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Green Lantern Review

06/18/2011

Wow, what a way to start off my vacation – by seeing Green Lantern. If you recall, not long ago I did a review for X-Men: First Class. If you didn’t read it, then I will say it again: I will be discussing the entire film so that means that I will be giving away bits of the plot. If you didn’t see it, stop reading and skip to the end.

[SPOILERS START HERE]

Well, what can I say – if I had to choose my favorite comic company, Marvel or DC, I think DC would always come out on top. Not the same can be said for the live actions films. I’m going into this after seeing the amazing Green Lantern: First Flight, an animated film based on the GL origin story. And sadly, a much better take on it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Ryan Reynolds, and despite my initial concerns of him playing Hal Jordan, he did his typically amazing job. He added just enough humor to the character without making him a joke, which played well off the more stoic Carol Ferris, played by Blake Lively. The “superheroes always get the girl” scene had the entire audience laughing out loud (go see it and you will know what I mean).

The fellow Lantern Corps members, although mostly CGI, were well done –  but Mark Strong as Sinestro stole the show. He’s a master at playing the manipulator, but he’s had experience (check out Lord Blackburn in Sherlock Holmes or Septimus in Stardust) so it wasn’t too much of a stretch. The time on Oa was too limited and I was sad to see that only Tomar-Re and Kilowog were given face time – though I did see a few familiar faces fleetingly in the background shots.

Parallax as the villain was an odd choice to start the series,  but the explanation given by the Guardians about his origin (a wayward Guardian trying to tame Fear but ultimately falling to it) was an interesting twist on the comic version and helps you see where they plan to go in future movies.  Hector Hammond on the other hand was simply a plot device to advance the story and didn’t really contribute anything. They try to make you feel sorry for him: he’s a lonely, alien-obsessed university professor manipulated by his Senator father into being a government scientist. But he comes across as a creepy stalker obsessed with obtaining Carol’s affections, killing his father, and looking like Hal Jordan – of course, who wouldn’t want to look like Ryan Reynolds?

I was also confused by some of the characters and plot elements they introduced early on which have no bearing on the rest of the story. His father’s death, a tragic plane crash, becomes the source of his fear – yet the PTSD flashback does little more than eat up screen time that could be used somewhere else. The inclusion of his family – an angry brother who thinks he is self-destructive and his super-fan nephew – make an appearance and then disappear contributing nothing but a 5 minute lag to the story. I was hoping to see him rescue one or both of them at the end to justify their characters, but was sadly disappointed.

[SPOILERS END HERE]

The effects were great, even the CGI costume I hated at first glace grew on me and made sense in the long run. Reynolds, Lively, and Strong were terrific and were believable as their comic counterpoints come to life. They leave it open, of course, for more movies to follow – something I think will definitely happen. I just hope the sequel gives us what the first one lacked: more Sinestro!

MY SCORE: (B) See it for the visual effects and Ryan Reynolds comic timing, but rent/buy First Flight for a better take on the origin story.

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