Green Lantern: 6 Things You Should Know

Four years ago, I put Green Lantern at the top of a wish list of comic book properties I wanted to see turned into movies (right above Thor, in fact).

Similar to the way I wrote about Thor, here are six things you should know about Green Lantern. I’d originally intended to come up with a list of 10, but the movie isn’t interesting enough (even in a negative way) to go past six.

1. Because of Marvel’s recent movies which tie into the upcoming Avengers movie (Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and next month’s Captain America), there’s a temptation to look for easter eggs and continuity threads in DC’s big summer flick.

Look all you want–there are none. DC has chosen to ignore the (successful and geek-friendly) Marvel movie model of weaving its characters into a larger cinematic tapestry. For now, Batman, Green Lantern, Superman, et al., exist in siloed universes.

If they wanted to, DC could build its movies into the same continuity, using Angela Bassett’s Amanda Waller character as a common thread in future films (a la Nick Fury in the Marvel movies).

2. The effects are cheesy. I thought they looked bad in early trailers and clips, but assumed they’d be more refined once the movie was released. Nope. Green Lantern’s costume makes it look like Ryan Reynolds’ head is floating on top of a Green Lantern cartoon body. It’s even worse in the scenes where GL is flying.

3. The acting sucks. Blake Lively, cast as Hal Jordan’s love interest Carol Ferris, is as dull as a dying power battery throughout the movie. There’s nothing about her to love. Seriously, nothing.

As for Hal Jordan, internet pundits had a a field day when news of Ryan Reynolds’ casting was first announced. The common feeling was that Reynolds didn’t have the gravitas to pull it off. Counter-arguments pointed to Michael Keaton’s successful casting as Batman and song-and-dance-man Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine. Ryan Reynolds is no Keaton or Jackman; he’s awful as Green Lantern.

4. Okay, not all of the acting sucks. Peter Sarsgaard, as creepy scientist turned mentalist Hector Hammond, is a scene-stealer. Sarsgaard unnerves everyone around him with his lived-in-his-parents’-basement-too-long social skills, and later goes to town with his “evil yellow energy”-inspired malevolence.

Mark Strong, the baddie from Sherlock Holmes, also makes an impression as Sinestro, an A-list Green Lantern awaiting his Anakin-to-Vader moment. There’s just not enough of him in Green Lantern.

Based on the movie’s (not a surprise, thanks to the internet) ending, it looks like Sinestro’s story cycle will leap right over character development and make him the main foe of the inevitable sequel.

5. Parallax. The primary villain of Green Lantern is a ridiculous evil cloud with tendrils and a frowny face. Think Galactus in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

6. The science fiction aspects are much more interesting and fun than anything happening on Earth. The mythology of Green Lantern (the Guardians of the Universe, the planet OA, Abin Sur, Kilowog and Tomar-Re) are great foundations for a space opera that never comes together.

On a related note, seeing the Green Lantern Corps as a collective, a space zoo of creatures with power rings, was great fun.

I understand the temptation to see Green Lantern. I was right there with you. Believe me when I tell you that you’ll enjoy it more on Netflix, six months from now.

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