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Green Lantern (3D) review [2]

REVIEWS - MOVIES

A ratings upgrade from Caleb for the verdant crusader...

Green Lantern

Spoilers Within

It is the burden of every comic book fanatic to face the fact that movie versions of our favorite titles are never going to be as good as the books. Sometimes the filmmakers get it right (X2, Spider-Man 2, or Nolan’s Batman franchise), and they give us a film that stays as true to the source material as possible while still putting out a picture that the average audience member will want to see. Concessions are made to make a film that is marketable, and you have to hope it works. In the case of Green Lantern, it sort of works.

Green Lantern tells the origin story of Hal Jordan as the title character. He’s a test pilot for Ferris Aircraft, and more than a little bit of a screw-up. He’s brash, irresponsible, and flawed. The memories of seeing his test pilot father being killed in an accident haunt him, and his false bravado is a cover. His boss and former lover Carol Ferris cares deeply for him, but tries in vain to keep him grounded. The next part is straight from the comics, where Abin Sur crashes on Earth, and the ring finds Hal. He travels to Oa, the planet of the Green Lantern Corps, where the immortal Guardians have used them as universal police for centuries. There he meets Sinestro, a Lantern trained by Abin Sur and someone that has little use for humans; Tomar-Re, another alien who teaches Jordan how to use the ring; and of course, Kilowog, the trainer (and the one guy I wanted to see badly – more on that in a bit).

The big bad of the movie is a monstrous force called Parallax, a creature that feeds off of the fear of others. Originally he was a Guardian, but he wanted to learn more about the yellow power of fear, which eventually took him over. He kills Abin Sur, leaving a part of him behind in his body, which is autopsied by Dr. Hector Hammond for a secret government program overseen by Hammond’s father, a U.S. Senator who has always been disappointed in his son. Present at the autopsy is Amanda Waller, a DC comics staple, and a character who I would have to believe will help tie the movies together if Warner Bros. indeed plans on doing a Justice League movie. Anyway, this piece of Parallax infects Hammond, who becomes a deformed mind reader, and has intentions of getting Carol and taking care of Hal...

The film in and of itself is quite entertaining, and visually stunning. I saw it in 3D, and it really is at times breathtaking. The acting is really good, especially on Ryan Reynolds’ part (although, I do now agree with another comment I read online which said that he would have been a better choice for The Flash). He is able to convey pathos in scenes where he doubts his ability to be a Green Lantern, and he has the charm to pull off a cocky test pilot. I do certainly hope, though, that his pulling this role off doesn’t mean that they will eventually bring Will Smith on as John Stewart. Reynolds also does well with the green screen filming, which can turn many actors rather wooden. Blake Lively is very good as Carol Ferris, being able to portray an able pilot, a business woman, and still seem to show true emotion toward Jordan. Peter Sarsgaard plays Hammond with an eccentricity not seen in many films. He also seems to relish the moments of true madness as he’s taken over by Parallax.

"Green Lantern really is an entertaining film, and one that you really should go out of your way to see in 3D"

Green Lantern - Tomar-ReThe other Lanterns and their home base of Oa are brought to life via CGI, and look amazing. The only problem is, there’s far too little of them. Sinestro is obsessed with harnessing the yellow power in a ring to fight Parallax, and Hal gets only brief moments with Tomar-Re and Kilowog. It felt as though there were two separate stories being told – the story of the Corps and the story of Hal, Carol and everyone on Earth – and that made for a few choppy moments as they would skip from Earth to Oa and back again. The scenes on Oa are beautifully rendered, especially in 3D, where the landscape just jumps out at you. The guardians are brilliantly realized, and are believable, which was important because it would be easy for their portrayal to fall into near parody. Another complaint I had was that this film felt as though it were trying too hard to set up a sequel, rather than just tell a great story. We get a mid-credits scene of Sinestro taking the newly-formed yellow ring, putting in on and changing into the yellow costume of the comics. It was a nice touch at the end, but over all, I wanted more Lantern action. The only real action we get from these guys is in a couple of battles with Parallax, and they’re never really given time to develop. I’m begging the filmmakers for more time with the Corps.

The relationship between Hal and Carol was nicely done, and I wonder if they’ll work in more of that to later sequels, especially her descent into evil. And I really hope they expand upon Hal’s relationships with his fellow Lanterns. They are all team members, and you never get the feeling of any sort of camaraderie between all of them. Many of the aliens in the Corps are unsure about humans at first, though, since we are a young race compared to other races, so maybe now that Jordan’s proven himself as one of them, perhaps we’ll see more of the in the next movie.

I’m giving the film 4 out of 5 stars, which might be generous, but it really is an entertaining film, and one that you really should go out of your way to see in 3D. While the everyday shots don’t particularly pop, the visuals on Oa more than make up for it, as do the scenes that take place in outer space. The story is pretty strong, even though it felt as though there were two of them going on at the same time. It helps that producers more and more are hiring comic book writers to help bring these books to the big screen. It’s more than the typical popcorn fare, but it’s not the strongest of superhero movies. I do hope that they build on the strengths of this film with the sequel (which has been pushed back for a few years so that Reynolds can do a Deadpool movie).

4 stars

Check out Guy Kelly's take on Green Lantern

See also:

Green Lantern 3D Trailer

Bad news for fans as Green Lantern scores just 24% on Rotten Tomatoes


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