Translating popular comic-book character costumes to the big screen is mighty tricky business in our present pop-culture landscape – where small roaming hordes of foaming fans can instantly destroy a film’s good buzz via social networking sites and message boards the second a gaudy or lazy super-uniform photo hits the net. While Spidey, Batman (minus the Schumacher years) and Iron Man’s suits managed to more or less earn instant approval and the collective support of the die-hards, other heroes, such as the X-Men, Daredevil and Catwoman didn’t receive quite as jovial a welcome, and are still frequently subject to disappointed jeers and scorn.
We recently saw two polar opposites of this phenomenon with the first reveals of Marvel’s Thor and Captain America retrofitted-for-the-big-screen duds. While the latter was praised for being a clever re-imagining that nicely honoured the original look, the former has been largely derided for being too campy and “plasticky.”
Joining the fray now is Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern suit, which has been a topic of intense speculation since it was announced that the emerald avenger’s energy-produced attire would be painted onto the actor’s muscular, mo-capped frame using CG.
A collective exhalation, followed by befuddled mutterings, could be heard this last week when the much-awaited first image arrived courtesy of Entertainment Weekly’s Special Comic-Con issue. The glossy cover image, of Reynolds’ enveloped inside a cartoonish digital bodysuit and wearing what appeared to be a grease-paint mask, definitely didn’t exactly go over like the home-run that DC and Warner Bros. no doubt feel it to be.
While I can appreciate the overall alien body-glove look (visually, it makes far more sense to me than the comic-book version does), there’s something just a little … off about it. As opposed to looking like an out-of-this-world creation, it seems a mite generic and actually reminds me of Neo’s POV inside the Matrix. Certainly it’s never fair to judge the final result on a single (heavily photo-shopped) snap-shot, as it’s how the filmmakers’ pixelated efforts look while in motion that truly matters. Human heads on animated bodies can be scary business — cue up Temuera Morrison’s clone warrior scenes in the second two “Star Wars” prequels for some damning evidence — and I just hope that I don’t spend “Green Lantern’s” run-time fixated on Reynolds’ floating head. I do dig the snazzy logo, though!
As for the mask, it flat-out stinks. Period. Admittedly, it was a tough nut to crack, but this rendering indicates that director Martin Campbell and his design team weren’t able to find a method of making it look cool or functional. C’est la vie, you win some, you lose some.
It must be said, there’s a very good chance that some of these quibbles could be diluted when the actual film when it’s released next June. However, some more work is going to need to be done if we’re expected to be able to take Hal Jordan 100 percent seriously while he zooms around the cosmos battling the sinister Hector Hammond.
Oh well, those of you displeased with EW’s cover can at least take solace in the magazine story’s accompanying new stills, which are posted up at iFanboy for your convenience. I particularly like the one of Reynolds’ with the ring hovering above his palm. The Blake Lively one is also worth a look if only because she’s not exactly hard on the eyes.
How do you IJMers feel about Lantern’s shimmering regalia? Does it meet your expectations or fall well short of them? Fire your own thoughts onto our comments section and let us know!
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Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at http://twitter.com/camspcepisodes.