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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dark and Edgy Doesn't Always Fit: Mulling Over a 'Green Lantern' Sequel

Hero Complex reported this week that Warner Bros. is still considering a sequel to Green Lantern, even after the film enjoyed a less than spectacular summer box-office.

I think a pared down reboot might be in order because the film was simply not embraced by audiences. The question is why? We can search for answers by asking why two different ways:

A. Why didn’t audiences enjoy the film?

B. Why didn’t people go see the film in the first place?

These are two very important questions. The first question could initiate a dialogue to uncover the films flaws, while the second would lead one on a wild goose chase. My concern about the direction of the Green Lantern sequel is that it seems as though the suits at Warner Bros. are more interested in what they believe audiences want to see. In other words, they are prepared to make another bad film. They’ll just go about it differently.

Warner Bros. film group President Jeff Robinov said the following in the Hero Complex interview: “To go forward we need to make it a little edgier and darker with more emphasis on action… And we have to find a way to balance the time the movie spends in space versus on Earth.”

Think about your favorite comic book adaptations: Superman, Spider-Man, X-Men, etc. What about the Harry Potter series? Hell, consider To Kill a Mockingbird. What do these adaptations all have in common? They stay true to the characters. While there were some modifications to the stories and things were streamlined to fit the constraints of a film, the core of the characters was there.

It seems as though film executives don’t understand this. They think that because The Dark Knight was dark and edgy, that this is the key to making a successful comic book film. That’s not it. The dark and edgy approach works on a Batman film for the same reason Superman worked by being positive and inspiring—that’s the character.

To figure out where to go with a Green Lantern follow-up, they need to pick apart the first film and seriously consider where the film went wrong. Was it simply a case of the action not being thunderous enough? If they truly believe that, get ready for a underwhelming sequel.

Warner Bros. is sitting on some of the greatest characters in the history of comic books. But they need a more thoughtful approach to bringing these properties to the big screen. It wouldn’t hurt to ask what makes a good comic book movie. Or better yet, ask what makes a good movie.

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