Warner Bros.’ upcoming “Green Lantern” film is easily one of the most talked about subjects in San Francisco at this year’s WonderCon. Anticipation has been riding high for the Martin Campbell-directed DC Comics adaptation starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Saarsgard, and Mark Strong, with plenty of fans left nervous in the wake of a questionable Entertainment Weekly cover and debut trailer that many found underwhelming.
With the film opening June 17, WonderCon represents one of the final opportunities for Warner Bros. and DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns to get directly in front of the fans and prove that this is a film worthy of excitement. Perhaps in acknowledgment of this fact, Friday’s “Green Lantern” presentation started off with very little preamble. Johns took to the stage, said the footage being shown was made especially for the con — the next trailer will run in front of “Thor” on May 6 — and then dove right in.
The first thing you should know: stop worrying.
The footage opened with Abin Sur delivering grave tidings to Sinestro, who is shown as a hologram. The planet Ventara has been decimated, and there is no one left to evacuate. The exchange continues for a few moments… until Parallax bursts in and a chase ensues. Great visual effects here, lots of big, explosive action.
Abin Sur manages to get away in an escape pod… and we jump to Earth. Here’s Hal Jordan, coming across the crashed pod containing the dying Green Lantern. We see Abin give him the ring and tell him to wear it in front of the lantern and speak the oath.
Cut to Jordan’s apartment. There’s the lantern sitting on the coffee table. A jokey moment; Hal sits down and ponders what the heck the oath could be. Spouts out a string of nonsense, including part of the Pledge of Allegiance. Suddenly the lantern flares to life. Hal is entranced by the green glow, and his take on the same hue as he speaks the proper Green Lantern oath.
It’s on, folks.
Now we cut to Oa, and Hal meeting Tomar Re. Another funny scene. Ryan Reynolds isn’t pulling out straight comedy, but the sharp, sarcastic wit is very much there. We see a brief skyline shot of Oa, and then Sinestro addressing the assembled Green Lantern Corps in a yawning cavern at the base of a giant Green Lantern logo. Parallax is coming, he warns.
A flash of images followed, including a few shots of Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond. Overall, this is great stuff. Much better than that first trailer and a huge improvement in the visual effects department.
Following presentation of the footage, Johns, Reynolds and co-star Blake Lively, who plays Carol Ferris, fielded questions from Johns and from the crowd. There were no major revelations, though the Reynolds-Lively duo brims with chemistry and Reynolds himself was full of jokes, as always. Johns also suggested that, while the Red Lantern Atrocitus does not appear in the film, there may be plans for him in a “Green Lantern” sequel.
Asked if he preferred playing a hero like Hal Jordan to a “villain” like Deadpool in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, Reynolds replied, “Deadpool is not a villain. He’s an asshole.”
Then he got serious. “Both are a lot of fun, but getting to immerse yourself wholly in this way [is great],” he said, adding, “We’re sticking to the mythology pretty closely.” Cheer from the crowd naturally followed.
Mentioning Deadpool of course opened the door for the inevitable question about what the status of that project is. “I’m not going to get into the ‘Deadpool’ stuff,” Reynolds said.
“There are so many unknowns there. There are things that I would’ve changed [in ‘X-Men Origins’] but I don’t finance these movies.” Then he added, “If I ever make one, it’s going to be made in the right way, just hard R.”
The only other newsworthy item concerned the recent talk of a ‘Justice League’ movie. Asked if he’s going to be involved, Reynolds replied, “It’s not something that anyone’s talked to me about.” Then he looked pointedly at Johns, who said to the crowd, “I can’t really talk much about ‘Justice League,’ except [to say that] it’s in development.”
Overall, a great panel and a powerful sales pitch to fans. “Green Lantern” might have gotten off to a rocky start, but once after seeing the footage — which the Internet seems to think will be arriving online sometime this weekend — those doubts should fade. Stay tuned for more from our roundtable chats with Reynolds and Lively, along with plenty more WonderCon coverage as the weekend unfolds!