Once upon a time, 2011’s Green Lantern was planned to be Warner Bros’ response to Iron Man. The movie was going to be a soft introduction to a new DC cinematic universe and would have been followed by a Flash film and eventually versions of Superman, Batman and the Justice League. Of course, it didn’t work out that way, as Green Lantern flopped, received terrible reviews and is now largely forgotten.
In fact, the only person keeping it in the popular consciousness is star Ryan Reynolds, who can’t resist poking fun at it. In Deadpool, the opening scene featured a drawing of Green Lantern and there’s dialogue later in the film in which the Merc with a Mouth says he won’t accept a suit that’s either “green or animated.” Deadpool 2 went one further, showing the character travelling back in time to assassinate Reynolds before the movie could be made.
Thing is, the actor recently revealed he’d never actually watched it all the way through. The star remedied that in late March (fortified with a bottle of Aviator Gin), though, and reflected on why it failed. First up, he rightly identified that while Green Lantern certainly isn’t good, it isn’t some Batman & Robin level cinematic disaster.
“Hundreds of incredible crew and cast members did amazing work — and while it’s not perfect, it ain’t a tragedy. Next time I won’t wait a decade to watch.”
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He also spoke to Entertainment Weekly, discussing the difference between making this and Deadpool and saying:
“Well it’s simple: Deadpool always knew what it was. With Green Lantern, I don’t think anyone ever figured out exactly what it was… It also fell victim to the process in Hollywood which is like poster first, release date second, script last. At the time, it was a huge opportunity for me so I was excited to try and take part in it.”
That explains a lot, particularly as Green Lantern had so much going for it: a charismatic star, an experienced action director and a great supporting cast. There was a big silver lining for Reynolds though, as he met his wife Blake Lively while shooting the movie.
We recently learned that Zack Snyder was pushing for a Green Lantern to appear in the final scenes of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, but was overruled by Warner Bros. Still, the future is bright for fans of the Corps, as there’s a ten-episode Green Lantern HBO Max show currently in development. More on that as we hear it.