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Posted at 9:34 AM ET, 11/18/2010

The Green Lantern

By Ezra Klein

I like the Green Lantern comics and, somewhat embarrassingly, really like Ryan Reynolds, but this doesn't look very good:

The Green Lantern is one of the odder comic properties out there: all-powerful ring granted by the "guardians of the universe" that gives holders a lycra costume and the power to make their thoughts manifest through pure energy. And, at least until recently, it was powerless against the color yellow. I explained this to someone recently, and she asked, "wait, so he could destroy an elephant but not a giraffe?" It's not particularly intuitive.

It's a comic that made sense for little kids, and it's testament to the series writers that they were able to update it as the market for comics got older. But it's hard to see it making the translation to film: The aesthetics of the whole affair -- from the guardians to the aliens to the ring's creations to the ability to generate a costume from nothing -- just look absurd.

By Ezra Klein  | November 18, 2010; 9:34 AM ET
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WTF? That film looks GREAT! You're wrong, Ezra, as you so often are. :-P Absurd never harmed Superman, Batman, or Flash Gordon.

Posted by: stonedone | November 18, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Nah, Ezra's right, it totally sucked. He's very rarely wrong stonedone.

Posted by: scubed | November 18, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Between this, Captain America, Thor, and the Green Hornet—properties that nobody outside the hardcore comic book set cares about—I predict that we're at "Peak Superhero."

Posted by: JEinATL | November 18, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

But Cowboys & Aliens looks awesome:

Posted by: chrisgaun | November 18, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

But Cowboys & Aliens looks awesome:

Posted by: chrisgaun | November 18, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

a lot of human energy, goes into trying to perfect or change things that are quite excellent, or perfect as they are, to begin with.

a little quirk in us.

Posted by: jkaren | November 18, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Should been Nathan Fillion. You know, the captain from Firefly.

Posted by: vorkosigan1 | November 18, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Eh, doesn't make much more or less sense than Superman. It does look like they're trying too hard to be Spider-Man, tho.

Posted by: dcamsam | November 18, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

The best way I saw Green Lantern phrased was that he would lose a fight to Big Bird.

I agree with JEinATL: superhero films are now way oversaturated and probably at the beginning of making their way out. My personal prediction is that the Avengers movies will a) be totally terrible and b) widely acknowledged as the end marker for the superhero movie boomlet. A stray film here or there may still be released, but the genre will be considered closed.

Therefore, garbage like the Green Lantern film needs to hustle while people are still willing to be duped.

Posted by: HerooftheBeach | November 18, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Green Lantern looks interesting. I just don't see how it's going to work. But it might. I will definitely watch it. From the trailer, I can already tell that it won't be any worse (and probably will be better) than X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

I like Ryan Reynolds. I was never really a big fan of Green Lantern. So, I'm keeping my mind open. Rarely, these days, can you trust that trailers do the movie justice.

Although I am expecting good things from Cowboy's Vs. Aliens. I will be disappointed if that stinks. But I don't think it will, somehow.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 18, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Wait a minute, wasn't Green Lantern Spiderman's frenemy in the films with Tobey McGuire? Played by Jams Franco?

Posted by: stella12 | November 18, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Agree with Ezra. Film looks ridiculous.

Also agree with @JEinATL. We're at a glut of superhero films. And what really matters is that, as usually happens when there's a glut of the same "type" of films (*cough*3Dfilms*cough*), they're very likely to suck.

Posted by: JERiv | November 18, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

All of the above commentors have obviously not seen a GL book in years. Particularly under the "Blackest Night" and "Brightest Day" story arcs. The Lanterns have become a great deal more complex and introspective about their place in the universe. I have seen picture of RR as Green Lantern, but am willing to wait. The main problem with all movie adaptations of comic books comes from trying to cram five to ten years of story and character development into under two hours. "Lord of the Rings" was one of the best for a lengthy novel to movie, but even there, a lot of stuff was left out.

Comic books are silly but that doesn't mean
they aren't well written, have in-depth plots and well developed characters. Imagine describing any seven year narrative
in 90 minutes.

Posted by: Darsan54 | November 18, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

To the folks hooked on the yellow thing: Yeah, that's a holdover from the Silver Age, and it was dumb. Still, comicbook writing of the last decade or two has seen a huge improvement in sophisitication in the standard super hero comics, and a lot of previously stupid stuff has been explained fairly well. The Green Lantern comics are the best they've been in a looooong time, and the yellow thing is (mostly) gone, but it also has an explanation that makes sense (for a comic).

As for the movie, I don't know. It looks like they're going to stick pretty closely to the GL story "Secret Origin" that was release a year or maybe a bit more ago. It's a strong story for an origin, and does a good job of keeping Hal Jordan compelling while introducing the far out concepts of the series. Long and short of it is, it could be good. I've also always liked Ryan Reynolds. He's in a ton of crap movies, but he's always got lots of charisma.

Posted by: MosBen | November 18, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why the ring had to be more elaborate than the ring in the comics though. I think the trick with a GL movie is to try and make it feel more like science fiction than a super hero movie.

Posted by: MosBen | November 18, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

It's all about the storytelling. A compelling story, married to powerful visuals, will grab viewers beyond the fanboy crowd. Think about the days of Westerns. It was a genre that was big and then for a while was thought to be played out. But even now, in the hands of a good storyteller, like, say, Clint Eastwood, a good Western can still totally rock. The same is true of superhero movies.

Posted by: tomlevy1 | November 18, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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