I don't care how crazy everyone seems to think Tom Cruise is in his personal life, the man is an accomplished actor and he's worked with almost every great director we've had (Scorsese, Spielberg, Kubrick, Anderson (P.T.), Pollack, Stone) and almost always turns in a dynamite performance. I don't care how many couches he jumps on or how much into Scientology he is, the man can act.
And what this genre of film needs is talented, fearless actors to fill the parts of superheroes. They need depth and vulnerability. Look at what Robert Downey, Jr. did with Iron Man. Or Christian Bale with Batman.
Tom Cruise can do it.
Watching some clips of him being a badass in more than a dozen movies made me realize that I want to see him as a superhero. Ethan Hunt is already halfway there. And what woman wouldn't salivate to get the man in suit of tights?
It's box-office gold.
But which character should he portray?
I've put a lot of thought into this, and the two I think he would have been best at are already gone. The first was Tony Stark. He's right for the part, but who knows if he would have handled it as well as Robert Downey?
The next part was as Ozymandius in Zack Snyder's Watchmen. I'd heard he'd been rumoured for the part and it would have been brilliant. His super-stardom would have fit the smaller names in the film perfectly with that character. And it would have given him a chance to show us is dark side again. But some other dude got the part and we'll see how well that turns out. (Not a big fan of the way 300 turned out, to be honest.)
So who does that leave for a man of his stature?
And then I got to thinking... It's simple.
He could knock the Green Lantern movie out of the park. It's a perfect fit. I mean aside from the mutual fighter-pilot backgrounds and the chiseled look. Hal Jordan played by Tom Cruise has a synergy to it that a Green Lantern movie would need. Let's be honest, Green Lantern has always been a first stringer in the minds of comic-nerds like us, but outside of our circles, who the hell knows anything about the Green Lantern?
10 bucks says half of them don't even know he's on the Justice League and even less than that could tell you that he was a test pilot.
$100 says that outside of comic nerds, they wouldn't know who the hell Abin Sur is. Hell, I'm sure you Marvel nerds are reading that and scratching your heads.
Did normal people know who Iron Man was before Favreau's kickass movie? Maybe, but I doubt it.
But it doesn't matter.
EVERYONE knows who Tom Cruise is.
He practically rules the world.
Green Lantern could be the DC/Warner Bros. equivalent to Iron Man with this formula. And then if they ever get Goyer's "Super Max" off the ground, they could introduce Green Arrow into the fray. A Brave and the Bold movie with say, Matt Damon, as Green Arrow would be the perfect sequel to a kick-ass Green Lantern movie and the perfect DC counter-punch to the Avengers movie in 2011. (Because, let's face it, DC is doomed to never get Batman and Superman into the same movie, no matter how much they teased us about it in I Am Legend.)
Maybe, I'm wrong. What do you guys think? Is there a better person for Tom Cruise to play? Is there a better Green Lantern out there?
UPDATE: Budgetron has asked me to highlight a few individual issues to read to prove how "human" Hal Jordan was. The first book I would point people to is Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier. The beginning centers around Hal and his fighter pilot past and his eventual turn into the Green Lantern. The great thing about Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern books is that Hal is merely a human being, granted an extraordinary power by an intergalactic police force, the Guardians of Oa. His story is essentially "The Last Starfighter" but cooler. And that movie played to audiences really well.
The plot of a Green Lantern movie could be about this cocky military test pilot, who takes stupid risks, but has a basic level of altruism. Page 10 or 15 of the script would see his test plane crashing into Abin Sur's vehicle. He ejects, they both go down, Abin Sur bestows him the ring, etc. He keeps the ring a secret, doesn't know what to do with it, but gets into a situation that he would normally stay out of, but the ring won't let him stay out. As the ring is activated, the Guardians of Oa come down to find him and bring him home to help them face the largest threat to the Green Lantern corps, which is Sinestro. Hal goes, helps them, comes back as a hero.
The sequel could have him start going a little crazy, somethings a little off kilter, but he dispatches the threat at the end of the movie.
The third movie in the cycle would actually be the Batman/Superman movie and Hal could be the villain, running about the galaxy killing Green Lanterns .
Also, Entertainment Weekly posted a review of Geoff John's upcoming Green Lantern: Secret Origins at midnight (right when I posted this) and recommended it specifically for fans of " '80s Tom Cruise movies in which he plays one of those young dudes who's brash, and yet filled with promise."
(Be sure to check out Swank-mo-tron's other columns. Particularly this one, about how Batman could be the greatest scripted drama on television.)