GREEN LANTERN Footage Rocked Fandom - But Why?

4 Minutes of GREEN LANTERN MOVIE Footage

What a difference some footage makes.

Last July, comic book fans were less than enthusiastic when they got their first look at the costume for Green Lantern. Even a later trailer featuring Ryan Reynolds in the lead role didn't change very many minds.

But this weekend, the debut of footage from the film at Wonder Con has fans abuzz, and the four minutes released on the internet has turned even the worst fanboy naysayers into supporters of the movie.

So why the change?  

Not Your Father's Superhero Movie

At this point, after years of genre blockbusters, even average moviegoers have memorized the standard plotline for superhero movies: Non-heroic human is introduced, he has something unique happen, he gets powers, and then....

He decides to use them for good.  

Green Lantern could have worked as that kind of movie. Reynolds could have been handed the ring, then he could have decided to fly around the Earth using his powers for good. Everyone cheers. The end.

But this weekend's footage shows something different. In a move that surely challenged the film's computer graphics budget, screenwriters Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Green made the choice to write a script that breaks away from the tried-and-true plot. Hal Jordan doesn't decide to use his powers for good. His powers are granted to him by an interstellar police force that only exists to do good. He's part of a larger mission. He's part of a universe filled with similar rings, and by wearing one himself, he's is tasked to do good.

The footage shows this unlikely hero being whisked away to another planet instead of letting him figure out his powers alone. In Green Lantern, the movie will honor the comic book instead of just following the standard superhero plot. And fanboys like it. 

This Is Serious Superhero Business

Another concern among comic book fans has been whether or not Reynolds can play Hal Jordan. While the character is far from being "serious" all the time, he's not quite the huckster that Reynolds played in his last stints in the superhero genre.

It may be true that comic book fans liked Reynolds as the constantly wise-cracking Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. (As Reynolds put it, "Deadpool is not a villain; he's an asshole.") And fans seemed to also like the humor and levity Reynolds provided to Blade Trinity in his role as the quipster Hannibal.

The problem is that people liked his jester persona so much that it was tough for them to imagine him as anything else. And the Green Lantern trailer featured had enough enough sarcastic fly-boy gags to reinforce their perception.

But this weekend's Green Lantern footage put an end to that. The jokes were all but gone. And not only was Reynolds clearly more "serious," but he was surrounded by epic scenery that gave the film a sense of gravity and grandeur.

Even Reynolds himself addressed the concern in an interview with Newsarama. "You have to inject some of your own being into the character to make it work, but at the same time you have to be deeply reverent and respectful to the character’s origins," Reynolds said. "We were very careful to never push that too far." And the new footage certainly highlights that.

Star Wars Meets Superheroes

But the one element of the footage that won fans over the most was the Hal Jordan's visit to the planet Oa.

Filled with strange landscapes and odd-looking aliens -- who are characters straight out of the comic books -- Oa is the home planet of the Green Lanterns. And Warner Bros. decided to depict it in all its glory.

That makes this superhero film stand out already. By approaching the space-based   Green Lanterns from their roots among the stars, the film takes the superhero genre and mixes it with epic sci-fi.

That's the way it is in the comic books. As Green Lantern comic writer and DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns told Newsarama in 2007, "it's Star Wars superheroes... the Green Lantern mythos is as rich and diverse as any other sci-fi, if not more than any other sci-fi property or story out there."

Apparently, the screenwriters and Warner Bros. agreed. And it probably didn't hurt that Johns consulted on the script and was often on set during filming of Green Lantern.

Reynolds said it wasn't just budget and vision that made the "space epic" version of Green Lantern a reality. It was also a matter of technology being available. "The technology had to be such that it could actually make a film like this possible, and it is," the actor said. "I don’t think this movie would even be possible three years ago.”

All these things add up to a movie that appears to be different from the norm, if this footage is any indication. Comic book fans like that. After years of reading superhero fare, they have less patience than most people when movies tell the same old story.

Breaking from the norm is not what Hollywood usually does. In an era where many big-budget films are either sequels or remakes, taking risks seems way out of line for studios like Warner Bros. Yet this footage says Green Lantern may take more risks than anyone realized, and might actually honor the comic book along the way. And nothing puts a smile on the face of a fanboy quite like it.

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