I was pretty vocal about my disappointment, naming Green Lantern the ‘loser’ of Comic Con 2010. At the time I felt pretty secure in my snarkiness, but little did I know I was completely and totally wrong.
See, here’s the the thing - I can’t tell you how Green Lantern will be as a movie, but after visiting the New Orleans set of the film I can tell you that director Martin Campbell and company are working to make the biggest, most epic, most sweeping, most cosmic superhero film yet. Forget Hal Jordan versus muggers in an alley, Green Lantern is really about Hal Jordan battling to save not himself, not his girlfriend, not even just his city but the entire planet Earth. Green Lantern is a huge movie, with set pieces that will be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. I can’t spoil where the final battle takes place, but it’s an INSANE location - it certainly isn’t your standard issue end-of-the-movie warehouse, bridge or warehouse-like supervillain lair.
And it’s not just Hal Jordan. Green Lantern will feature the entire Green Lantern Corps; while visiting I saw life-sized cardboard cut outs of Tomar-Re and Kilowogg, the alien GLs who help train Hal Jordan. I saw mock ups of Oa, the planet at the center of the galaxy where the Guardians of the Universe oversee the galactic police force that is the Corps. And I saw much, much more - stuff that will make not just GL fans but hardcore space fantasy nerds salivate with excitment. I’m talking massive planetary and space vistas, incredible alien life forms and crazy space ship designs.
I was lucky to be on set at the same time that Geoff Johns, one of the architects of DC Comics’ cinematic future, was visiting. I get the impression that Johns - the guy who has been writing Green Lantern’s comic book adventures for the past couple of years - was incredibly influential on the tone and direction of the movie. Everything I saw pointed back to Johns’ Secret Origin storyline, where he retold Green Lantern’s origin to include important details and mythological elements that he would pay off years later.
Also around was director Campbell, exhausted on the final days of his shoot. Ryan Reynolds, still wearing the motion capture dots that will be used to create Green Lantern’s outfit on him, sat down and chatted, as did Mark Strong, who plays Hal’s mentor (and future villain) Sinestro. Strong came in on not only his day off, but his birthday, which was pretty cool of him. There was a Sinestro-themed cake for him at lunch.
Set visits are tricky beasts, and since this isn’t the full report (which will run closer to the release of the film and will be on CHUD.com), I can’t tell you too much. Even if I could I don’t know what it would mean - I saw lots of story boards and lots of pre-viz, all of which looked great, but Green Lantern is a movie that’s going to have the best stuff created in a computer, and honestly that’s the only way to go with a story as out of this world (literally) as this one. What I can tell you is that the enthusiasm on set was infectious, and more than that I was impressed by the willingness to go big. The modern superhero movie cycle has been somewhat hampered by down-to-earth storylines that keep our heroes in bland cities and fighting enemies who are powerful but not crazy. The stakes are rarely that high. As Geoff Johns said to me, ‘When’s the last time a superhero saved the world in a movie?’
In the meantime, check out this incredible concept art that gives you an idea of just what sort of scifi paperback book look they’re going for. Put this stuff on the side of a van, stat. I love it.
Click on the pics for gigantic versions.