In fairness to Green Lantern

Call me crazy but I didn’t think that the Green Lantern movie was as bad as I thought it would be. I had less than 0 expectations after I heard bad reviews from friends who have watched it (who have excellent taste), and a low 20s rating on rottentomatoes, but the fangirl in me couldn’t dismiss the only DC superhero movie out there who had the nerve to go up against the very cool and awesome Marvel comic hero films lined up for the entire summer.

I was glad that I gave Hal Jordan a chance to shine the light of his Green Lantern, yes, despite the presence of Blake Lively, who has in my opinion a very ironic screen name for someone whose only claim to fame is drawing out her words as if she was just up from bed or intoxicated, and pushing up her breasts and looking stern to express her displeasure at her leading man a la Serena van der Woodsen. Some would think that I have this bias against Lively but even if I saw her for the first time on Green Lantern, I will probably come to the same conclusion. Anyways, enough of this ranting. Back to Green Lantern. I just had to get that out of my chest.

Ryan Reynolds was a good choice for Green Lantern because he exudes a devil may care attitude and the quick wit leftover from his Van Wilder days. He doesn’t miss a beat when he lets go if his zingers, my favorite being when a fellow pilot asks him to watch his back, he responds with “That’s impossible.” There were a couple more punchlines throughout the movie but I don’t want to ruin things for those who plan to watch the movie. Hal Jordan should be cocky, reckless, irresponsible, resourceful, smart and tormented at the same time, and Reynolds delivered. He looks similar to the Hal Jordan in the comic books too, so that was a plus as well.  Peter Skarsgard (Orphan) was a transformation in this movie, not just in looks but also in disposition as he played the nerdy professor Hector Hammond, son of Senator Robert Hammond, who gets exposed to fragments of meteor found on the body of Abin Sur, the purple alien who perishes and passes on the ring to Jordan. Hector, like Hal is in love with Lively’s character Carol Ferris in the movie, although I’m still not sure why, except that she’s hot. Mark Strong plays the Green Lantern Sinestro, the commander of the 3,600 strong Green Lantern Corps. very effectively but because he has played the villain for so long, seeing him on the side of heroes took some getting used to. I heard that the producers of the movie were gearing for a sequel so it will come as no surprise to Green Lantern fans that Sinestro actually turns out to be his arch nemesis.

The movie basically stayed true to the Green Lantern lore. The Green Lantern Corps — 3,600 in all are tasked by the ancient Guardians to harness the energy of willpower to protect the universe from threats like Parallax, who draws strength from fear and has the ability to wipe out civilizations to stay strong. Parallax, who is later revealed to be a former guardian who sees the potential of harnessing and taming the energy borne from fear but is devoured by the power which he wishes to master, is banished and contained by the strongest of all Green Lanterns — Abin Sur, who of course becomes his first target when he breaks out of confinement. Abin Sur, mortally wounded flees to the closest planet — Earth where the ring chooses test pilot Hal Jordan to be Abin Sur’s replacement. There were questions as to whether or not Hal should have been chosen at all since the first requirement to become a member of the Corps is fearlessness but as always, the hero finds out in the end that accepting his vulnerabilities is the key to harnessing his strength.

The strength of the movie lies with its attention to detail, which would please GL fans of the comic books. It also steered clear from major deviations to the story, which is already complicated enough as it is. The action scenes and the CGI was also good, better than Thor in my opinion, but mostly constricted to glowing green things. And it was not a complete dud, as the trailer suggests.

Its weakness, however lies in investing too much time and effort in developing the love story between Hal and Carol and trying to untangle Hal’s trauma from the death of his father. It was already obvious from the get go and going back to it scene after scene was kind of a drag. I felt that the time could have been used better by fleshing out the end of the world angle, or developing Hal’s abilities, which are far more consequential than analyzing what went wrong in the Hal/Carol hook up years ago that they already knew the answer to. While the movie was gaining momentum from the fight scenes whether on Earth or in outer space, the mood is dampened by all these pussyfooting between Hal and Carol and not only once did I yawn aloud as I waited for the next scene. I think that the time could have been used better had it been devoted to Sinestro, and developing his character to prepare audiences for a sequel (had it been their goal), or to Hector Hammond, who developed psionic powers after his exposure to the meteor and his life as a villain.

Generally, it was a passable superhero movie. It would have fared better in the critics opinion had it been the only superhero movie out there but since it is following the likes of Iron Man, X-Men First Class and the surprise hit Thor, it had a lot to live up to, and it could have upped its game a bit more to be at par with the competition. Should it have a sequel, I still have hopes that it can learn from its mistakes and move forward to produce a better movie.

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7 thoughts on “In fairness to Green Lantern

  1. yeah, it would have made more sense, but i think they were already set on a sequel even before they released the first one so they were saving their material for the sequel. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they get rid of Blake Lively.

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  2. Haha… recast the girl like in Batman Begins –> The Dark Knight? That character is sure to stay tho, in the comics she becomes a lantern as well, and GL fans will wanna see that happen

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  3. If there’s something that needs to be changed from the comic book, I think it’s the fact that you have to charge the ring before you can use it. That rule is just stupid to me.

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