Green Lantern may be one of the most influential superhero movies of all time. Yes, I’m referring to 2011’s Green Lantern, starring Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan and Mark Strong as Sinestro. Yes, really, I’m talking about the movie in which the hero first uses his superpowers to beat up blue-collar workers who he angered when his decision to show off lost them their jobs.
To see that influence, you need to look not at the big screen, but at the small screen. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Green Lantern co-writer Greg Berlanti put it plainly. “[W]hile it was heartbreaking on the film side,” Berlanti said of the movie’s failure; “it ultimately led to wonderful things on the television side.” In other words, had Green Lantern been a success, Berlanti would have been stuck continuing work on DC movies, instead of creating the Arrowverse.
Of course, DC and Marvel have had their share of television hits and failures. But with the Arrowverse, DC has a series of shows that replicated the interconnected serialized storytelling of its comic books. Even as movies based on DC properties tend to do worse at the box office than their MCU counterparts, the Distinguished Competition repeatedly beats the House of Ideas on the small screen.