This is NOT Hal Jordan

Posted: June 19, 2011 in Comics, Movies

Maybe the best of the worst superhero films...

OK, so, you guys know, by now, my stance on comic book films.  I won’t say that they are ALL great because I’m bias.  I won’t take my love of the material and say a film is great just because I’m a huge comic fanboy.  I know the difference between a good film and total crap……well, most of the time (I am, apparently, one of the few who enjoyed Ang Lee’s Hulk and Bryan Singers Superman Returns).

In that respect, I’m going to give you my honest opinion of the new Green Lantern film, directed by Martin Campbell, that came out this past weekend.

Did I like it?

Yes I did.

Was it a perfect?

HELL no it wasn’t.  VERY far from perfect.

Casting was perfect when they chose Mark Strong to play Sinestro

You see, this is where the problem begins.  It’s not often that I will say that a film is made for a very small audience.  A good movie can be viewed by everyone, it’s easily accessible.  Joe Blow movie fan can walk in, pay their ticket, and sit down to something that showcases a great story and can be pure entertainment.

Green Lantern is not that kind of a film.  In all respect, it’s not a good movie at all.

So then why the hell did I like it?

Well, you see, this is where being a huge comic nerd comes in handy.  I’ve always been a huge fan of Green Lantern, specifically Hal Jordan as he was the Green Lantern I grew up with (and, let’s face it, had some of the best storyline and writers bringing him to life), and it helps that, with some changes here and there, the film keeps the mythology honest, showing us Oa in all it’s glory, the various alien races that make up the 3600 members of the Corps, and our prime players Sinestro, Kilowog, and Tomar-Re, in my opinion are all represented perfectly (Mark Strong, in particular, does an amazing job as our future villain as he’s always had a commanding presence in most any film he’s in).  Peter Sarsgaard should also be mentioned, as his turn as classic Green Lantern rouge Hector Hammond comes off just as it should: eccentric and creepy!  Peter nails that brilliant sleaze in a portrayal that’s equal parts corny and equal parts threatening.  The only real issue I have with the actors over all is, unfortunately, a major one and one of the big problems I have with the film.

It almost exclusively focuses on only Hal Jordan.  This means that all our brilliant actors and voice talents get very little screen time.  It’s actually insulting how little we see them, especially Sinestro, and let me tell you, as much as I like Hal Jordan, he should of never been the exclusive focus.

While they get very little screen time, Kilowog and Tomar-Re still stand out

This is where I can start getting into the major problems.  You see, as funny as Ryan Reynolds is, he’s NOT Hal Jordan.  Oh, sure, he shows some of Hal’s traits down the line….the ability to showcase his powerful will, the hero willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good, and the cocky sure attitude he’s always had….but mostly he’s an ass.  And I don’t mean the kind of ass Hal is…I just mean Ryan Reynolds ass.  It’s not funny, it’s not entertaining, and it’s painfully out of place with the tone of the film.  Maybe if you told me he was playing Kyle Rayner or Guy Gardner I would of bought it, but no….it just doesn’t work for me.  This is also where the problems comes with the second act.  We spend SO much time with Hal on earth trying to learn to be a hero that it becomes a showcase of terrible cliche’s  and bad acting.  Honestly, I started getting really bored and wished to see how Sinestro and the rest of the corps where handling the films villain.  While we get to see some cool effects when Hal starts using the ring as it’s meant to be used, it’s too little, too late.  The third act is a blessing as we start to see more of the corps and Hal showing us just how sick-cool he can be when dealing with the impossible, I just feel that it a real shame that a whole chunk of the film is a let down where it should of been amazing.

Also, as a side note, I found it terrible that the last few scenes of the film are RECYCLED from the middle of the film, just in reverse.  How f&%king lazy is that!?  I mean, honestly, that’s unforgivable.  It’s like they aren’t even trying to hide it.  I expect that from a terrible made for TV movie, but not something with a budget as large as this film.

Ugh….sorry, it’s just bugs the shit out of me.

This is what I’m sure the other reviewers out there saw, and really the big let down of Green Lantern.  It just felt as if the writers and director didn’t know what he was trying to show us.  Granted, they got the mythology down pat, sure, but I’m not sure if he was trying to show us a sci-fi film, a comedy, an action film, or a drama.  There are many points in the film where it just JUMPS from one style to the next, and the transition isn’t done well at all.  Like the other summer blockbuster, On Stranger Tides, the film suffers from good performances vs. a weak director.  Maybe if there had been more time, we could of set on a film that was a little less confused with itself and a little more honest.

Hammond is a creep, and it shows in the film

Green Lantern is a goofy hero.  Just GO with it.  Don’t fight it.  Go full out and make the film as alien as the cast!  Show outrageous heroism, show amazing feats of willpower and courage, show dastardly villains and demonic monsters bent on the destruction of the universe!  Pull out ALL the stops and just MAKE a Green Lantern film.  Don’t play it safe with pretty boy actors and uncomfortable comedy.  Seriously, there was no need for it.

Still, with all that said, I still liked the movie.  Seeing the corps in action was amazing and watching that first and last act was rewarding…I just wish it had been THAT rewarding the entire way though.  As for a recommendation, well, I would say that if you love Green Lantern, then yes, go, see the movie in the theater.  It’s amazing.  For the rest of you?  Skip it.  Catch it on basic cable with the rest of the world.  Seeing as this is going to be a trilogy (and with the end credit scene basically shouting that there will be a sequel), then hopefully next time around we can get our all out Lantern film and not some half-assed attempt.

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