Duncan Jones thinks Green Lantern is dumb.
Straight up dumb. He said so himself.
Anyway, Im not doing Green Lantern. I think he's dumb. :) Hope someone proves me wrong.— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) January 13, 2017
You can get away with comments like this is you directed Source Code, a decidedly un-dumb science fiction movie which doesn’t feature even a single magic green Hot Wheels track.
Jones hasn’t had an easy time of things lately. The director of Warcraft might not have won too many fans with his overly bloated adaptation of a video game lore that is, in all fairness, itself one of the most overly bloated source materials in history.
That’s not stopping David Bowie’s son from throwing around some ideas as to how to fix the problems at the core of Green Lantern—and we’re not just talking about Ryan Reynolds.
Mechanics & stakes of Green Lantern always bugged me. Ring that can do anything & you have a tough time winning fights? Hero, please!— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) January 13, 2017
This complaint has definitely been heard before. The fact that so many of Green Lantern’s battles turn into a question of whether or not his ring runs out of juice feels more like someone trying to watch movies on their phone on their way home at the end of a busy day, rather than a challenge worthy of a superhero.
So what’s the secret to fixing Green Lantern? According to Jones, it’s simple: instead of giving him a ring that suffers from battery problems, give him limitless creative power that requires original thought each time.
The limit on the rings power should not be about battery life, but the need to be original every time you use it.— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) January 13, 2017
Green Lantern should be about a simple-minded jock who has to come up with imaginative, new ideas every time he uses the ring.— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) January 13, 2017
The hook in the "dumb jock" version of Green Lantern is that he has the power, but lacks the wits to use it. Endearingly frustrating.— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) January 13, 2017
There may be something to this idea.
One of the biggest problems with Hal Jordan in the existing Green Lantern movie is that nobody identifies with him. In a quest to make the character fearless yet human, the movie instead paints him as arrogant, unreliable, and inconsiderate.
He’s utterly unlikeable, and not just because he’s played by Ryan Reynolds.
By contrast, Peter Sarsgaard’s Dr Hammond is a far more sympathetic character. He has daddy issues and tries to do the right thing, and he feels inferior to Hal Jordan because one of them is a Ryan Reynolds fighter pilot who always gets the girl, and the other, isn’t.
Of course any right-minded, sane person feels more empathy for Hector Hammond. He’s an actual human being.
Right up until (through no fault of his own) he gets possessed by alien goo and goes crazy. Totally not his fault.
Then there’s a scene where Ryan Reynolds hands over his power ring, fully aware that its space magic will hurt Hammond, because only Reynolds is “brave” enough to use it.
Just another reminder that Hal Jordan is handsome, charming, lucky, smart, capable of destroying government aircrafts without consequence, and the best with women. Also, as it turns out, he has magic space powers, and he’s not above lauding this over his sick friend.
Good luck seeing Green Lantern as anything other than a creep.
This is why Duncan Jones’ movie pitch works so well—his idea for Green Lantern involves a character who isn’t all-powerful and super talented at everything, or overly cocky and self-assured.
He’s struggle for real to think of ideas. He’d be desperately scratching his head, trying to figure out what to do next.
Audiences love a slow thinker. This would basically be Phillip J Fry with a power ring, and we all want to see that movie.
There’s one small downside, which is that an all-powerful magical item that can only perform each spell once already exists, and it belongs to Marvel. The Staff of One is pretty cool.
But hey, these comic book publishers have been swapping ideas forever. This is no big deal.