Beloved ’90s cartoon Captain Planet is soon going to make a comeback in the form of a new live-action movie, but new details on the film reveal this is not going to be the Captain Planet you remember.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the upcoming film’s screenwriter Glen Powell revealed that his take on Earth’s environmental defender will be quite a bit different from the one ’90s kids remember. “I mean they’ve tried to make it into a superhero movie before, but they kind of did like an earnest take and ours is way more subversive and fun and like dark and irreverent,” Powell told the outlet. He went on to say, “Sometimes you have to think of these things logically. If you have a blue superhero with a green mullet, you can’t do like an earnest take on that. You have to go at it from a fun [direction].”
On the one hand, we can see where Powell — who is making his screenwriting debut with the movie after acting in films like Hidden Figures and Everybody Wants Some! — is coming from. The original Captain Planet, as good as its intentions of teaching kids to take of the environment were, was extremely goofy, and any film adaptation probably shouldn’t be treated as a serious superhero movie. However, that doesn’t mean the film has to be a cynical farce just because its hero is blue with a green mullet. Just look at the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Marvel has made over $1.5 billion on two movies starring multiple green people, an angry bipedal raccoon, and a tree that can only say three words, and they’ve done so by making the movies fun while also having respect for the material and treating their characters seriously. Captain Planet could probably benefit from a similar approach, given the increased importance of its environmental message today, and maybe that’s what Powell was trying to say here if we’re giving him the benefit of the doubt. Even if that’s the case though, we still don’t think any Captain Planet adaptation should be “dark.” The dark and gritty Dark Knight clones are extremely played out at this point (just ask the DC Extended Universe) and making a Captain Planet movie unnecessarily dark sounds like the opposite of fun.
We’d be lying if we said Powell’s words were giving us a ton of confidence about this Captain Planet film, but it’s not like anything was going on with this franchise otherwise, so we’re willing to reserve final judgement until we learn more about this surreal adaptation of ’90s nostalgia. In the meantime, good luck getting this theme song out of your head.