There are times when I become horribly confused as to what the majority of critics are thinking. This is one of those times.
Green Lantern has been getting thrashed left and right by professionally paid critics. I read one critic say that Wolverine was a better movie than it. Wolver-God-damn-ine! Let me tell you that this thing is false. All of these negative comments are false, in as much as an opinion can be false. I have seen this movie. It is a good movie. It is pure fantasy and spectacle taken to its highest form. It’s not the deepest movie of the summer, nor even the best, but damn is it a fun time.
Green Lantern, for those of you who don’t know anything about the character…well first of all, shame on you. Go read Green Lantern. It’s one of the best books currently being produced. Anyways, Green Lantern is about a universal peace keeping force called the Green Lantern Corps. The Corps is able to harness the raw energy of willpower, in this case colored green, and use it to create anything their minds can come up with. They manifest this power through their rings, rings which are automatically passed on to a worthy inheritor in the event of a Lantern’s death. Enter Hal Jordan, as played by Ryan Reynolds in the film, and the plot of our movie.
Abin Sur, the greatest of Green Lanterns, has just been murdered by a creature pretty much comprised of 100% concentrated tentacle flavored yellow fear called Parallax. By the way, yellow is the color of fear, much like green is willpower. Abin has just enough time to select a new ring bearer from the nearest inhabited planet, which just happens to be Earth. Hal, a cocky test pilot who has some real hang ups involving his dad who died testing planes, is the first human to ever join the Corps. This means that he has a lot to prove to the other Lanterns and to himself, as a Green Lantern is supposed to be one without fear. So Hal has to figure out how to be all that he can be as a magic ring powered space police officer and fight an intergalactic horror that is the personification of all that is fear which has the power to destroy worlds in minutes while at the same time overcoming the fear that comes with having to live up to his father’s legacy and get over the crippling fear that what happened to dad could happen to him. So there’s all that in the movie. Plus Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond, a friend of Hal’s and a scientist who gets infected with a little bit of Parallax and becomes a big headed telepathic freak with a penchant for homicide. Oh, he also acts as a beacon for Parallax.
Now as I said before, I don’t get where the majority of critics are coming from with this thing at all. Let’s talk about some of their complaints, shall we? They said the pacing was off. I can agree in part if we are talking about the Hector Hammond scenes. Now I, for one, enjoyed the character of Hammond and how creepy and pathetic he got when he got all big headed. This is a guy who had been crapped upon his entire life, then suddenly is able to hear the thoughts of those closest to him and confirm what he fears they’re thinking about him. And then he learns he is able to kill them with his mind. That’s a lot of pressure for the poor lil’ bugger. In a way, we kind of want to root for the guy because we like rooting for the underdog.
However, his part in the movie is pretty useless. His only real accomplishment is to bring Parallax to Earth, something that could have been accomplished by simply using Abin Sur’s body. So while I enjoyed the character, they probably could have used the time better to explore more of the world of the Green Lantern Corps themselves. Speaking of which, let’s talk about the Corps.
We don’t get to spend much time on Oa with Hal. Oa, by the way, is the home planet of the Green Lantern Corps. They have great actors like Geoffrey Rush as Tomar-Re, Michael Clarke Duncan as Kilowog, Mark Strong as Sinestro, but they’re barely used. Tomar-Re is the wise character, Kilowog is there to beat the crap out of Hal for five minutes and Sinestro is there to obviously be evil in the future. Seriously guys, his name is Sinestro. Why would you let someone named Sinestro into your peace keeping force? Its like trusting someone called Hank Evilguy! He even has a pencil thin mustache! You’ve gotta know what you’re doing here!
Sorry, pet peeve. I’ll continue.
Let’s talk about the positives. Yes, we don’t get a lot of quality time on Oa, this is true. But what time we do get is visually spectacular. It shows just what these rings can do. All these aliens, all the ring constructs, it really sets the stage for what is to come. This is perhaps the primary reason to see this movie. Ring stuff. You see sword fights with rings. Rings holding up boulders. Rings making jet fighters. Rings throwing things at other things. Rings making miniature suns with realistic gravity. If at the end of this movie you don’t want one of these damn rings there is something wrong with you.
And let’s talk about Hal Jordan for a second. Specifically, Ryan Reynolds’ interpretation of Hal Jordan. I really liked this guy. He was a cocksure ass in the traditional vein of Tony Stark and Wolverine and movie Thor. This guy knows he’s awesome…except when there’s that little hint of vulnerability. Reynolds does the whole thing perfectly. Also, his romance with Carol Ferris, as played by Blake Lively, is rather subdued and underplayed. That’s actually a compliment, really. Again, a comparison to Iron Man, but its like how Tony knew Pepper for years and there was an obvious tension between the two but things…mostly Tony being Tony…kept getting in the way. Same thing here. Man, when you really look at things they really wanted Green Lantern to be DC’s Iron Man.
Perhaps I was just looking for something different with this movie. I dunno. I am a fan of the comics, but I try not to let that cloud my judgement. Hell, I’m a bigger fan of Transformers and, while I can enjoy those movies, I surely am aware of their flaws as well. I just think this is a highly entertaining movie. It’s kind of like Iron Man Lite. A cocky and arrogant man with a wicked humorous streak is forced to become a hero and atone for some type of sin in their past while proving to themselves that they are more than the shallow playboy they try to be. Just replace robots with ring stuff and you have Green Lantern. Or, to sum it up even further: if you like superhero movies, give this a shot.
|Lots of great superhero action with tons of creativity put into the ring constructs. Ryan Reynolds is terrific as Hal. Its pretty much as good a Green Lantern movie as I would have wanted.||Some unnecessary scenes and one unnecessary but entertaining character that takes away time that could have been used to develop the Corps. and its mythology more. We don't really get to see the Corps. do anything. This is a Hal Jordan movie.|