It’s truly sad when a comic book you have loved since childhood is adapted into a huge clunky mess of a movie. Green Lantern could have been much better in so many ways, and it’s frustrating to see how the hollywood movie system can get so much so wrong. The frustrating thing about Green Lantern is the fact that there are so many parts that actually go right, mostly during the sequences on Oa. But the choppy editing and muddled storyline just turned what could have been a fine entry into the messy piece of crap that we got.
So here’s my take on how Green Lantern could have been saved.
1. Get rid of the prologue. The way to appeal to a new audience is to let them unravel the mystery alongside the protagonist. Having the story of the Corps unfold for both the audience and Hal Jordan would have made him a more sympathetic character. Instead, we are treated to a big blingy special effects laden opening that covers all of the backstory in about ten minutes, and then we have to wait for Hal to catch up. By the time he does, all of the mystery of the Corps has already been ruined. A fellow fanboy said that the prologue didn’t bother him, and that the core audience would already have an attachment to Hal. Well, the core audience doesn’t need a prologue to begin with, and the non-core audience doesn’t need to be spoonfed a bunch of backstory.
2. Get Hector Hammond in there from the get go. By the time he shows up about half an hour of the film has gone by and it’s too late to try to explain his connection to Hal and Carol. All of Hector’s backstory slows the story down just when it should be ramping up, and by the time he finally does meet Hal and Carol, we just don’t care about him. Plus, his relationship with Parallax makes no sense. Parallax eats planets and can wipe out an entire squad of GL’s in a few seconds. He doesn’t need a big-headed gollum to do his dirty work for him.
3. What the heck was up with Hal’s family? We get this little scene where Hal goes and visits his brother and gets chewed out for not telling people he wasn’t dead. Then he has this little heart-to-heart with his nephew and plays race car for two seconds. Then the entire family drops off the face of the Earth and is never heard from again. What was the point of all that? To set up the visual of the race car track construct that Hal uses to save the helicopter? You needed ten more minutes just for that? If there’s a gun on the wall in act one, it has to be fired by act three. If there’s a cute kid in act one, he’d better be sick, threatened, or dead by act three. This was a total waste.
4. Hal beats Hammond up and then just leaves him on the lab floor. Hector gets to go free so he can steal Hal’s girlfriend for the mandatory showdown sequence. Dude, the guy just trashed a top secret facility. Don’t you think he should, I don’t know, get thrown in jail or locked up or dissected or something?
5. More training. Hal should have trained in a class with a bunch of other rookie GL’s. Instead he spends like five minutes training and then quits…quits??? Are you kidding me? Where’s the can-do attitude? Where’s the camaraderie of the Corps? Where’s the rookie elf girl, the big balloon ball guy, or the freakin’ SQUIRREL Green Lantern??? This would have been a great opportunity to introduce us to more alien GL’s rather than just have a few senior officers. Another opportunity wasted.
Most of what I’ve harped about here is basic storytelling 101. This is stuff you could have picked up in an undergraduate course on creative writing, or out of the Idiot’s Guide to Plotting and Character Development. I can’t believe that the creators broke so many basic rules in putting this movie together. Then again, this is the studio cut, so I’m left wondering what the movie would have been like had the director had his way. Maybe we’ll get to find out someday.