Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How I Would Fix It - Green Lantern

Here at the Enigma Society, we try to not just talk the talk, but also walk the walk. We aren't content to bitch like regular fanboys, we come up with ideas for what we would do instead. This leads me to this new recurring segment... How I Would Fix It.

The idea is that Jonny and I take a movie or television show that had a lot of potential, but we feel squandered it, and come up with how we could have done things differently or "fix it." For the first one, I thought I would take on the underwhelming Green Lantern ,movie that was supposed to kick start the DC movie universe but instead is largely ignored. So here we go:

I will start by saying what I think worked in the Green Lantern movie, as I don't think it's necessarily a "back to the drawing board" type of situation... at least not entirely. First and foremost, Mark Strong was absolutely perfect for Sinestro. I would have kept Michael Clark Duncan to voice Kilowog, though I would have had to replace his voice after his unfortunate passing... (RIP). I think Blake Lively was fine as Carol Ferris, so she could stay. I'm not sure she would fit with my revised story, but I did like the inclusion of Amanda Waller. She is an important behind-the-scenes player in the DC universe and if she can be established early on, bringing in the likes of Checkmate or Suicide Squad would be easier. I also liked the "light based constructs" from the rings.

The rest of the special effects, however, would need revision. I didn't like that weird Green Lantern outfit that looked more like the "Venom symbiote" than a superhero costume. I would go back to the more traditional look. I would also try to cut back on the green screen where applicable. A big problem with the Green Lantern movie was that it looked really fake. Let's make an animatronic Kilowog that could be spliced into CGI, sort of like the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. More of the creatures, such as Tomar Re and the Guardians of the Universe, would be made to look less creepy and more like their comic book counterparts. 

Seriously? People bitched a storm about Batman's suit having nipples, but they were just fine with Green Lantern basically looking barefoot? He has green toes! Come on!

I first knew Green Lantern was in trouble when it was announced that the lead character, Hal Jordan, was to be played by Ryan Reynolds. This was a total miscasting. Reynolds is kind of goofy. He's sarcastic, sure, but the problem is when I see Ryan Reynolds appear in anything, I expect him to make me laugh. Reynolds works extremely well for Deadpool, but not Hal Jordan. You see, the problem is Hal isn't goofy. He can be very cocky and sarcastic, but aside from a few one-liners, he shouldn't be the source of comic relief.

Honestly, what I think the studio was going for was making Green Lantern out to be like Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. Here's the problem... Ryan Reynolds is no Robert Downey Jr. He lacks the necessary range for the part. RDJ is perfect for Stark for many reasons, but one of the biggest is that he is equally good at comedy, drama and action. You can believe his conviction when he tells Loki that should he and his teammates fail to protect the Earth "they will damn sure avenge it." I can never really buy Reynolds in any serious role beyond comic relief... which as I said before, Hal Jordan isn't right for.

It was either this or I rip off the plot of the Hangover and have Cooper wake up wearing a power ring after a bender.

 So the first thing I would have done was cast Bradley Cooper as Hal Jordan. Cooper can do comedy, action and drama very well, he is a big name in Hollywood and he actually looks the way Jordan does in the comics. If not Cooper, then someone adept at action and drama like Joel Edgerton (though Edgerton lacks the star power that Reynolds and Cooper have). Honestly, casting for comedy would be a distant priority as most actors can deliver one-liners and quips, but not everyone can convince you, behind a costume and mask, that the world is truly in danger.

I guess if I had to appear at a Failure to Launch, I'd go in disguise too.

 I also want to add one thing that perturbed me from the movie. There was the sequence where GL tries to save a falling helicopter from crashing into a party. He makes this ultra-elaborate construct resembling his nephew's Hot Wheels loop-de-loop race track. I know this is going to sound super geeky, but that is not how Hal Jordan operates. That was more of what his successor Kyle Rayner, an artist, would create. Hal would make a big green hand to grab the copter and place it on the ground. Hal is very direct and simple. (For note: I too am surprised I get laid at all.) If he can solve the problem with a beam, a shield, a bat or a hand, then Hal will.

The next problem, in my opinion even bigger than casting Reynolds, was that they used the wrong villains! When I heard that the baddies were Hector Hammond and Parallax, I knew the movie was in huge trouble. Nobody, and I mean nobody, was clamoring to see Hector Hammond on the big screen; he is just some creepy big headed guy with mental powers... and using Parallax was just a terrible idea. It would have been like if Man of Steel had Doomsday as Superman's first villain or if Batman Begins had Bane. Like those two villains, Parallax was a game-changer for Green Lantern. Parallax was a psychic cosmic entity that latched itself to Hal Jordan, drove him insane and damn near destroyed the universe. Why the hell would you make rookie Hal Jordan fight that?  Plus, they didn't even look good... at all. Hammond came across like a mutated child molester and Parallax looked like mustard colored vomit with a face. If a hero is defined by his villains, then what did that make Reynold's Green Lantern? 

Evilest 'Stache in the Universe!
I would have instead made the main villain Krona, a relatively obscure baddie (though than can be said for any of GL's villains really). Eons ago, before the Oans decided that they should be the Guardians of the Universe, Krona was an impetuous and reckless scientist that broke a universal law in going back in time to witness the beginning of creation (and in the process accidently created the mulit-verse and the Anti-matter universe... which will play a role in future movies). He had been imprisoned in the Power Battery of Oa (where the Green Lanterns get their energy from) but had mysteriously escaped (a mystery to be solved with a reveal that would come at the end of the film... but I'm getting ahead of myself).

I'd make them look cooler in the movie...   but not walking scrap metal heaps like Michael Bay's Transformers!

 Krona commands an army of the Manhunters, powerful robots that were created by the Guardians of the Universe as a police force before the creation of the Green Lantern Corps. It is revealed that Krona had a hand in corrupting the Manhunters to prove the system was flawed, thus leading the Guardians to replace them with the Green Lanterns. Manipulating this flaw, Krona has made it so that the Manhunters obey his commands. So the background plot would revolve around Krona waging a war against all the Green Lanterns using his vast army of Manhunters, however this is all a distraction while he searches for the "heart of the multiverse." (Hint: it's Earth!) Of course, the Guardians don't know Krona is behind this scheme. Sinestro is trying to organize the Green Lantern Corps to not only defend their own space sectors but also the planet Oa itself, stretching their ranks far too thin. He complains that if he welds the supposed most powerful weapon in the universe, then why does he feel so helpless? (Foreshadowing!)

So here I've set up a universal threat and find a way to involve Earth. Much the same events take place, Abin Sur would still be mortally wounded (this time by a Manhunter) and give his power ring to Hal Jordan. He would be forced to use the ring for the first time against the Manhunter who killed Abin Sur, which is programmed to kill any Green Lantern... and poor Hal has the ring. So instead of fighting jerks at a bar with the ring, he would use it to just barely destroy the Manhunter in a sort of trial by fire. (This would be the start of his legend as "the greatest of all the Green Lanterns.) Hal would then be teleported back to Oa to be trained by Sinestro & Kilowog and ultimately return to Earth and start saving people on Earth, especially Carol Ferris. 

Seriously, if one of these things appeared before me, I'd probably shit myself!

Here's the big thing, though. In the movie, Jordan asks for help from the Guardians in handling Parallax, which they refuse... even though at the start of the movie they sent an army of Green Lanterns to fight the entity, resulting in massive casualties. That made no damn sense. Why wouldn't they have concentrated all their efforts at Earth to stop this universal threat.

Oh wait, you said Guardians of the Universe?... sorry.

In my story, the widespread threat of attacking Manhunters has left the Corps too thin to spare any more troops to Earth, so it is up to Hal to prove himself and handle the Manhunters at home by himself. Unknown to the Guardians, however, is that there are thousands of Manhunters converging on Earth to assist their master Krona, whom Hal will end up facing by his lonesome. Krona has discovered that Earth is the heart of the multi-verse and through it he can use the Anti-Matter universe to collapse all the parallel universes into one, effectively fixing what he caused and placing him in a God-like position over the 'new' universe.  They end up fighting a city ravaging battle where Hal begins to understand how to use the ring in conjunction with his emotions and instincts... while having to defend against attacks from Krona and various Manhunters.

Sinestro, along with other GL's like Kilowog and Tomar Re could arrive just in time to see Hal all but defeat Krona, proving that he may be the best of them all... and sowing the seeds of jealousy in Sinestro. So Hal Jordan is officially the Green Lantern of sector 2814, the remaining Manhunters are destroyed... though a few may escape. Krona is again imprisoned (not sure how this time, but probably not back in the Power Battery).

Let's just say he's the Prom King... at every prom!
In the obligatory comic book movie end credit scene, we see Sinestro standing on a balcony of the tall building on an alien world.  We see a flashback, giving the big reveal that it was Sinestro who allowed Krona to escape before, in exchange for his knowledge of the secrets of the Anti-Matter universe and the power it represents to whomever can potentially control it... someone that can spread great fear. The flashback ends, and Sinestro gets a confident smile. He holds up his right fist with its Green Lantern ring, which creates an eerie glow on Sinestro's face. We then zoom out to reveal that Sinestro has enslaved the people of his homeworld of Korugar, using giant green constructs to enforce his rule on them as they build monuments to his glory.

Note: As for a Justice League build-up cameo, I always thought GL should show up at the end of a Flash movie for a Brave and the Bold moment.

So that about does it. I have lots more ideas for How I Would Have Fixed It, so stay tuned and Stay Strange.

1 comment:

  1. we need less cosmic stuff in these movies. i see GL as more like the Nova Corp from Marvel. give them a powerful energy weapon, thats controlled by their mind directly. no goofy constructs, just force fields and projectiles, and limit the power use to something reasonable. The costume should be nice military style protective clothing, black, but make the energy weapon green. he can glow green if he is using it to protect himself in space. I dont think he needs a villain, he is just a police officer for our quadrant. he can call in backup if needed. the enemy should remain darkseid/apokolips. no face mask, he no longer cares about his human identity. he may not even be based on earth any longer, maybe alpha centauri. lonely, aloof, used to being around aliens more than humans.