Green Lantern

gl_poster_1sheetThis has to be one of the toughest reviews I have written in a long time.  I have conflicting emotions about the movie and I was unsure the tone I wanted to take with this review.

All of that said, I have found the Will to battle my Fear and give you the review you are looking for.

To say that I have been looking forward to this movie for a long time is an understatement.  As I mentioned in my Spiderman 3 review, “my three favorite heroes growing up were Batman, Spiderman, and Green Lantern.”  I loved the idea that GL could make anything that he imagined and that everything happened because he simply had enough strength of Will.

I made plans with Ken and Amy to check it out on opening night at the AMC Downtown Disney, utilizing the new Fork and Screen option.  After buying the tickets, I noticed the early reviews pouring in, and they were quite simply, brutal.  The way reviewers were talking, this movie was the bastard child of Elektra and Batman & Robin, with Jonah Hex, Ghost Rider, and the never-released 1994 Fantastic 4 as close relatives.  I spent the rest of the week scouring the web for reviews that had anything positive to say.  Even the ones that were positive were really lukewarm.

I met Ken and Amy at the AMC and we headed in.  The service was not as good as when I had gone on Preview night, but the coupons were good, so it wasn’t all bad.  The trailers were the typical summer releases – no real surprises or treasures to be found.

Green Lantern is a true origin story.  We start with a scene on a distant planet where some unnamed scientists encounter what ends up being the Big Bad of the story – they might as well have been wearing red shirts given the little amount of time it took them to get killed.  We then see some unknown hero attempting to stop the villain and getting mortally wounded.  Meanwhile, we are also introduced to Hal Jordan, cocky flying ace and ladies man.  Ryan Reynolds is decently cast in this role, but is not given enough room to really play up certain traits.

What follows is the tapping of Hal to be the next big hero.  During his “training” (or lack thereof), he experiences alien life and learns how the Green Lantern Corps use the power of Will to overcome the power of Fear.  There are some interesting effects sequences that show you the power of a tiny, green ring.  Then you have Hal’s return to Earth and his eventual public appearance.

The story is a straight-forward one, with no twists to speak of.  It is a shame that Warner Brothers allowed so much to be shown in the trailers – there were no “cool” surprises.  The casting, for the most part was decent.  I liked the choice of Angela Bassett for Amanda Waller – she has the toughness to pull that role off for many movies.  My only real complaint is the use of Blake Lively.  Much like Katie Holmes in Batman Begins, Lively is not a horrible choice, but you are left wishing for so much more.  In talking about this earlier with Spaldy, I realized that someone like Jessica Biehl would have been a better choice.  The role of Carol Ferris must be played by someone that you can believe is a tough pilot, tough business woman, and the object of every man’s dreams.  Lively just does not exude toughness; instead, her toughness comes across as that of a petulant child.

While I can certainly see why this one received negative reviews, I am left with a reminder of the scene in the movie where the GL Corps thinks very little of humans and Hal pleads to show why there is potential.  While most look at this movie and speak of wasted moments, I look at what was accomplished and what could be in future installments.  For those that are complaining, think about this –- we did not have the technology to even attempt this live-action movie 5-10 years ago.  Try not to act like the spoiled children that Blake Lively resembles when she is pouting.

My advice:  Worth matinee/afternoon pricing – see on a big screen and skip the 3D – not worth the extra money and may actually make some of the sequences visually worse.  I was glad to have seen it in 2D.  Make sure to watch the credits…

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

I know, faithful readers, I have let you down by not providing you my words of wisdom regarding the state of movies today.  In reviewing the list, I admit that it is a daunting task facing me.  Never fear, though, I will do a mammoth session of writing and get all of these posted this weekend.  The plan is to do the ones that are out now and then provide the others as backfill.

Here is the list:

  • Rango
  • Gnomeo and Juliet
  • The Conspirator
  • Thor
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  • Bridesmaids
  • Hangover II
  • X-Men: First Class
  • Super 8
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Green Lantern

Let the games begin..