It’s always harder to talk about a movie you like, especially if it is flawed (and all movies are flawed so hush). I’m going to preface this by saying that I have been working my way through the Blackest Night books, so I have been reading Green Lantern comics pretty recently. I don’t know much more about the continuity than what I have read, but I wasn’t utterly unprepared.
So, I guess I understand and I don’t understand why this movie was panned by the critics. It wasn’t as bad as I heard it was- and I was prepared for the movie to blow donkey balls. I can see hardcore comic nerds being unhappy with the way things fell out, and I can see non-comic people just, you know, not getting it, but for everyone who falls in the middle… it was decent. The action was good. The story didn’t weigh down the pace too much. I mean, it wasn’t super great, but it was a decent movie. I’d watch it again. I’d watch a sequel, even. I’m kinda hoping for an eventual Justice League movie- that’d be pretty fucking cool.
But I suppose that all the CGI is gonna be hard to take in, and the whole ‘will’ thing- you either get it or you don’t. I’m not going to defend the movie too much- you like what you like- but I was prepared for this thing to suck the root and it really didn’t. It felt like reading the comic to me. Take into consideration that the only Green Lantern comics that I have read so far are all from the Blackest Night bit, and do what you will with that. (For the record, I mean it as a compliment as I have been enjoying them immensely.)
I did have a few problems with the movie. I think they cut out some of the character development stuff- they jump around on Hal’s characterization at first. He is a really good, cock-sure pilot, but he nearly dies of flashback. He seems to go back and forth on this, and I suspect that this was an editing decision and not a writing decision. There’s a scene towards the middle? Ish? That has clearly been chopped in half for time purposes. It furthered character, and not the plot so much. I think Ryan Reynolds has played this kind of guy before, and I really like him as an actor. I think he did a good job, I don’t think it’s his fault that Hal seems a little inconsistent. He’s the only reason I watched Blade 3 (which I’ll talk about at length at some point but my basic thoughts on it are: it would have been a decent vampire flick if they had left Blade out of it).
Anyway, the point of that was that I get the kind of character that they were making Hal Jordan into. He’s so cocky because he’s terrified, that sort of thing. I just think they trimmed too many of the wrong moments, and so his character is not as solidly identifiable as it should be. He could have had a more complex, interesting story (and I have no clue how close to the comic it runs other than ‘roughly the same ballpark, maybe’) but that’s not the sort of thing you can really set up in a movie like this. You have to have room for plot AND action- where as action can be interspersed well in comic books without interfering too much with the amount of plot that goes on. An action scene that only takes up a few pages takes a lot longer to play out on film- it’s a tricky balance, is what I’m saying, and it’s why action films tend to not be as dense as films can be. There’s too much other shit that has to go on. I’m not saying it can’t be done, I’m just saying that’s why it’s not.
I did end up seeing this in 3d. I personally don’t have a big stake in 3d/2d other than I don’t like wearing glasses over my glasses, but I think 3d is a fun gimmick and I’m kind of curious as to how long it’ll stick around, this time. The 3d in the movie was pretty good- I’m fairly headache prone, and I didn’t get headachey or watery eyed, or anything like that. But I do think that if any movie should be made in 3d, it’s probably something where green energy light is a physical manifestation of will. I liked the CGI, I thought the suits looked good, and I’m glad that they were CGI. It won’t look like a suit made of energy if it’s clearly Spandex.
Oh, something else- I liked that the opening was all about aliens, and we didn’t start off with humans. They could have swapped the order, and started with Hal, and then bounced to the aliens- or even only mentioned the aliens in passing, although I think that would have been a shame. I liked knowing where we are with Parallax from the beginning, and seeing what a threat he is straight up. Although, thinking about it, switching back to the aliens before Hal became a Green Lantern would probably fuck up the narrative flow- but still, the first bit was about aliens on an alien world dying an unfortunate alien death.
What else did I like? ……oh, I liked Sinestro. I know how things turn out with him, but from what I’ve read he was a genuinely great Green Lantern, and that showed in the movie. I didn’t like that at the end he just puts on the yellow ring and we don’t get any of the ‘why’ because I have gleaned from reading Blackest Night (and may be wrong) that he felt very betrayed by the Green Lantern Corps and that was why he turned to the yellow ring- however, I’m gonna treat it as a future scene from the next movie where that’s explored more and stick my fingers in my ears and hum about it. Because ‘because’ isn’t a good enough reason for a man who was arguing passionately about the lives being lost and the need to take steps to prevent it, at any cost. I do wish he weren’t bright red with a widows peak and a porn stash and his name was something a little less obvious than Sinestro, but I know I have DC to take to task for that and not the movie, so meh. Although I suppose it was fun at first with him being this evil looking character (AND HIS NAME IS SINESTRO FFS) and he’s totally a good guy, I guess I get playing with that, but BE LESS PREDICTABLE OKAY. I hope Sinestro means “light bringer” or something like that.
Urm, oh I liked Carol Ferris and the way she was portrayed. She’s beautiful, but she does come off as competent at what she does and she clearly likes Hal but is really frustrated with him. Also, I love love LOVE that Hal tries to do the ‘Just doing my job, ma’am’ thing and when she gets close she totally recognizes him. I think she says something like “I have known you my whole life, and I have seen you naked. Did you think I wouldn’t recognize you just because I couldn’t see your cheekbones?” I lol’d. He did try to do the Batman voice trick too. He was shocked- shocked I tell you!- when she made him in less than a minute.
Oh, about Hal- I love that they get it across that he’s a ‘ladies man’ without making him an obnoxious pig about it. He doesn’t leer at every girl in a skirt he passes, and when he compliments Carol’s dress he actually sounds like he’s complimenting Carol’s dress- that sort of thing. Oh, he wakes up next to a gal and he comes off as ‘nice but distracted’. Like, he’d totally stick around and have breakfast with her if he weren’t late. He’s got his dickish moments, but it’s never in a ‘because you’re a girl’ way. So that was nice.
Yeah I don’t have too many complaints. Some of the character developement felt rushed, but that was pretty much it. A+ would buy again.