Ryan Reynolds Get Real About Why His Infamous Green Lantern Movie ‘Didn’t Work’

Ryan Reynolds on Green Lantern poster
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Unless you’ve been living free of movies and TV, you’ll know that the superhero genre has been absolutely dominating the industry for the last decade and change. And while this is showing no sign of slowing down, there have been some notable missteps along the way. Ryan Reynolds is synonymous with his time in the Deadpool franchise, but he also played the title character of the ill-fated Green Lantern movie. And Reynolds recently got real about why his DC flick “didn’t work.” Let’s hear what he’s got to say.

Ryan Reynolds is known for constantly poking fun at the disappointing box office and critical performance of the 2011 Green Lantern movie. He even included it in the wild post-credis scene of Deadpool 2. The producer/writer/actor recently appeared at the Just For Laughs comedy festival (via Variety), where he opened up about what went wrong with his one and only movie playing Hal Jordan. In his words:

Too much time, too much money. … There was just too many people spending too much money and when there was a problem rather than say, ‘Okay, let’s stop spending on special effects and let’s think about character. How do we replace this big spectacle thing – that isn’t working at all – with something that’s character based?’ and that just never – the thinking was never there to do that. And to their credit, it’s a very old school way of looking at things. It’s just ‘Let’s just keep spending our way through this.’ And that was – it didn’t work.

Ouch. Ryan Reynolds was no doubt psyched to be playing a beloved DC superhero in Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern, but seemingly saw things going awry as production was underway. And from his perspective, the bomb came largely because folks were throwing money at issues, rather than trying to really solve them. And that includes a less-than-stellar personal story for characters like Hal Jordan and Blake Lively’s Carol Ferris. 

Ryan Reynolds’ comments offer what he thinks went wrong on Green Lantern, and it makes a great deal of sense. While there was A+ talent like he, Blake Lively and Taika Waititi, the final product was a bit of a CGI mess. I mean, just look at the uncanny valley involved with Reynolds’ mask once he powered up.

Later in that same appearance at the Just For Laughs festival, Ryan Reynolds also spoke to the positives of working on Green Lantern. In addition to bonding with his future wife and mother of his children Blake Lively on the project, he also admitted that he had a great time filming the ill-fated blockbuster. As Reynolds put it:

At the same time, there are 185 people that worked on that movie, they all had an amazing time, we loved shooting it. Truly, shooting the movie was a lot of fun. But, you know, sitting in that premiere, watching that, oh my God. It’s tough.

Points were made. Because while being a movie star is a dream for many, it’s definitely got its downsides. And that includes having to dress up and watch the premiere of movies… even if they’re bad. Ryan Reynolds understandably had a hard time watching the theatrical cut of Green Lantern, and probably knew the franchise was DOA. Hey, at least he’s been able to poke fun at the situation as years went by.

Luckily Ryan Reynolds has found his place in teh superhero genre, thanks to the massively popular Deadpool franchise. And while fans have been left waiting for a few years, a threequel is currently in development at Marvel. And it’ll include Hugh Jackman’s return as Wolverine.

Deadpool 3 will hit theaters on November 8th, 2024. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.