Fans of DC Comics’s Green Lantern were in Heaven in 2010; Geoff Johns had recently revitalized the comic, leading to some of the best reviews and sales numbers the title had seen since the mid-’90s. Hal Jordan, the longtime series lead whose exit in 1993 had goosed those mid-’90s numbers, was back and there was a movie on the way.
The enthusiasm didn’t last, though: the movie was not necessarily a bomb, but a box office dud that “made its money back” only if you consider that toy and merchandising sales would offset publicity and marketing expenses. Worse than that — the movie was not generally considered to be very good.
Ryan Reynolds, a self-professed comic book fan who even at that point was trying to get a Deadpool movie made, drew the brunt of a lot of early criticism, with audiences saying that his snarky, sardonic Hal Jordan wasn’t really a fit for the character as presented in the comics, or the story being told in the film.
It was always obvious to critical observers, though, that wasn’t terribly fair. The movie clearly had other issues — and when Deadpool turned out to be a big success and a huge breath of fresh air when it was released, it forced some people to re-examine what it was that went wrong with Green Lantern to begin with.
“Well it’s simple: Deadpool always knew what it was,” Reynolds told EW when they asked for his take. “With Green Lantern, I don’t think anyone ever figured out exactly what it was. That isn’t to say the hundreds of men and women didn’t work their fingers to the bone to make it as good as poosible. It also fell victim to the process in Hollwyood which is like poster first, release date second, script last. At the time, it was a huge opportunity for me so I was excited to try and take part in it. I did however write a letter to Fox right before I had to decide whether or not I was gonna do Green Lantern. I asked one last time sort of like the groom standing at the altar, ‘Will you please be my wife?’ and they said they couldn’t pull the trigger on Deadpool. For too many reasons too boring to illustrate, it just didn’t work.”
Recently, rumors that Green Lantern will appear in the upcoming Justice League movie have picked up renewed traction, with some speculating that The Lone Ranger’s Armie Hammer might play the role.