The Flash/Green Lantern Team-Up Movie: Five Things We Hope to See

Arguably the most surprising, intriguing and exciting film teased in the recently-leaked slate of [...]

Arguably the most surprising, intriguing and exciting film teased in the recently-leaked slate of potential Warner Bros. Comic Con announcements is Flash/Green Lantern, a film that promises to take two characters from the Justice League movie everyone assumes will be a hit and spin them off not into solo franchises as expected, but into a team-up film not entirely dissimilar to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Warner executives have said that soon, it will be clear the ways in which they're trying to distinguish themselves from Disney and Marvel, clarifying differences between the two so that the DC Cinematic Universe doesn't feel like a second-rate imitation of the longer-established Marvel version.

Team-up films seems to be one way they're doing that; while Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the most obvious example of a Marvel movie that's clearly an Avengers lite, they still sold it as a solo movie with a strong supporting cast, rather than a co-headline. DC, on the other hand, seems eager to push the idea of the Justice League as the thing from which all else flows, with the first handful of movies featuring not just Justice League but some team-ups as well.

What do we hope to see in this particular team-up? Read on...

A sense of legacy

Both The Flash and Green Lantern are characters who have been replaced a number of times, and while it's unlikely we'll get name-drops of Alan Scott or Jay Garrick in the film, it would be nice if there was some sense of the characters being part of something bigger.

That's easier to do with Green Lantern, obviously, becuase the GL Corps are a big part of his mythology and it may well be that a different group of ring bearers could be the kind of threat that unifies he and Flash.

A sense of distinction

These films will be interesting because the characters will have already made a fairly clear impression on audiences in the recent past.

Green Lantern had a film adaptation just a few years ago and while it's not well-loved, it's certainly remembered (was it this year or last that SNL did a bit about the film?).

The Flash will debut as a TV series in the fall and it's probably not a stretch to say Warner Bros. hopes the show will still be running in 2016 or 2017 when these movies are starting to hit theaters.

So that means this film has the challenge of representing the characters in very different ways than previous/existing iterations while remaining true to the characters.

I guest-hosted The Flash Podcast this past week and actually suggested that one way around this could be to have the Green Lantern be John Stewart and The Flash be Wally West, so that not only are they not directly in conflict with the other versions of the characters, but the characters sync up with those from Justice League Unlimited, the animated series that is still the standard-bearer for the JLA in the minds of many casual viewers and non-comics-readers.

Tackle the big ideas

The Flash has the Speed Force and Green Lantern has the Corps, Oa and a deep well of mythology most recently explored by DC Entertainment's Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns.

Tackle that stuff quickly, address it in a way that makes it digestible for the casual fan, and move on. Don't dwell on it, don't feel obliged to build a movie around it, and for the love of God, leave the little details up to the fans' imaginations or to the solo films down the road. A team-up movie will have its work cut out for it just giving the characters development and screen time without spending huge chunks of time on the weird sci-fi elements of their origins.


One of the big question marks will be how the pair work together in Justice League, which will presumably be their first onscreen pairing. It will be absolutely necessary that they're differentiated from Superman and Batman's chemistry, say.

The upside? Depending on which Flash they use, it can become a buddy cop movie pretty easily.

Remember that Barry Allen is a CSI in his day job and that not only is John Stewart military, so he's got a bit of the uniforms-and-authority thing going on...but any Green Lantern is basically a cosmic cop. So pairing the two could be very natural.

That is, of course, just one idea -- and I'm not paid to write these things, so there are probably plenty of better ones.


All of that about chemistry said...

...for the love of God, no "versus" in the title. Once we move past the initial shock and suspicion of having metahumans in the world, let's not dwell on that indefinitely.

Also, it just sounds silly. When heroes meet, it's a trope that they fight first (even in recent works like The Avengers, long after that trope had been acknowledged and widely mocked). But by the time Flash/Green Lantern happens, they will have met years before. Time to act like heroes.