Saturday

Green Lantern (2011)

Green Lantern (2011)
  Directed by:  Martin Campbell
  Stars:  Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Peter Sarsgaard

Summary:
A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.  Hal Jordan is a former Air Force pilot who now is a test pilot for his old flame's aircraft business, Ferris Aircraft.  Like most test pilots, Hal is a cocky, arrogant risk taker quick with wisecracks and jokes who lives on the edge and pushes aircraft to the edge and beyond.  However, he is scarred and hindered by the tragic loss of his father, who also was a test pilot.  After being labelled a washout and on the brink of losing his job, "Highball" Jordan is chosen by the ring of will of a dying Green Lantern, Abin Sur, to join the intergalactic peacekeepers known as the Green Lantern Corps.  The Corps was formed by the immortal Guardians of the Universe, based on the planet Oa.  The Corps is made up of 3600 Lanterns, who each represent a sector of the Universe.  The Lantern's chief weapon is the power ring, which harnesses the energy of will.  This power is limited only by the wearer's imagination.  A Lantern is chosen based on the ability to overcome great fear.  Abin Sur was a legendary member of the Corps, who brings to Earth not just the ring but also a dire warning of a great evil that has escaped confinement and threatens the universe itself.  Hal struggles with what it means to overcome fear, as well as his place among the 3600 Lanterns in the Corps.  Along the way, we are introduced to the de facto leader of the Corps, the driven and ambitious Sinestro, as well as drill instructor Kilowog and honored member of the Corps Tomar Re.  We also meet Hal Jordan's former and current flame, Carol Ferris, herself a pilot who brings her drive to succeed to the boardroom, and Hector Hammond, a scientist brought into a secret investigation involving the Corps and the entity known as Parallax.

Conclusion:
The Good:  I was pleasantly surprised by this film.  Going in, I was suspicious of Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan.  However, one could tell by his portrayal that he knew the character and was passionate about the role.  He did a decent job as the young Hal Jordan.  He brings the right amount of bravado and humor with the uncertainty hiding under the surface.  The costumes, which I initially feared, looked fantastic.  The special effects were quite good.  The portrayal of Sinestro was done quite well, and it was great seeing Kilowog and Tomar Re, though I would have cast someone else besides Michael Clarke Duncan to do the voice of Kilowog.  I thought Geoffrey Rush did a good job as Tomar Re.  However, Sinestro is the one who almost steals the show from Hal Jordan, as he evokes several conflicting emotions as the story continues.  The Guardians are portrayed in all their enigmatic coldness quite well.  The origin story is very true to the comic tale, especially the recent retelling by Geoff Johns (Green Lantern: Rebirth, Green Lantern: Secret Origin, etc.)

Also, unlike most of DC's ventures, we get a glimpse into the larger DC Universe with mentions of characters from other mythos.  We meet Amanda Waller, who is key not only in several Superman stories, but also is key to groups such as the Suicide Squad, Checkmate!, and other groups inside the DC continuity.  This type of cross promotion and acknowledgement is something Marvel has done well, and DC needs to continue to work on as they grow their own film franchises.

Also, there was no Care Bear Corps, aka the Rainbow Coalition, the Power Ranger Lantern Corps, et.al--referring to the Red, Purple, Indigo, Orange, White, Black, and Yellow Lanterns.  OK, there is a slight mention of one color which is quite cool (stick around after the initial ending credits...it is COOL!), but thankfully we do not get the whole rainbow which has come about in the comic book recently, diluting the importance of the Green Lanterns vs. the power of fear (yellow energy).  The Care Bear Corps makes a mockery of the mythos of the Lanterns, and unlike many in the fanboy universe, I was OVERJOYED we didn't get a glimpse at them.  And by the way, Larfleeze sucks!

The last thing I really enjoyed was the way DC put in the extra post movie scene.  Unlike Marvel, which makes you stay past every freaking credit imaginable, GL lets you see the main end credits, then jumps to the scene, which I hope will pacify some of the whiny dorks who love the Care Bear Corps.

The Bad: Saarsgard's portrayal of Hector Hammond came nowhere near to the depth of the pure evil of this character.  Saarsgard makes the character a joke, and the writing and depiction of the character (makeup, etc.) do nothing but paint Hector not as a conniving mastermind, but more as a pathetic dork who becomes a bully.  People were not inspired to hate the character or root against him, but mostly to laugh at him.  Also, the plot at times jumped around too much.  However, this is understandable since we are dealing with trying to bring about 50 years of history to bear in less than 2 hours.

Also, Parallax as an initial villain makes this film fall into the same trap as Marvel's 2nd Fantastic Four movie and the Superman Returns Debacle.  Having the villain be a force of nature or some massive space borne construct just doesn't grip people.  Granted, unlike Galactus in the 2nd FF movie, Parallax actually speaks and makes threats and such.  But, it doesn't fit into the classic super hero movie expectations.  However, the Parallax entity is key to what is being planned for future GL movies (if the whiny pretentious fanboys don't kill the franchise as it begins), so I understand why they went there.

Like other super hero films, this one walks a fine line of almost introducing too many characters and sub plots.  That was one of my complaints about the FF movies as well as Spiderman 3 and Xmen 3.

The Stupid:  Initial critical reaction by sites like Rotten Tomatoes and by many so-called fans of Green Lantern.  I have heard many people already calling for a reboot.  These are not true comic fans, but rather fans of events and neophytes who probably came on board with the Care Bear Corps.  In fact, many people are griping that we dont see the rainbow lanterns in this film.  HELLO, MORONS, IT IS THE ORIGIN story!  Also, many people say Reynolds is too cocky and wisecracking in the film.  Hal Jordan is a fighter pilot. Have these goofballs never seen The Right Stuff or Top Gun?  Fighter pilots and test pilots are wisecracking and arrogant.  That is why they are able to do what they do.  Also, I heard many people on the one hand say, there wasn't enough of the different Green Lanterns, but then talk about how the plot jumps around too much.  You can't have both.  Also, this is HAL'S STORY, not the story of the entire Corps.  Also, if you have read, this franchise was planned as a trilogy, not just a stand alone.  We are going to see things develop.  Good gravy!

This brings me to the other stupid thing I heard.  Hal's constructs are rather rudimentary and single-minded on guns and military things.  OK, first, Hal is a rookie.  He is learning to use the power of will to make constructs.  When you are learning, you go with what is familiar.  As a fighter pilot, he is going to go with weapons of war like cannons and machine guns.  Geez, someone actually complained that we didn't see a giant green boxing glove!!!!!  We did see a giant green fist, though!  You can't expect a rookie to be in perfect form fresh from minting... Come on now!

Fanboys who are upset about this film need to buy a clue and realize it was their own expectations that made them not like the film.  Reynolds did a good job.  The story was fairly faithful to the Johns rendering, and it had some of the best characters the Corps has to offer, even if we didn't get to see them as much as some would have hoped.  Give it a chance.  Support this and we may see a big honking rainbow lantern battle yet!

I was pleasantly surprised by the film and thought it really was overall well done and stayed true to the essence of the character.  It had accents that both newbies to the character and fans alike could enjoy.  Those who are calling for the apocalypse need to either grow up or realize that the Rainbow Coalition Corps is nothing more than cheap marketing.  This franchise has great potential, if the fanboys will only get over their nitpicking and support this initial venture.  You whined and carped for years about this film, and now you want to kill the franchise fresh from the wound...Sad.

I say in Brightest Day, in darkest night, do not let Green Lantern Escape your sight!  Go see it.

P.S.  Oh, and Larfleeze, the Tribe Indigo, and all those Care Bear Lanterns still suck!  Oh, and Geoff Johns, you and DC suck as well with you universe reboot to cater to the pretentious jerks!


New Hope Patriot Missile Rating:
4 Shields out of 5
 
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