The DC Cinematic Universe could use a little lightening up these days. Excusing the not so subtle pun, the DCCU has invested a little too much time into two of their hallmark characters, Batman and Superman, while not expanding on their other memorable and successful characters. Batman had three fairly successful and well-received movies under Christopher Nolan’s vision and Superman got a decent re-introduction through Zack Snyder’s direction. DC Comics and Warner Bros. have continued to make both heroes household names known throughout the world but what have they done to expand that universe? Despite not wanting to follow the Marvel method, they seem to be making some of the same mistakes Marvel did when they started making superhero films back in the early 2000s. After X-Men and Spider-Man, we found Daredevil, Incredible Hulk, The Punisher, Elektra, and a few other films which had great star power and potential but managed to fall flat despite their good intentions. One could draw parallels to Jonah Hex, Green Lantern, Catwoman, Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman, and Suicide Squad and their mixed if not poor reactions with critics and audiences. Are these movies on the campy level of Howard the Duck or just plain bad like Steel? Absolutely not but I don’t think they had the reaction Warner Bros and DC Films wanted. After Man of Steel failed to perform as well as they anticipated, they scrapped the two planned sequels and jumped straightforward to Batman vs. Superman (I’m sorry I refuse to call it by its “proper” movie title, it sounds more like a court case than a movie) and eventually Justice League which brought together characters hinted at in the former movie. Neither made back the kind of money the companies were hoping for and honestly the DC Cinematic Universe needs a win like Wonder Woman. In other words, this lantern is in dire need of a recharge.
Like I said before, Green Lantern had his shot in 2011. Despite having a decent Hal Jordan played by Ryan Reynolds and a fantastic Sinestro played by Martin Strong, this movie just didn’t make any lingering sort of impression. Too much info dump, weak villains, cheesy special effects and other factors could have contributed to why this film under performed and any plans of a sequel were scrapped. Nobody returned to Green Lantern outside of animated shows or films until 2014 when they announced a Green Lantern film was in the works with the title Green Lantern Corps. Controversial writer David S. Goyer and writer Justin Rhodes were attached to co-write and produce the script based on a draft by Goyer and DC writer/GL guru Geoff Johns. Having Geoff Johns not involved would be a horrible idea for he has expanded the Green Lantern universe more than most writers involved with the title have. The Green Lanterns that would be portrayed in the movie would be Hal Jordan and John Stewart, two of the most well-known Green Lanterns. Recently they have considered director Christopher McQuarrie to direct the film which has lead people to speculate that they will cast veteran actor Tom Cruise, who McQuarrie worked with on at least four movies, to play Hal Jordan.
Now everything is still speculative. There are people who are making articles about who would be great choices for John Stewart, this being his first big screen appearance. Nobody has been confirmed for Hal Jordan or what story they’ll be working with. The only thing we know is the script has been described as “ Lethal Weapon in Space” which sounds pretty fricking cool to me. Whomever is cast as either Green Lanterns matters little to me ( although if it is Cruise, I never imagined Hal Jordan being that short) compared to what the story is. The reason the 2011 Green Lantern movie failed was the story seemed to care more about introducing everything about the Green Lantern Corps and trying to get new audience members instead of educating them simply with the great characters, story, and dialogue that comes with a good movie. Nobody knew who the Guardians of the Galaxy was outside of a comic con before the movie and now you can’t hum “Hooked on a Feeling” without somebody knowing what the hell you’re referencing.
Green Lantern has decades of great stories about a space cop who literally has one of the best weapons in the DC Universe. A tool that lets you create anything you can think of; its limits are only defined by your own imagination and willpower. You have two of the greatest Green Lanterns that were ever written as your main characters ( I’m still hoping to see Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, or even Simon Baz in the future). This film could open up the DC Universe beyond Earth and if this movie is good enough, it could expand on other characters and concepts from the Green Lantern universe. Will we see any of the emotional spectrum Lantern Corps? Will we get to see famous villians like Sinestro, Despero, or Parallax? Will we get to see the planet Oa, the Guardians of the Universe and other characters like Ganthet, Sayd, Arisia, or Killowog? Time will tell but the possibilities are enough to get people excited. But what DC Films needs to remember is we’ve been here before and still left the theater disappointed and sometimes shaking our heads. We’ll read these articles and watch these trailers with a healthy mix of skepticism and hope. DC Comics, you have a universe full of exciting, interesting, and creative characters which in the right context could inspire both new and old fans. You have the upcoming Aquaman, Flash(point), Shazam, and Batman solo films along with Wonder Woman 2 on your roster. There’s still the possibility of redemption with Suicide Squad 2 or with spin-off’s like Gotham City Sirens. You have this potential, please find the right creators to tell the best stories you can with these characters. If Green Lantern Corps is a step in that direction, then push back the fear of failure from your mind and go for the stars. Sometimes it’s the risks that end up paying off in the end. Until we get some concrete facts, please enjoy this clip of Green Lanterns G’nort from Batman: Brave and the Bold attempting to remember the famous Green Lantern oath in a moment of crisis.