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"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Green Lantern Review

Green Lantern came out a year ago. It was DC attempting to break out of the norm. See, they really don't like to venture past Batman and Superman. (They tried a few years ago with Jonah Hex, and you know how that turned out.) Well, Green Lantern was I'm sure supposed to be the start of the DC 'Cinematic Universe.' That idea was quickly destroyed when it bombed. Negative reviews all over the place, it was just a mess and DC was probably extremely disappointed. They're probably like, "Well, we have an upcoming Batman and Superman film, we'll just forget about that Justice League movie." So unlike a lot of people, I didn't go to the theater to watch it. In fact, this review is coming right after watching it. For some reason, I tend to like a lot of movies people don't like. Spider-Man 3, X-Men 3, Jurassic Park 3, Clash of the Titans (2010), and even X-Men Origins. I don't consider any of those to be 'bad' films. However, despite what you might think, I know there are 'bad films out there. (Super Mario Bros, the worst film ever made.) So going into Green Lantern, I wasn't expecting an awesome film. After watching it, I can definitely say it's far from being awesome, but it's still a pretty good comic book movie that gets more hate than it deserves.

Official description from Warner Bros:

In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. A brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers. But when a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds). Hal is a gifted and cocky test pilot, but the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before. But Hal is clearly the missing piece to the puzzle, and along with his determination and willpower, he has one thing no member of the Corps has ever had: humanity. With the encouragement of fellow pilot and childhood sweetheart Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), if Hal can quickly master his new powers and find the courage to overcome his fears, he may prove to be not only the key to defeating Parallax.... he will become the greatest Green Lantern of all.

One must question why exactly Warner Bros. would want to bring Jonah Hex to the big screen. I mean, he's not even b-lister, he's a C-lister. So DC wanting to bring Green Lantern to the big screen was a pretty great idea. It was just going to be like what Marvel did with Iron Man. He was never an A-lister like Spider-Man or Wolverine, but thanks to the film, he's now an A-lister liked by the general public. (He's seen on everything from shirts to lunch boxes.) So Green Lantern was meant todo  just that, only it didn't. Green Lantern is a stereotypical summer blockbuster. Average acting, generic 'immature but in the end becomes a serious hero' character, lots of special-effect driven sequences, and a bit of a cardboard romance. (Though the latter isn't as generic or forced like many others.) This film was going to do what Iron Man did for Marvel, but failed with the general public and fans. Now before I begin this review, it's fair to say that I'm not a huge of the Green Lantern franchise. I know the characters and origins, but that's about it. With that said, I thought the film did a pretty good establishing the character and his universe. Simple and straightforward, it's the 'Star Wars' of comic book movies, like how Thor is the 'Lord of the Rings' of comic book movies. Green Lantern suffers for some scenes feeling too rushed and mediocre acting. It's attempting to be 'epic' but that just doesn't happen. A little bit above average would be the term.

Ryan Reynolds plays the title character. He actually had some experience in the genre, he played Deadpool in X-Men Origins beforehand. His portrayal of Hal Jordan was mixed. Sometimes he's alright, but sometimes he's just corny. Granted, I expected a lot worse, but the portrayal wasn't that bad. I could see a great improvement if the film ever gets a sequel. Blake Lively plays the love interest, Carol Ferris. Now I really expected an awful portrayal, but she wasn't that bad. Whereas the romance in Thor felt completely rushed, this feels natural and not just 'put in.' Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond plays the secondary main villain. Now his portrayal could have been better. However, some scenes he was admittedly menacing. (The scene were he yells to Hal to "Sit down" being a prime example) Mark Strong as Sinestro was spot on, like he was lifted straight from the comics. He needed a lot more screen time.

Parallax plays the central villain. I thought he was very good, and the backstory with the Guardian was fantastic. Granted, his design (mainly his head) could have been better, but his voice and everything else was great. Kilowog was spot on, also lifted straight from the comics. Tomar-Re was also great, these two really needed to appear more. The soundtrack is above average, it had some really great themes that fit the atmosphere. The special effects are mixed. There is A LOT of CGI in this film, maybe a bit too much. Usually I wouldn't say something like that, but a lot of it would have fit better as a CGI movie rather than a live action film. Now, Oa looks fantastic, rivals Asgard for most glorious looking place in a comic book movie. The Guardians and Green Lantern Corps all look fantastic. The Green Lantern costume looks a bit too cheesy. I'm sorry, but the mask just doesn't look that great. I must say, the beginning was the best part of the film. It really gave you an impression that this was going to be an 'epic' film. Sadly, the earth scenes couldn't keep up.  In fact, it's very similar to Thor in that matter. Both are really good when they're in Oa/Asgard, but mediocre on earth. The difference is that Thor had a better main actor and story.

Overall, Green Lantern isn't a great film. It could have been better. With that said, it's still a watchable flick. I went in there not expecting much and left thinking "That was actually pretty good." While it had some mediocre acting, it still does a good job establishing the Green Lantern universe. It's worthy of a sequel. It could have used a bit more time to explain things, the whole Sinestro after-credits thing was just forced, he needed more screen time and motivation within the film for that. Green Lantern is a pretty good film, it doesn't deserve the hate it gets, and is definitely not even close to being one of the worst comic book movies of all time.


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