Green Lantern

June 18, 2011

Two margaritas and lowered expectations did the trick on this one, which was not the white-hot mess early reviews led me to believe it was.  In fact, I’d put this in the same league as the two Hulk movies, which may sound like damning with faint praise, except that I quite liked both Hulk movies.  (Waaaaaay better than Wolverine or Spider-Man 3.)  Green Lantern had the same problem they did, which is that they all have much better movies hiding inside them, and if you can slog through the muddle, you can find the redeeming qualities.

The Good:

  • Epic starscapes, gee-whiz sense of wonder, first human among aliens, oh yeah I’m so there.
  • Carol saves the day, which almost made up for her being a whiny dishrag the rest of the movie.

An aside:  The US military has had women combat fighter pilots for a couple of decades now.  There’ve been women pilots as long as there’ve been airplanes.  So I can’t understand why, when there are so many real-life kick ass heroines around, Hollywood can’t seem to depict a convincing one in an action movie.  Carol did not convince me.  She was kick ass when the script needed her to be kick ass, weepy when the script needed her to be weepy, bitchy when the script needed to show that she was strong (dear Hollywood:  bitchy does not equal strong), unconscious when the script needed her to be rescued…and she was wearing way too much mascara.  I mentioned this to the ex-Navy woman in our group, who said, “Oh God I know!”  LAY OFF THE FRAKKING MASCARA, HOLLYWOOD!

  • Ahem.  Anyway.  I also actually liked Hal and the suit.  Loved the Green Lantern Corps.  Most of what I know about GL I got from the old Superfriends cartoon and the more recent Justice League cartoon, and this reminded me of both.

The Bad and the Ugly:

  • This didn’t get within nine million light years of passing the Bechdel Test.  Not that I expected it to, but after Thor and X-Men First Class both got passes (on technicalities if not in spirit), I was sort of hoping.  But twas not to be.
  • The film had a chance to depict villain Hector as a good man overcome by fear rather than a dweeb corrupted by power.  We got the latter rather than the former, which I think would have been a lot more interesting.
  • It’s missing a couple of really important scenes. *SPOILERS.*  We went straight from brooding Hal to a big smackdown to noble Hal begging the Corps for help.  I have no idea how Hal knew he had to go beat up Hector or why he changed his mind about being a GL.  Then he comes back to Earth to find Hector holding Carol hostage, and we have absolutely no idea at all how Hector captured Carol.  I like to think she put up a fight, but I have no clue, since in one scene she’s telling Hal she believes in him and the next time we see her she’s unconscious floating 20 feet off the ground.  I *really* needed those holes filled in.  As it was, there’s this twenty-minute section of the film that makes absolutely no sense.  I’ll be curious to see if those scenes end up on the DVD extras.  If they do, I’ll be royally pissed off.  *END SPOILERS*
  • And can we lose the frakking introductory voiceover already?  Look, everybody in that theater knows what the Green Lantern Corps is and doesn’t need it explained, and I don’t need to be told how many goddamned sectors there are.  Twice.  Because I don’t care.  And it doesn’t matter.  Seriously.  It doesn’t.  The scene immediately after the voiceover?  Showing Parallax blowing up aliens in space?  That tells me absolutely everything I need to know to understand the rest of the story.  Seriously.  Plus, that would have been the awesomest start to a superhero movie ever.  New rule:  NO MORE INTRODUCTORY VOICE OVER NARRATIONS EXPLAINING THE MOVIE.  STOP THAT NOW.

So yeah.  There’s a good movie in here somewhere, fighting to get out.  The epic struggle continues…

 

13 Responses to “Green Lantern”

  1. Frost Says:

    Thanks for the review. I think ill see it. But maybe after 3 margs.

    Peter

  2. gsg0042 Says:

    Thanks for the review. I have one question tho… do the starscape scenes make it worth watching on the big screen? Or do you think it would be just as enjoyable, such as it is, on a TV/computer screen?

    -G

  3. carriev Says:

    I think it’s worth it, but I a fan of the big screen in general. I would say go, but go in 2-D. I saw it 2-D and thought it was just dandy.

  4. kalen Says:

    That was my real problem with the movie. It glossed over or just alluded to the most interesting stuff in favor of cramming in unnecessary formulaic blockbuster stuff. I would have loved to see more done with his brothers and the dynamics there which on just one scene was way more evocative than pretty much anything with carol ….save for maybe the scene where as you said she was kickass and saved the day.

  5. carriev Says:

    The scene with his brothers and nephew made me decide I liked Hal a lot.

  6. Dave K (H-Town, Tejas) Says:

    Ref: Green Lantern review… LOL!

    Sooooooooooo we have an uber-kewl Cosmic Dreadlocks and batting eyelashes gets your goat? Hey it could be worse; it could be Tammy Faye Fake! Anyway… back to Carol and her presumed weakness. Maybe the flip-side is her true nature. It’s obvious that the source of her inner-turmoil comes from the fact that she is completely smitten by Hal Jordan, likely always has been since they were both kids. I’m okay with that, human nature being what it is but her strength is that she hasn’t swooned for the Bad-Boy archetype. She spends most of her time staying pissed at him for his irresponsible-jerk persona. She channels all that ‘rage’/disappointment into learning the corporate side of her father’s business while Hal is off chasing skirt. At least she didn’t get sucked into the black-hole by chaining herself, her life to this loser bad-boy and the hopeless cause of “changing him”. Now that would be character weakness and far more cliché.

    Besides… aren’t you expecting just a little too much social-commentary from a comic book? Come on Carrie, recall the Comic Book Store Guy in The Simpson’s? That’s the target market and always has been. Far more annoying in comic-book lore is the gratuitous use of ‘flamboyant female anatomy’ if you catch my drift. Mascara is way down the totem pole compared to ‘torpedo tits’… Again, just saying… Great blog as always, thanks.

  7. carriev Says:

    “It’s always been this way” is not a good excuse to keep doing something annoying/wrong…

  8. Sean Eric Fagan Says:

    I think I liked this movie better than Thor. They both had a lot of the same problems, but GL was a lot lighter.

    I came out of it with two strong impressions: first, Blake Lively needs to learn to move her forehead when she “acts”; second, the character of Sinestro was the best fleshed-out character in the movie, and they did a fantastic job of setting up the inevitable sequel.

  9. Jakk Says:

    *Spoilers: Do not read if you want to see the movie first*
    Thor and X-Men: First Class were much better movies, but i was able to enjoy this one as well to a point. Blake Lively “acting” was almost painful to watch, there was NO serious reason for the choice Sinestro made during the credits, and seems to be contrary to what he was saying during the victory speech at the end. Seems it was done only to go the route we all knew he would go, per the comics. The last thing that made NO sense was the helicopter crash at the party…rotor blades moving and whiping around, and NO one gets hurt or killed BEFORE Hal shows up, besides the “dramatic rescue set-up”??
    I agree with Carrie, there is a better movie to be made, but it was sad we had to go into this to get there. I also need to state i saw this sober.

    I will admit, Carol did get the best line in the movie, dealing with Green Lantern’s Identity. That got a smile out of me.

  10. Kalen Says:

    VERY interesting article that says there was a much stronger film shot straight from the shooting script, but the studios meddled and left a lot of extremely key or effective scenes on the cutting floor. From this quote alone it sounds like a lot of the problems you had with the film could have been circumvented if the studio had left well enough alone and gone with the Director’s Cut.

    http://www.pajiba.com/trade_news/the…-didnt-see.php

    One thing I feel needs mentioning: this is not Martin Campbell’s cut of the film, but the studio’s. I live in New Orleans where it was shot, I read the shooting script, all of which was painstakingly filmed with intense research, and all of that was left on the cutting room floor — a sort of combination of what happened to Daredevil and Watchmen, respectively — character development sacrificed for CG, scenes made irrelevant by removing their setup. The movie in the theater starts with an explanation of mythos that is made redundant by the more natural, scripted questions from Hal when he gets the ring. Ten minutes of childhood Hal, Carol, and Hector that sets up Hal’s first ring construct is reduced to an awkwardly placed flashback in the middle of another scene. The training with the ring is almost completely excised except for one minor scene. Most appallingly, the ending completely deletes the fact that Kilowog, Sinestro, and Toma-Re arrive at the end and help Hal defeat Parallax. Not to mention Parallax was supposed to be a 3rd act reveal after we spend the film worried about Hammond going evil, not the main villain for the entire film. I sincerely hope we get a director’s cut or at least all the deleted scenes on the video release.

  11. carriev Says:

    The thing is — everything you say there is painfully evident in the film. The film we got was not at all cohesive.

    Sadness…

  12. Lionus Says:

    “So I can’t understand why, when there are so many real-life kick ass heroines around, Hollywood can’t seem to depict a convincing one in an action movie.”

    Hollywood, like most Western cultures, is locked into stereotypes when it comes to women. For example, when was the last time you saw a woman portrayed in a movie as a convincing “I am going to have you killed” villain or even as a lowly member of the villain’s thuggish gang? The very idea seems alien.

  13. David Bowles Says:

    You were kinder than I was. I really, REALLY hated Parallax. He was just like Galactus except even more boring! The Hector villain was also lame, and as you pointed out, there were holes that really needed filled in.

    Let’s say it all together again: movies in general need interesting antagonists. This is why movies like Die Hard, X-Men, Dark Knight and the original Star Wars trilogy work for me, and movies like Green Lantern, the Star Wars prequels, every Stephen Seagal movie, and yes, the Harry Potter movies don’t work for me. (For all the hand wringing and “You know who” going on, Voldemort is just epic fail.)

    I really didn’t like this movie at all. X-Men: First Class was far superior for a fraction of the production cost.


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