Green Lantern: The Comic Books vs. The Movie

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 8:03 am,

green lantern comic books versus movie Green Lantern: The Comic Books vs. The Movie

Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern – starring Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, Blake Lively as Carol Ferris, and Mark Strong as Sinestro – has taken a ferocious critical beating – not the least of which was from our very own Kofi Outlaw.

For all intents and purposes, the Green Lantern film is a very streamlined adaptation of Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern: Secret Origin comic book – with other elements, events, and characters awkwardly thrown in for good measure.

The purpose of this article is to compare and contrast the various elements, characters, etc. that are shared between the Green Lantern comic books and movie,  in an attempt to deduce which medium did the better job. For example, if the movie did a better job, the movie gets a point. If the comic books did a better job, the comic book gets a point. At the end, we’ll tally the points on either side and see which medium — The Comic Books or The Movie — comes out on top.

FAIR WARNING: If you really, really loved the film and really, really hate snark, you’re really, really, not going to like this article.


The Mask (Comic Book vs. The Movie)

green lantern comic book movie masks Green Lantern: The Comic Books vs. The Movie

Advantage: The Comic Books – I shouldn’t even have to explain this. Just look at them! One’s an actual domino mask, and the other’s a veritable nose amplifier made from what appears to be green jellyfish flesh.

The Costume (Comic Book vs. The Movie)

green lantern costumes comic book versus movie Green Lantern: The Comic Books vs. The Movie

Advantage: The Comic Books – The movie costume doesn’t look as bad as some feared, but an iconic look is iconic for a reason.

The Green Lantern Corps

What little we see of the Green Lantern Corps — Kilowog, Tomar-Re, and so forth — the Guardians, and Oa gives us the impression that they’re nearly identical to their comic book counterparts (save, perhaps, Oa, which at times looks strikingly different). Unfortunately, we see so little of them in the film that they’re scarcely worth mentioning. The comic has had ample time to give all these characters wonderful depth and complexity – which has only improved since the release of Geoff Johns’ Secret Origins. Unfortunately, the movie chose to focus on other things…

green lantern comic book points Green Lantern: The Comic Books vs. The Movie

You can multiply this by 3: The comics do the mask, costume and corps better than the movie.

Next, Hal Jordan…

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  1. yeah this article was just a way for the writer to take shots at the movie, granted the comic is superior which everyone always expected, but come on we get it its not the comic book give it a rest.. and the movie was pretty good not nearly as bad as people say.

  2. Gotta agree with a lot of the comments on here. This seems like a silly article that was simply written with the intention of bashing on the GL film from the start. Losing a lot of respect for SR for continuing to post such patronizing, biased articles on their site.

  3. Of course the comics are gonna be better. I’d say the same thing about the new Batman movies as well.

    • Ditto that.

  4. Great article Ben .
    Maybe you could write similar articles for Cowboys and Aliens and Captain America .

  5. I liked the “snark” warning. Haha

  6. I started reading the article but quit reading when it started to read as movie bashing. I am a huge gl fan and I thought the movie was a c. The comic vs movie comparrisons were just dumb. Abin sir winning in the comic over the movie is just wrong. Abon sur was barely given any back story in the comics until moors wrote the prophecy arc and then geoff expanded in his writings. I actually cared more for the character in the movies than in the comics. Forgive the spelling, writing on my phone

  7. You know, this whole GL movie is stirring up a lot of controversy. Fans vs Critics though I have to agree with most critics since I felt majority of the way the did about the movie. To me its all preference and people really need to get over it. This article was pretty neat and I enjoyed reading it. It had insight and research to back it up, I cant really see how anyone can call it bashing as it was just a simple comparison like apples and oranges. I just cant wait til Cap and Cowboys (or Transformers) comes out so we can all move on to the next movie and be on with our lives.


  8. Ahh angry GL film fans :D. This is classic anger.

    • I would say the anger is not limited to just the GL movie fans. There was plenty of anger in the article and he is obviously NOT a gl movie fan.

      • Sorry, Ink — but what anger? Show me where I was angry in the article. You’re going to be hard-pressed because it didn’t happen.

        • Ink is just a very sensitive person.

  9. Youre whole article seemed one sided on comic books try fitting a crapload of comic book material into a 2 hr movie u cant. Granted green lantern wasnt the best film but comic book won every time. You should change this article to “green lantern movie sucked compared to comic heres why”

  10. Silly article. So far, Ben and Kofi hate GL the movie. I get it.

    Can we move on please?

  11. Why is it that every time a comic film comes out and someone doesn’t like it and voices that opinion people get mad and say they’re insulting the ones who do. And the ones who do like it say that the ones who don’t are snobs? Does it really matter?

    If you like the film that’s cool. If you didn’t that’s cool too. Its just art. So stop caring what other people think and be happy for yourself. There’s seriously a lot more to life than arguing over the opinion of an article that’s based of a comic. And seriously think about the fact that its a comic film.

  12. Green Lantern reminds me of GI Joe and all the agruments that started with that. When i firsf watch GI Joe i hated it. When i re-watched it with my cousin on DVD and actually wasnt that bad just a fun little summer flick. What I have come to understand is that both these movies were written for children 10&under and should be taken as such. The reason pepople (myself included) gives this movie so much heat&grief is because with all its mythologhy (which i recently researched) a really deep story could have been fleshed out akin to Batman Begins. Personally, I would have filmed the movie with Training Day as sort of a guide and focused the entire 2nd act om training&GL mythology. I would never return Hal to earth (maybe at the end) and made the story about capturing Abin-Sur’s killer. A grest imsge i had for this film was the Catina Bar at Mos Esley where Sinestro would show Hal some of the most vile creatures of universe and why the GL needs to strike fear in these “villanous animals not guide them to glory as those pompous Guardians would have you.”

    To comment on the article at hand I actually thought the updated GL uniform made sense. The comics use a costume which looks to earthly for an intergalactic peace corp. I felt the suit should look as alien as possible.


    • Great points all around.

  13. what’s become of my beloved screenrant?
    I’ve always come here for solid movie news and analysis but this green lantern business has me quite put off. I’ve already expressed my opinion about the review of the movie but this article too felt needless. There is no point in comparing any book to its movie adaptation. There will absolutely be differences. You didnt compare and contrast the harry potter books did you? or xmen? or V for vendetta? You must separate the two from eachother or you will be disappointed every time. The film did its best can we just leave it alone already and get back to the coherent, relevant, and solid articles that made screenrant what it is?

    • I agree.Whats up with this screenrant?

      • was about to write the same thing, like i said in a previous post, screenrant is going down hill…

        are you going to threaten to ban these two people aswel vic? smh…

        • @ Red Skull
          You should be banned, all of your posts are negative and annoying, not just on this site either I saw your post at JenniferxJoseph….
          Red Skull Beats says:Jun 18, 2011
          Reply: a much better reveiw than, i really enjoyed this movie and im a fan of the comics i think i would give 8-10 purely because the ending seemed a little rushed and i wished it had gone on for longer lol, but hey hopefully they will have an entended dvd version! also my mum really enjoyed the film and shes never read a comic in her life, so this film can appeal to fanboys and average movie goers alike.

          At least your consistent in your trollish ways, loser.

          • @ Vic
            Looks like Red Skull is trying to sully your good name across the web, I say the BAN HAMMER needs to be thrown down upon him.

            • It’s his opinion. If Ben can give his then why can’t Red Skull give his. BTW does not link back to this site. Also, Timothy, you may have a stalking problem. Do I care for his posts? No. BUt his opinion is no different than anyone else, everyone has one … or two … or twenty.

              • Yes, we have gone over the “everyone has their opinion” argument a thousand times and it was just that, my opinion, and if you weren’t picking up on the BAN HAMMER sarcasm, sorry.

                • Also, from the looks of all the comments, Ben apprently is not entitled to his opinion.

                    • On ocassion some do like a suck up, if you hate this site so much why do you visit it?

                    • i do not hate this site, i love this site, ive been visiting this site for years and have promoted it on my fb and twitter. i just dont like how certain articles have been written and a few other things but i have said my bit, it is what it is.


  14. For the record, I don’t mind that this article was written, but I suppose I’m one of these people who didn’t like the movie either 😛

    But even if I had liked the movie, I enjoy comparing things and this was actually a well-written article that covered all the main points of contention. I didn’t think it was too snarky, either, despite the warning.

    The only thing I really had an issue with was the statement at the end, but we’re already discussing that in an earlier post…

    I am shocked, though, to see so many passionate defenders of this film. Forgive my suspicions, but I almost have to wonder just how many of you all already made up your minds to defend this movie even before going to see it, just ’cause you’re DC fans and don’t want to see any risk of Warner Bros. quitting making films of your favorite superheroes.

    Sorry, had to say it.

    • Took the words out of my mouth

    • Nope, I honestly enjoyed the movie. Had very little to do with my preconceptions.

    • …but that’s the problem: It may have been well-written. Was it, however, necessary or worthwhile or sensible? No…It was NOT, by a long shot. It WAS quite snarky in its tone and absolutely pointless at this stage of ScreenRant’s coverage of the film. Everyone here knows a lot of people hated the film, just as quite a few really enjoyed it. If this comparison piece had been done before the review came out or even before the film’s release (no, saying a lot of information would’ve been unknown because of the film not having yet been seen is not wholly valid, since a number of the concepts compared were already known or guessed), maybe, this article would not be ruffling so many feathers.

      It’s tone complements PERFECTLY the tone of the film review; they are companion pieces (whether intentionally, or not…I’d guess the former). As such, it is most certainly OVERKILL.

      • I said we’re done. But you’re tempting me to go back through hundreds of comments from visitors on all our coverage slamming the LIVING HELL out of this movie sight unseen prior to its release and posting them here. Tons of people bagged on this film for months and months prior to its release, and now that in our opinion it turned out to match those expectations, despite the fact that we were cheerleaders for the movie throughout all that time, we’ve gotten no mercy.

        That’s my final word on this (for reals).


        • Vic…

          I just saw your comment AFTER I had already posted my two to Phil. I had not seen an earlier post on this thread from, so I did not realize you had said to stop.

          • Neither did I on posts above.

    • Phil…

      One more thing: Your suspicions, quite simply, are wrong. I enjoyed the film, but I also enjoyed “Thor” and “X-Men: First Class”. By the same token, years ago (when superhero movies were NOT as much of a certainty as they are or, at least, recently have been), I despised “Batman and Robin” and “Superman IV”…and Batman is my favorite comic hero! I wanted more Batman…but not if it was going to be crap. So…no, your theory is NOT correct.

  15. This comparison wasn’t fair at all — more often than not comic book adaptations fail to live up to their source material for various reasons. Movies like The Dark Knight, Iron Man, or the Spiderman franchise (not counting 3) are the exception, not the rule. Yes, Green Lantern sucked objectively, but being better compared to the comics would’ve been a long shot no matter the circumstances.

    • Where does fair and opinion come into the mix? It’s the writters opinion, not an absolute statement to be implanted in society for life. Basically it’s not a fact.

  16. Wow..This GL thing is getting out of hand. The comics will be better than a movie version any day of the week. The story has so much time to develop compared to an two hour movie. Although, I do feel the suit is better in idea than execution with the film. The suit makes more sense in the film, it just didn’t come out to great with the mask and all.

  17. I loved it and can’t wait for the second.

  18. Lol, i can’t believe all this Green Lantern controversy gettin outta hand on this site myself. Theres plenty of comic book based films that were worse than what people exaggerate about this film. Give it a rest already. As for the pictures above, ill state my opinion, i didn’t mind GL’s mask in the film except when it glowed green. And i liked GL’s costume from the comics more than the film’s costume of-course but how many superhero films are there now that they’ve changed the costume a bit or more so? Bottomline i enjoyed the film & maybe more people would like it more if it was longer.

  19. Going into the Green Lantern movie, I had decades of GL comics under my belt. The character has long been one of my favorites, in any incarnation or version. When the Geoff Johns era began, it simply reignited (pun intended) my passion for the character. With such a history of my own with the book, I was both excited and nervous when the movie was announced. Then I saw the reviews, and my heart sank a little bit, but I went into the movie with an open mind, and high expectations. Was it perfect? No. Was it a really good, fun, action/adventure, sci-fi, superhero film? Absolutely. Am I biased because I’m a life long fan? Maybe a little bit, but I’ll call a duck a duck, and if it was as horrid as so many critics are making it out to be, I’d be in line with them; if only to defend the character I love so dearly. But now, with these continued articles saying how bad this movie is supposed to be, this site’s writers are becoming that which no likes – a bully. You didn’t like it. Move on. You’re just making yourselves look more and more petty. I, and I would guess most of your readers, would like to think you’re better than that.

    • Oh, please. No one is telling you NOT to like a movie, but you’re saying it’s NOT OK to criticize it. Plays, movies, books, comics…they all put themselves out into the public arena to be judged. Being a critic is not being a bully. Never was and never will be.

      • Actually, lots of people are saying to NOT see this movie. That’s the point of critics. They advise people of what to spend their money on, and what not to. Of course all of those things put themselves out to be viewed by the public, but not to be judged. They are put out there to be seen, heard, and hopefully, enjoyed. If judging is why you go see entertainment media, then I feel sorry for you. And to contradict another point of yours, yes, some critics are bullies. Not all are, but some take the role they were given, and use it as a place to sling barbs and insults. If you had taken the time to read my post, you would have seen that I said I would have supported the unearned critiques that the movie is garnering. However, I liked it. Not because someone told me to, but because I chose to.

        • From Wikipedia: Bullying is abusive treatment, the use of force or coercion to affect others,[2] particularly when habitual and involving an imbalance of power. It may involve verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed persistently towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, sex or ability.[3][4]


          • I would argue the point that you used Wikipedia to cite a proper definition, but at this point, it’s just funny. Think what you will, and I’ll keep to my thoughts. As I told someone earlier, as of this point in time, it’s better to agree to disagree.

  20. OK guys, listen up.

    Believe it or not, we love comic-book/superhero movies around here. We just hold them to a high standard – we want them to be great on EVERY level and not just “entertainment.”

    Having said that, we’re done writing and talking about Green Lantern here on the site. Here’s hoping that Captain America is a really great movie because we don’t want to go through this all over again. And oh yeah, we hope Transformers 3 turns out to be great as well.

    That is all.


    Vic Holtreman

    • Burn him with fire! LOL, just kidding. We’ll stop the stupid rant. Although the movie was actually bad…

    • Not done forever, I hope. I havent seen it yet. I’m bummed. I am not happy, man.:(

  21. Meh. WB’s will make up for whatever GL loses with Potter profits and Hangover 2 profits, along with Dark Knight Rises profits. They just need to get better writers and a better director for the sequel and maintain budget discipline. Reynolds and the rest of the cast did as good as they could, despite mediocre writing.

  22. I haven’t even finished half of this yet and I don’t really get the point… I mean, of course the comic is better! Everyone who’s ever read a comic knows that there aren’t many comic movies that worked better than the comic it’s based off of. TDK is the only movie that comes to mind as perhaps better in some ways than the comics(but not really).

    Nevertheless, this is still a fun article to read even though it’s just pointing out the obvious…

  23. Is it just me or when you were watching the film and saw what they did with Paralax think “OMGOSH, they just pulled a Galactus in Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer?!”… Cause I did 😛

  24. Why are the animated movies so good? and the cinematic movies like crap?

    • Yeah danny I asked that in the FC discussions and that’s the article I want to read and weighed in on? It’s like anyone doing live action can’t be bothered to learn from the animated stuff…

    • @ dannyboy

      You know ive said this more than once before. WB should take a chance at requesting Bruce Timm & Co of makin the jump to making live-action film adaptions of DC comic heroes. They had success with their animated series from Batman:TAS-JLU, not to mention some feature length dvd movies. I know id ask if they’d be interested but thats just me.

  25. You really didn’t like Watchman??? I love that movie! I thought Zack did a great job.

    • I did to Lynch i bought the graphic novel because of it!

  26. I’m a big Green Lantern defender, always have been, always will be. I don’t like comic books, but Hal Jordan has been my favorite super hero since I was 4, and that made the idea of this film very exciting (and, interestingly enough, it got me interested in other comic book adaptations that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen). And I was not disappointed by the film. It wasn’t a piece of cinematic greatness, but I’ve yet to see a comic book movie that was (not even The Dark Knight…I like all of Nolan’s other movies far more than his Batman movies). So, my point is, I am NOT a DC fanboy or a comic fan, and I liked the movie.

    However, if I did care about comic books, or the superhero genre, as Vic and the rest of the writers at Screen Rant do, then I would probably be pretty disappointed as well. Even though I liked Green Lantern and thought that the negative reviews were a little out of line, I don’t see anything wrong with the article and I can see how the screenwriters dropped the ball in many places. The vitriol and the snark are a hell of a lot of fun to read, and I’m betting were even more fun to write. Like many here, I think that it’s unfortunate that the movie probably won’t get a sequel to show the battle between Hal and Sinestro (which, let’s be honest, should have been done in the first film instead of the Parallax/Hammond debacle) because the reviews deterred audiences from coming out…But, come on folks, chill out. Maybe somewhere down the line Hal Jordan will get another chance on the big screen.

  27. To everyone who enjoyed the film (like me), just ignore the people who didn’t like it. If they don’t well hey they have one less movie to like. No need to fight about it because we simply can’t change another persons mind. The film was good to me, and shows that DC has potential to do other films other then relying on Chris Nolan. Did the first one have flaws? Yes. But does that mean they can work on the back story for the sequel(s)? Absolutely. Production was rushed and were more focused on looks. And now that they have an idea on what will most lanterns look like, they can work more on the back story more, if they start production this summer and release it in 2013. I have hope for this film. So it is time for some enjoyment, and not stress with others about it.

  28. @ Kofi and Ben……

    The biggest problem imho with this movie is it suffered from its own history. I mean just LOOK at what was written in this article. You tell me (and the rest of us) just how the hell are you supposed to compile and condense ALL of that into a 2hr flick while still trying to keep the story centered on Hal Jordan? (oh and to get to turning Sinestro into the bad guy for the next film) I imagine that was the very same thought going through the writers minds as they tried to write the script. It’s just WAY too much and too complex so they ended up changing a lot of things…..a LOT.

    I find it more than a bit strange though that both of you, who profess to be HC comicbook fans, ragged on this movie for not staying true to the comics (and failed because if it as we see from this article) but yet did a complete 180 when it came to XMFC which had at LEAST as many grievous continuity issues. You can’t have it both ways…..if you are going to nit pick the hell out of one film and call it bad because of straying from the canon then you HAVE to be consistent and do it to the other. So which is it? Was XMFC just as bad for doing EXACTLY what you claim GL did or were they both good?

    I personally thought GL, wasn’t the best film out there by any means but in no way did it deserve the ripping you guys gave it (and continue to) for the reasons you are professing. I would have done things a bit differently myself (ok a LOT differently in come places) but I was at LEAST able to enjoy it within it’s own context (exactly what you all claim you did when yuo watched and commented on enjoying XMFC)

  29. Nothing new to see because of Green Lantern. I’m not a fan of the comic book series, but I think this is the worst movie since Jonah Hex and 2003′s Hulk.