Although Ryan Reynolds got to redeem himself from the awful mess that was the 2011 Green Lantern movie, the movie’s director is officially copping to the fact that he shouldn’t have had anything to do with the project.
The film was not only ruthlessly panned by critics, but it only made an estimated $219,851,172 worldwide off a $200,000,000 budget — not exactly the financial success one would expect from a tentpole superhero movie, especially one starring the ever-charismatic Ryan Reynolds. Now, the film’s director, Martin Campbell, is finally ready to admit that his involvement was a real misstep.
Speaking to Screenrant, the man behind actually good movies like Casino Royale and The Mask of Zorro said outright that he didn’t belong at the helm of such a fan-beloved property as a live-action Hal Jordan origin story. The outlet asked him if, similar to fellow DC Comics directors Zack Snyder’s Justice League or David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, if there exists a Campbell cut of the Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern that wasn’t marred by studio involvement. Rather than blow any smoke and pretend there was anyone else to blame for the film, Campbell took his licks and noted that he isn’t a fan of superhero movies, and therefore regrets ever agreeing to do the project.
He said that with something like the James Bond franchise, he was a big fan prior and therefore felt confident he could do it justice. With the DC Comics hero, though, that wasn’t the case. The end result was a jumbled mess of CGI, poor storytelling and uproariously poor use of the comics canon that even Ryan Reynolds couldn’t save.
“The film did not work, really. That’s the point, and I’m partly responsible for that. I shouldn’t have done it,” Campbell said of directing Ryan Reynolds in the film.
Over the years, many people have had their chance to rip into the failure that was Green Lantern. In the sequel to Deadpool, Wade Wilson famously goes back in time to clean up the messy X-Men timeline a bit by killing his ill-fated version of Deadpool from X-Men Origins: Wolverine. However, he also dips back in time to shoot Ryan Reynolds before he can agree to sign onto Green Lantern. Meanwhile, Taika Waititi, who you likely forgot was in Green Lantern, has publicly thrown shade at the project now that he’s got hit comic book movies like Thor: Ragnarok at his back.
While the Ryan Reynolds, Taika Waititi and the director were allowed to redeem themselves by fans after one of the worst superhero adaptations in history (no, you’re not off the hook 2015 Fantastic Four), none were given a mulligan on the project the way writers Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim were. It was announced in 2019 that the duo behind the immensely successful Arrowverse are teaming up for a new series for the HBO Max streaming service that will give them another crack at the Green Lantern’s canon — this time with the benefit of years of DC TV at their backs.
Speaking to ComicBookMovie, Guggenheim promised that he and Berlanti had learned their lesson from the Ryan Reynolds adaptation and don’t plan to fall into the same traps. Unfortunately, only time will tell if the Green Lantern Corps. will ever get justice in live-action form.