Micah Reviews: The Green Lantern
About a week ago I told Jack that he could review “The Green Lantern”. I hadn’t seen it yet, but assumed it would be like most of the other comic book movies this summer. Now though, after two watches (editor’s note: Watches is not a word in that context. Micah’s gone a little power crazy as you’ll see) I find myself already abusing my head writing powers (editor’s note: he has none) and taking on the reviewing of DC Comics’ latest flick.
Comic book movies have evolved significantly from the days of Superman in the 80/90’s. There’s a strong emphasis on a sort of dark, gritty realism being pushed. After all, arguably the best comic book movie ever (The Dark Knight) ate grit for breakfast and was so dark they were required by the American film association to put the word in the title. This years summer releases have continued the trend. “X-men: First Class” took a hard look at the line between good and evil and involved some harsh punishments and real tragedies. While “Thor” (a movie I had extremely low expectations for) actually came across quite well despite being full of Norse mythology and bridges made from the tears of a thousand rainbows (or something). The Green Lantern is easily compared to Thor because both movies chose to go away from the current, realism emphasizing norm. As you’ll see in the scathing paragraphs to come though, it’s not exactly a favorable comparison.
The movie starts with a narration voiced by Geoffrey Rush (Captain Barbosa from Pirates) chronicling the beginning of the Green Lantern Corp. That’s just fun to type by the way. Green Lantern Corp!! Anyway, any movie that starts with Geoffrey Rush saying “green lantern corp!!!” definitely has a lot of potential to it. Unfortunately, directly after this triumphant moment the movie takes a left turn at “Laughably Unfortunate Naming Station”… that joke went better in my head… Geoffrey Rush (of the Green Lantern Corp!!) informs us that the greatest threat ever to the Corp was someone named Parallax who was captured and imprisoned in “the Lost Sector.”
Literally the next shot is an alien ship that has crashed on Planet 74381 (not the actual numbers) in “the Lost Sector.” Three aliens are walking away from the crash site one of whom transmits the following distress signal “We’ve crash landed in the Lost Sector please send assistance immediately.” Apparently “the lost sector” is not all that lost. I mean the pilot seems totally okay with the fact that he’s crashed there and is fully aware of exactly where he is. If I were to name something “the lost sector” I would put it in a place where it would be LOST like under my bed or beneath the large selection of weights that I totally have.
Also, were I to capture the most dangerous threat to The Green Lantern Corp!!, in history I would probably endeavor to bury him more than four feet underground. Said alien pilots crack through the earth, tumble down to the ground, and low and behold there’s Parallax just waiting to suck out there souls and escape “the Lost Sector.”
Parallax kills some purple skinned Green Lantern, who puts up about as good a fight as Hilary Clinton would in a grudge match against Mike Tyson, and where should said Lantern find his badly wounded purple body going but the Lost sector! I mean earth.
Okay so for the sake of time I’ll summarize the rest of the plot real fast. Hal Jordan (a cocky, entitled test pilot), gets a ring from the purple dude who got his butt kicked by Parallax, and joins The Green Lantern Corp!! Meanwhile Hector Hammond (a xenobiologist) finds the body of said butt kickee and becomes infected by Parallax’s yellow um… essence? Thereby being transformed into a whiny stupid pathetic idiot… I mean villain.
In the end Hal is forced to confront his inner fears. Hector is annoying. And Parallax eventually makes his way towards earth for a climactic battle because frankly what would be the point of the movie if he didn’t?
Let’s get one thing out of the way now. I enjoyed Green Lantern. I did not enjoy it a lot, but I did enjoy it. The visuals are nice, Ryan Reynolds carries his part well enough, most of his supporting cast does all right, and some of the dialogue is well written. It’s a movie that’s worth watching as long as you go into it not expecting to be blown away.
Go back and read the “positives” again for me would ya?… Seriously I’ll wait… Okay thanks. Now that that’s out of the way I’m gonna tear everything else apart.
Reynolds does very well. He does not do great though and while part of that has to do with a patchy script; part of it also has to do with Reynolds just not being “A” list material. I like the guy and think he makes a great sidekick/comic character but it’s clear in some of the movies more demanding sections that Reynolds just isn’t up to the task. But hey, everyone can’t be Will Smith and I can’t fault the guy for trying. This is my most nitpicky complaint and on the whole I really did think he did well.
Now let’s move on to Hector Hammond. Hector wants to be the Joker so badly it wouldn’t surprise me if he started saying “why so serious” and dressing up as a nurse. It’s almost sad to watch the guy go through his “evil” paces only to find himself sadly lacking in Ledgerhood. His actions don’t ever reach even vaguely jokerish levels, his lines aren’t nearly as memorable, and his “evil mutation” is almost hilariously un-scary. But despite all that Hector does his best… and his best is really really really bad. At random intervals throughout the movie the writers try and make him go from “Joker” to “misunderstood nerdy guy that you should feel sorry for” and it works about as well as you might think that would. Hector wins the award for person I would most likely throw yogurt at. (Editor’s note: yeah… I have no idea on the yogurt thing. Sorry.)
Then there’s the problem of the Green Lantern ring itself. The inherent issue here is that the ring is “only limited by what you can imagine”. You’re pretty much handing someone an open book with that and their first instinct is always going to be to think of something bigger and better then what the movie thought of. “Why catch those boulders with a giant steel platform Green Lantern? Why not make a giant trampoline and bounce them off? Or a giant laser and fry them? Or a giant Michael Angelo and carve them into nude statues of significant Biblical characters?” This isn’t necessarily the movies fault but a flaw in the story idea itself. No one tells batman “oh I wouldn’t have punched that guy in the face like that Batman.” It’s a closed system. Batman+punch in face= win. With Green Lantern it’s more of a: Green Lantern+???=???… :).
And finally Green Lantern just doesn’t feel… done. I respect the movie for breaking out of the “dark gritty comic book movie” genre but once it gets out Green Lantern doesn’t handle itself particularly well. There are three or four “climactic” speeches on courage and change and facing your fears and things but because there are three or four of them none of them feel overly emphasized. The movie spends too much time playing around with aliens and Oa and not enough time making you actually care about what’s going on.
The big difference between this movie and Thor is that Thor managed to keep you focused on one central character and theme. Sure there were some scenes with Loki and that guy who fell in a vat of blue bubble gum but the central plot was always on Thor getting his powers back. The Green Lantern could never decide whether it’s focus was on Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern Corp, Oa, Sinestro (a character I didn’t even bother talking about in the plot section), Hector, Piloting, Dad issues, Parallax, irresponsibility… the list just goes on. It was a movie that tried to do too much and thus did nothing all that well.
I give it 2 “Green Lantern Corp!!”s out of 5.