Wednesday, August 10, 2011

FBU Roundtable: Darker/Edgier Green Lantern?

Now I know that comicdoms reaction to the Green Lantern movie was, ahem, mixed but I think Warner Bros. President Jeff Robinov seems to have found a way to unite us all by promising to make the sequel "darker and edgier"

Needless to say, when I saw that, I quickly called an emergency meeting of the Flashback Universe Blog Squad to discuss this development. Here is what we had to say. (Note: the covers are just there for spacing.)

JIM: Yeah...because that's what the audiences enjoyed in the first Iron Man Movie - all the Dark and Edgy stuff in it. Wait...there wasn't any was there? Look, I get it; The Dark Knight made a lot of money. But isn't it just possible that a dark edgy movie might fit Batman because he's that type of character? (I also think Ledger's performance and death contributed to the box office as well, but that's another topic for another day.)

If anything, Green Lantern needed to be more fun. I don't know that any kids (or adults not familiar with the character) that watched that movie really got a sense that having a power ring would be fun or cool.

Matt, Have you seen any kids picking up GL stuff in the bookstore?

MATT: We had a table and endcap set up with GL stuff. There's even these beginning reader type books that had little files on all the various aliens and of course Hal himself. I haven't checked actual sales numbers but it doesn't look as though a lot of it moved.

I agree with you about it being more fun and I think spending much more of the movie on Oa would have helped with that. Earth would be fine as a way to bookend the thing but the experience should have been following Hal into this brand new world and his training.

"Dark and edgy" possibly the only phrase more tiresome in regards to superhero comics than "post 9/11 world". Seeing the movie versions adopt that as the default solution to everything would be pretty pathetic. Besides, do these people really think Green Lantern had an excess of joy and that's what killed it in theaters?

CLAYTON: Ok I confess to being maybe the only Green Lantern fan out there who has not had to time to se the movie as yet! I hope to be able to do so when I take my vacation around the first week of October.

With that being said, Green Lantern did come in basically last in line of the super hero movies this summer. At least from what I have read. But there is not one person who I have talked to that didn't like the movie.

From what I have seen, most of comicdom has the "darker is better" mindset. So it doesn't surprise me in the least that it would carry over to their moves as well. In my opinion, Green Lantern is not the Dark Knight, and shouldn't be treated as such. I know they are going off the Sinestro War, but seem to be forgetting that when they turned GL into Parralax (which I may have spelled wrong), the readers didn't seem too fond of it.

PIERRE: I am not surprised by that direction. It is pretty typical from producers.

They see how Green Lantern under-performed.... and without really understanding why.... they try to conjure up an answer. In short.... they don't have a clue as to what happened.

They figure that Dark Knight was successfull because it was dark. Not because people might have thought it was a well made... well wrtitten... well filmed movie with good actors. It HAD succeeded because it was dark. So if Green Lantern did not succeed... it must have been because ot was not "dark enough"... right??

It cannot be because the editing was choppy because they took out a lot of scenes at the last minute. Or because they repeated the Galactus mistake from the 2nd FF movie and made the main villain a big cloud. Or because they tried to introduce to many characters/elements in the first movie.

It HAD to be because it was not dark enough. Sounds like a lot of BS talk from the producers to try to save face. A producers will never admit that a project did badly because they failled to do their job properly.

They have to assign the blame elsewhere. In this case... the it's not "dark enough" excuse/comment. Personally... I loved the Green Lantern movie.... but I am not blind to it's flaws. The flaws did not keep me from enjoying the movie. But it seems that it kept a LOT of people from going to see that film.

I understand where they went wrong.... but sadly if all they can come up with to explain the poor performance of the Green Lantern film is that it was not "dark enough".... I fear that they will make a lot of the same mistakes in making the sequel.

I guess we will have to wait and see.

CAINE: I wouldn't mind a "darker and grittier" GL movie, but for the right reasons, not because a producer thinks it's the golden ticket to success that they seem to think it is.

First off you can't do "Dark & Gritty" with Ryan Reynolds, he's a comedian with spot on timing.  He would have made an AWESOME FLASH but he just wasn't right for the GREEN LANTERN.  If they are going to do "dark and gritty" Reynolds will simply have to go.  On that note, with HAL JORDAN representing "The Best of us" (us being the lantern corp) then HAL probably has to go as well, unless they are telling a story where he's loosing it and going insane - then they may be able to pull it off.

The key(s) to making a successful GL film are as follows:

  • Decide if the movie will be about the "Corp" or a solitary lantern
  • Focus on which ever you decide from the first point
  • Leave Earth and normal humans who do not possess a GL ring out of the movie (with the possible exception of a human GL's significant other) and keep it in space
  • What ever you do, which ever lantern you focus on, insert a 2nd lantern for the b story and be ready to focus the next movie on that character
Oh, and if the producers MUST MUST MUST have Earth in the movie then let us focus on FATALITY, she's an awesome GL vila

TREY: I can’t immediately say that “darker” or “edgier” wouldn’t help, but I’m wary of the idea that what is successful in comics is what mainstream theater audiences want to see.  The article suffers from a bit of “this is what I like, so of course it will be popular!”  Fans (me included) would make different superheroes films than the ones we get—but I think its an unproven  assertion that that would make them more economically successful.

The only non-comic book fan opinion I have (a friend in the film industry) sited the “silly” aliens and heavy CGI as what he didn’t like about the film.  These are the very things the article suggests should be played up.

After Dark Knight, Watchmen was a product of the idea that darker sales tickets.  After Watchmen’s under performance, WB decided to move away from darkness.  Now they’re going back.  It seems like flailing.

My thoughts on Green Lantern’s cool reception: it followed the same basic character arc as Iron Man (the same arc as followed by Thor basically) but with a less compelling lead, and just good old fashion audience fatigue at getting told the same story with the same stock character archetypes over and over.  The film tried to do too many things (it’s science fiction! it’s romance! it’s daddy issues drama! It’s action!) and got muddled.  Now, I don’t see enough difference between Thor and GL to account for the box office returns, but I think its part of a downhill arc of too much reliance on formula in supers films that Captain America reversed.

Well, that's our thoughts on the matter - what do you think?

- Jim


cash_gorman said...

The problem with the movie wasn't that it wasn't dark. It was just badly done. The CGI of OA and the other Lanterns looked video game quality and not big-screen movie quality. Scenes had no continuity, such as it being daylight when he leaves his nephew's party but pitch black at night when he gets to Abin Sur's crash site. And somehow the military, in helicopters, gets there after he has time to call his best friend and his friend to drive there. And, so on. Twice Hal leaves his car behind and no one wonders where he disappeared to since his car is still around. Almost every scene had a big disconnect from the scene preceding it and little to no set-up.

The movie was a lot of fun and Hal's growth was a lot more convincing than Thor's, but it also deserves to come in last as it was almost Sy-Fy movie of the week quality.

Tell a tighter, more coherent story and you'll win over more critics.

JimShelley said...

A tighter story would have been great - I think we saw two movies mashed together.

MattComix said...

Either it's two movies mash together into an awkward whole or the footage that would have gelled everything together ended up on the cutting room floor.

There were also some issues with tone. For example why make Hal jokey when Abin Sur is dying in his arms? That's a key dramatic moment in the whole Green Lantern mythos or whatever you want to call it.


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