Iron Man vs. Green Lantern

Today: an excellent article from over at on why Iron Man succeeded where Green Lantern failed. In a nutshell, the author argues that the main reason for the mainstream success of Iron Man was the fact that it wasn’t afraid to depart from the character’s comic book origin, while Green Lantern throws in everything but the kitchen sink in its attempts to please the comic series’ die-hard fans. As has been pointed out many times before, superhero movies depend on a different audience than the niche readership of comic book guys, while still relying somewhat on the hardcore geeks’ general approval for word-of-mouth and favorable pre-release buzz. Iron Man did most of those things right, while Green Lantern obviously did most of them wrong:

Most of all, Iron Man resists the temptation to throw in a ton of elements that the (relatively few) fans of the comic book would want to see. There’s no Mandarin, although we get an oblique reference to the Ten Rings to keep fans happy. S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers are carefully kept to an after-credits sequence. There’s no War Machine, except that James Rhodes looks at a suit of armor and says “Next time, baby.” There’s no Extremis virus. And so on.

Meanwhile, Green Lantern sticks pretty close to the comics continuity, as refashioned by Geoff Johns and a few others. Instead of sticking to a fairly simple villain, we get Parallax, who requires infodumps of heroic proportions — as well as lengthy abstract discussions of the difference between not feeling fear and overcoming fear.

Meanwhile, in other awesome news, it seems that I finally found a publisher for my book on the post-9/11 superhero movie. Expect endless (and shameless) self-promotion here in the months to come.

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1 Response to Iron Man vs. Green Lantern

  1. Pingback: 2011: the year in surprises | Dr. Dan’s Medicine

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