Wednesday, October 28, 2009

SCRIPT REVIEW: Green Lantern...

Genre: Action/Sci-Fi/Comic Book/

Plot: A man is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe

Starring: Ryan Reynolds

Screenplay: Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Green

Director: Martin Campbell

It should come as no surprise to any person who reads this blog on a regular basis, that I’m a bit of a comic book geek, and that is just putting it lightly. So, when I get the chance to go through the first draft of a script for a hotly anticipated comic book film, let alone one for a legendary character, you better believe I pump through that as fast as I can.

That’s when Green Lantern landed in my lap. While I’m not the world’s largest Green Lantern fan, I have read a few of the runs of the character, and know of the Corp. and other iterations of Green Lantern, which is definitely something useful when going into this script. Not a necessity, but it is helpful.

So, throughout the past couple of days, whenever I’ve been given a little bit of time, I would pull this screenplay out of my messenger bag, and pick through it. And to kick off my review of this script, I’m going to say, that it was really, really good. Not solid, but darn near brilliant.

The most apt comparison that I could make to this script is that of Supermax, the Green Arrow film, in the fact that this is going to be a film that fanboys and girls are going to flip their respective shit over. It’s an engaging, and brisk screenplay (coming in at 104 pages for the first draft, and allegedly 109 pages for the second), which is always an added bonus, but it is also almost constant action. Similar in tone and style, at least script wise, to films like Iron Man, this is one hell of a fun time. Actually, Iron Man is a perfect comparison. As Warner Brothers first, big, post Marvel superhero film, one can seriously see the effects that that companies success has had on the big boys over at WB. It’s not a dark film (although the script is toned really weird, which I will get to in a minute), but it has almost a carbon copy of the humor seen in Iron Man, and with Ryan Reynolds in the lead, I must say, it’s pitch perfect.

Also, having just finished up the first half of my Story Making class here at Grand Valley, I must say, this screenplay is rather well written. Hal Jordan has an apparent conflict that he must overcome, a distinct personal character arc, as well as some interesting romantic plot points, as well as some of the most action packed fight scenes I’m sure any of us will ever see. The idea of a man with a ring that can create ANYTHING his or her heart desires not only means interesting story elements, of which there are many here, but it also means that this will be one of the most visually arresting superhero films that we will ever have a chance to see. The plot is a close equivalent to the Green Lantern origin, so fanboys will love it, and those who are not normally comic book fans, but love some heart pounding action, you will have more than your fill of that within this screenplay, and hopefully the final film.

The origin tale goes like this:

Abin Sur’s ship crashes in a desert on Earth also known as Gaia to those within the Green Lantern Corps., after his fight with a giant beast, known only as Legion. Legion haunts the Corps, and has recently killed three Lanterns, before taking the life of Sur. When Sur dies, his green ring answers Sur’s final request, and goes on the hunt for someone honest and brave. Passing Clark Kent and Guy Gardner, the ring bursts to the side of Hal Jordan. Hal sees Abin, who dies in his arms. By the end of the first act, Hal has taken the famous Lantern oath, and is set flying.

Meanwhile, we meet Hector Hammond, who, at the request of the government, performs an autopsy on Sur. During the act, a piece of Legion infects Hammond, and gives him insane powers like mind reading and the ability to control any object, even whole spaceships (which is proven late in the script), with the power of his mind. Hammond is the films second villain, and while not the biggest threat to Earth, one that Green Lantern needs to take care of. From this point forward, it’s basically non-stop Green Lantern action, and some of the most comically written (in just how ludicrous it all sounds), and budget pushing action scenes ever put to paper.

I’m really not lying. Imagine hundreds of green lanterns flying around in space, throwing giant weapons at a “Doomsday” sized beast. It’s almost comical how insanely over the top all of these action scenes are written, and I must say, it’s really refreashing. The trio behind this draft obviously have no shame with what they want this film to be, and it’s what I think every person who wants to see a Green Lantern film truly wants in the said film. It’s non-stop action for about the entirety of the 2nd and 3rd acts, and even the first act has a bit more action than one would expect.

However, the script does have a few flaws, particularly in its tone.

The screenplay wants to be this big budget, box office juggernaut, and yet the film has characters like BIG MOTHERFUCKING BOYFRIEND. While this doesn’t play into the rating of the character, and character only curses maybe once, it does make for a bit of a jarring read. Also, some of the violence, like a Senator getting riddled in the chest with bullets in almost a poetic piece of prose, or a man’s head ripping apart, makes for a weird tone for the film. It wants to be humorous and action packed, yet it has these hints of a darker side, that aren’t truly minded to any meaningful depths, making it just awkward. Also, the romantic angle, while sweet and a fitting zone for star Ryan Reynolds, is far to cliché to make it anything more than a typical love story. Nothing new, just paint by numbers romance. Finally, the first act is a bit slow, and the overall storyline isn’t anything that we haven’t seen before. It’s a standard hero’s tale, but it’s one that is going to stun viewers with just how visually arresting it has the potential to be.

All I know, from this script, is that if the studio allows the film maker, Martin Campbell, to do as he wishes, and gives full creative control of visual effects to the crew, Warner Brothers may have the next Dark Knight on their hands. Maybe not in tone or even quality per se, but this film has blockbuster hit written all over its green frame. Martin Campbell has proven himself to be a fantastic director, not only overall, but particularly in the realm of action (he has saved the Bond franchise twice now), and with a lead like Reynolds, who fits the role of Jordan like a glove, this has hit written all over its head.

Seriously, don’t tell me you don’t want to see THIS on the big screen!

Go see something good!


  1. I think this movie will be great, and hopefully your description of it as sort of a cosmic answer to Iron Man will turn out to be spot-on, because that's just what Green Lantern needs.

    And I can't wait to see Kilowog on the big screen!

  2. Oh, and you see more than your fair share of Kilowog throughout this film. Seriously, this script is almost laughable in how insane and over the top the action is, in the sheer scope of it all.


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