Sunday, June 19, 2011

Theatrical Review: GREEN LANTERN (2011)


Studio: Warner Bros.
Writers: Greg Barlani, Michael Green, Marc Goldenberg
Director: Martin Campbell
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgard, Mark Strong
Venue: Harkins SPectrum 18 Tucson, Arizona

Well, I tried to get the the mulitplex this past Friday to check out J.J. Abrams' SUPER 8 but my kids we're dying to see GREEN LANTERN, so being a good father (depending on how you look at it) that's what we did. First, let me say that I was cautiously optimistic for the film but my optimism was guarded. I like Ryan Reynolds well enough in the crude comedy WAITING and the more recent thriller BURIED but for the most part he's one of those actors that seems to be playing himself, a charismatic though slightly goofy looking pretty boy, and that's fine but he just wasn't Hal Jordan in my eyes. Say what you want about SUPERMAN RETURNS but I think Brandon Routh worked for me because he was a blank slate without the baggage of pre-association, sure they filled that slate with a caricature of Christopher Reeves, but whatever. Reynolds comes pre-loaded with cocky, smart-assery and that's what we get for the most part here. Separate from the poor casting for the lead the film's overall feel just felt wrong, too shallow, goofy, and bereft of any substance, it didn't respect the character of Hal Jordan. While I'm not well-versed in Green Lantern lore, always been more of a Marvel guy myself, but I realize it's a slightly goofy concept. C'mon,  it's guy with a magic ring that can summon anything his mind imagines. He battles evil with gigantic green slingshots, machine guns, see saws, cock and balls, whatever he imagines, it's goofy shit and the humor's inherent but here the goofiness seems cranked to 10. Hal Jordan is a potential destroyer of world's, a dark figure, the comics went very dark and this was a goofy origins story with some campy humor and an extraneous romantic interest played by Blake Lively. I guess what I wanted was a galactic sci-fi epic and what I got was a light-hearted, goofy superhero film.

There are things I liked about the film. For one it seemed pretty true to the comic origins though skewed in tone. Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) is a mortally wounded Green Lantern who comes to Earth and bequeaths the ring to Hal Jordan (Reynolds), an air force test pilot who is then summoned to the planet Oa, home of the Guardians of Galaxy, who look great in the film by the way. There he meets other Green Lanterns; Kilowog, Tomar-Re and Sinestro (Mark Strong). Strong is awesome, he so looks the part but he's not given a lot to do here but what there is is pretty weighty - definitely the standout performance. The film felt like a rather drawn out precursor to the next film, in which I would anticipate Strong being a major part of.

The film's planet eating baddie is an entity called Parallax and an Earthly scientist whose become infected with Parallax's DNA. Parallax reminded me of the FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER's presentation of Galactus which is always a bad thing while it's infected agent on Earth's transformation brought to mind the transformation of Samuel Sterns aka The Leader who becomes infected with the Hulk's DNA in the INCREDIBLE HULK, it just felt borrowed. I'm not sure these characters exists in the comic world of GL. Overall, lame villains, both poorly realized.

Verdict. I really hated this film. What I liked about it just wasn't enough to stop be from groaning in disgust with it's clumsy handling of what could have been an epic sci-fi superhero flick. It's moronic superhero stupidity that harkened back to the bad ol' days of Joel Schumacher's BATMAN AND ROBINSkip it, rent it, watch it on cable but save your box office cash for X-MEN: FIRST CLASS or SUPER 8. I'd love to hear some feedback from fans of the film or comic with your take on it.

1 comment:

  1. I was actually really stoked for this movie. Green Lantern is actually in my top 5 superheroes of all time. We go way back to when I used to wear the ring of power ad I took a Crayola marker to a shirt to make my own uniform. Unfortunately, that kinda nostalgia, any movie would have a hard time living up to--especially this subpar piece of rat feces. I've seen better CGI on SYFY and the acting was atrocious. I'm not much of a reviewer but I have to say this flick was handled worse than almost any big budget superhero property I've ever seen. After the Dark Knight, I knew DC had some big pants to fill. But with the success of Marvel had with the Iron Man franchise and the kickass Thor release I was optimistic. Oh, how wrong I was. Thank God for X-Men: First Class, which I saw the day after with my dad for Fathers' Day to redeem superhero-dom for me. LOved your review Mc, it was spot-on in my opinion.