will be involved with the Justice League franchise.  Warner Bros. has already expressed interest in having him play Batman after “The Dark Knight Rises” finally stomps its way out of the box office. And having Ryan Reynolds play Batman sounds like a genuinely terrible idea.

I love the guy, but no one wants to be the “after-Nolan-Batman” and I don’t think anyone could take him seriously in the role. Hal Jordan is a perfect fit for Ryan Reynolds as an actor, and to start off Justice League, he should be a key figure. Letting him go would be a huge mistake. 

Plus if he didn’t play Green Lantern again, he’d just trot off and play Deadpool, another Marvel franchise. And I don’t think DC wants to give them any extra steam considering the Deadpool movie is pretty highly anticipated.

Mostly to rectify this shit storm of a character mash up.
Dan Ingram works in television and has his Master's in Screenwriting from New York Film Academy. His mancrush on Ry-Ry is the stuff of legend.


  1. I think you're absolutely right Dan. I've never read the Green Lantern comics, but from everything I've heard, "Ryan Reynolds is the PERFECT Hal Jordan." The real person or person(s) to blame I think are perhaps the producer, director or special effects supervisor. The reason this film bombed is because Green Lantern is just not that well known outside of Comic Con. And the reason it sucked is because of the ridiculous amount of CG. I thought it was funny that Nathan Birch mentioned Ridley Scott, because Scott probably could have made a better Green Lantern (which isn't saying much). At least make it look real. Also, if Warner Bros actually did fire Reynolds, they're f^&*in idiots, because then Justice League will never get made. I mean, it will, but long after anyone cares anymore.

  2. First, I appreciate the ego stroking. Secondly, this movie should have been Ryan Reynolds' character from Blade: Trinity except he has on the GL suit. That's the movie I want to watch. I think the supporting cast also sucked pretty hardcore in this film, which is sad because I really like most of them, but it's like they all phoned it in. If Scott would have been involved (theoretically) then at least the film would have been a bit darker, and Marvel thankfully isn't afraid to go there and let us feel sad. GL was too glossy and nice. It needed some grit.

    As for JL without Ry-Ry, I just don't think anyone would care from that moment on. You could maybe rope in a few people that are semi-famous, but without RDJ taking up Iron Man, I think it would have been way harder for Marvel to get The Avengers franchise afloat. He's a name, Marvel snagged him on the cheap, and now they're all rich together. Ryan Reynolds can do that as a flagship character. Who knows, maybe in a few years we'll be talking about how well Garrett Hedlund did as Guy Gardner or Kyle Rayner (or whoever steps into the role).

  3. p1 (of 2)
    "I've never read a Green Lantern comicbook, but...." WOW! When I see that, I just know that whatever comes after that 'but' is going to be movie review GOLD. GOLD, baby! It seems like every single movie review of the Green Lantern movie came from exactly these people; people who have never read a comic or maybe never even heard of the Green Lantern character. I guess that is fine. I mean, I can't really shake my finger at people because they are not Green Lantern comicbook fans. I completely understand the logistics here. But it seems to me, that most of these articles which bash the Green Lantern movie are doing so because of all the wrong reasons. In fact many of the reasons are completely without merit or substance, like my personal favorite 'They didn't show enough of the Green Lantern Corps'. I have yet to see one single article which pointed out precisely what is 'wrong' with the Green Lantern movie. Seriously. Show me just one specific point. The fact that it was a boxoffice bomb has much more to do with actor's salaries, CGI costs, production time costs, and ultimately the number of persons who show up to see the movie in the theater. My criticism of these reviews is simple, they have no idea what the Green Lantern character is supposed to be about. And I can tell you, as a long time megafan and comic reader, Reynolds nailed the Hal Jordan character from the comics and the movie company nailed the story, history, background and plot of an actual Green Lantern-like comic book. Not one review has mentioned this fact. Yes, fact. I could go point by point and detail how they hit all the key points, but I won't. I won't because all those reviewers have never read a GL comic and wouldn't understand or care about any of the points.

    The job of a movie reviewer may not be to compare the movie to its canon. I got that. I do. The job of a movie reviewer is, though, to tell you if a movie is good in production value. That is, did the actors act well? Did the action movie plot have lots of action? Did the story make you interested in or care about the characters? Did the props, CGI, scenery, locations, and costumes enhance the story experience? Was the dialogue believable? Interesting? Understandable? These are the questions that you want a movie reviewer to answer for you, so you can determine if the movie suits your own personal interests. It is my opinion that every reviewer has failed to answer any of these questions. But rather, they decided, to answer only one question..... did revenue exceed costs? Or in the case of the earlybird reviews, will revenues exceed costs. That is one compelling review. No substance, even though accurate.

  4. p2 (of 2)
    I do agree with Mr. Ingram's point that Reynolds should play GL again. And the reason is simple: he nailed it. It was not Reynolds fault that the ticketsales underperformed or that the production costs of the movie were so high. It is absurd to lay the accounting and logistics blame on him. I am going to say it one more time, he nailed the role. That was his job as an actor playing a role. His personality and style is perfectly suited to play the character of Hal Jordan because they are genuinely so similar by nature.

    Some final thoughts that could make the movie more appealing to non-comicbook fans: 1) introduce fewer small-bit characters. While I loved seeing many GL Corps characters, I would certainly understand how it would be information overload to a nonfan by introducing 50 characters in a 105 min movie. This is an interesting counterpoint to the joke-of-a-critique that I mentioned above. The movie was called Green Lantern, not Green Lantern Corps. If anything, this movie suffered from character overload, not a lack of it. 2) Don't make the antagonist an amorphous blob. Not only was this visually unappealing, but it failed on a personal level to get me to relate to the bad guy's goals and motives. I think the goal of a good antagonist should be to get the viewer to really dislike them and their motives. I was apathetic about Parallax for the most part. And I know the Parallax character pretty well and I thought this version was not compelling. The possessed Hal Jordan (from the comic) version may have been more compelling, but admittedly difficult to write. The movie (at least the first movie) could have made use of one of many concrete, bipedal enemies as the main antagonist. It is pretty obvious who the antagonist will be in GL2, if it does get made. I think Sinestro will be a much more identifiable and dislikeable villain and hence will be more successful to general moviegoers. 3) The whole Dr. Hammond storyline should have been eliminated entirely. It added very little to the main story (of Parallax) and detracted a great deal. Hammond is not someone's puppet. But rather he is a puppetmaster himself. The writers did great injustice to this character in the movie.

    I loved the movie. I have seen it about 10 times now. I am sure I will watch it 100 more times. Get the Bluray and watch it in its full 1080 glory. The detail put into this movie is truly amazing. The GL suit is much more than it appears to be, as is the Parallax monster. Unfortunately, these details are not recognizable in the theater or in 720.

    Bottom line, this movie was made for GL comicfans. The producers succeeded on that level. What they failed to do was appeal to the general action/adventure moviegoer, which is probably what they should have targetted. That's where the movie failed. And all the reviewers just don't get that important distinction.

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