Saturday, November 5, 2011

Green Lantern

I don't have a whole lot to say about this one, other than that it didn't suck, but it wasn't very good either. It was kind of the cinematic equivalent of the bread basket you get at a nice restaurant. There's nothing really to complain about, but it's really just there to tide you over until some real food is served. But as a film taken on its own -- not to mention as an adaptation of one of the best comic book characters ever -- it fell flat and left me feeling pretty hungry for the main course that never actually came. Did I stretch that analogy too thin?

Green Lantern has always been one of my favorite super heroes, even though the name has been used by many characters with different personalities over the decades. This film centers around Hal Jordan, who wasn't the first Green Lantern, but he has always been the best, the most popular, and the most enduring. However, Ryan Reynolds played him as just another irreverent generic Hollywood superhero who cracks jokes more than he fights evil or rights wrongs, so the character's name really doesn't matter. This is going to sound geeky so I apologize to anybody who isn't a fan of the comics, but this film was like an adaptation of Guy Gardner's Green Lantern than they just named Hal Jordan. Translation: He was too funny and irreverent when he should've been heroic and stoic.

But I guess funny and irreverent made the Iron Man series a bundle of money, so that's what every comic book adaptation is going to be like. Well, it wasn't faithful to the original comics when they turned Iron Man into a comedian, and it was even less so when they did the same to Green Lantern. But at least Ryan Reynolds is a very charming, gifted actor who has excellent comic timing. I didn't appreciate how they made the character so funny, but at least he was funny.

Much better was the supporting cast. I'm not sure why Tim Robbins was in this movie, but he's always good and he was fun to watch here, even though his character served no actual purpose or added anything to the overall story. Blake Lively was good as Carol Ferris, who goes on to become Star Sapphire, at least in the comics, not here. She is mainly here to set up the character as the obligatory love interest, and has little do to beyond looking beautiful, but she sure pulled that off better than almost any woman I've ever seen before. Who is this actress and how come I've never seen her before? Peter Sarsgaard has a lot of fun as the villain Hector Hammond, but it was an odd interpretation of the character, and an odd choice to have as one of the main adversaries in the film.

Best of all was Mark Strong, who was brilliant and perfectly cast as Sinestro. He looked like he flew right out of the comics, and gave the best and most engaging performance in the film. He stole every scene he was in, which were far too infrequent. Unfortunately he didn't have enough to do, since it was clear they were just setting him up to be the main villain in the sequel. Yeah, good luck with that.

As a straight up space opera, it had a lot of potential, since the film really shined during all the scenes where the characters were not on Earth. Visually it looked amazing, with exceptional special effects and really good representations of the planet Oa and the various alien Green Lantern Corps members like Abin Sur, Kilowog, and Tomar-Re. Heck, the fact that they even had these characters in the film at all is cool, but having them be done well was awesome. I even liked the look of the costume, even if the design was weird and it looked like skin.

Parallax was a let down, however. The character was given no depth, no real motivation, and looked like a muppet. As villains go, this was one of the worst and most unengaging I've seen in a long time, and the final battle between him (it?) and Green Lantern was pathetic.

But then, it was hard to have a satisfying finale since the entire film felt so flaccid and stale. It had no real character development beyond starting with a guy who makes jokes and says he's irresponsible, to ending with a guy who makes jokes and says he's now responsible. And where was the action? I think Green Lantern used his ring maybe three times, and almost never too good effect. I want to see Green Lantern punching lots of stuff, not flying into space and fighting a CG muppet.

Anyway, Green Lantern. It's worth checking out for some of the visuals, the performance by Mark Strong, and to look at Blake Lively. But if you want a great comic book adaptation, go rent Thor instead.


Justin Garrett Blum said...

I still want to see this for the CG, but I don't think I'm going to enjoy it very much based off of what I've heard. Too bad. It had potential to be pretty cool.

Mugato said...

I don't like the comedic styling of superheroes. Like, was Iron Man every supposed to be funny? This is why I like what they have dome with Batman, he's a boring prick.