In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night
Please Do Not Believe The Hype
Let Those Who Watch The Lantern’s Flight
Go See This Movie
It’s Almost Right.
When you take into account that this movie has essentially failed at the box office, and it has been horribly panned by critics and fans alike, I was leery of seeing it. I might have passed it up altogether if a friend of mine hadn’t extended a last-minute invitation. I had multiple reservations about this film from the moment it was announced; foremost was Ryan Reynold’s ability to play a convincing Hal Jordan. Discussing the movie with a friend, and my hesitation to see it (he was in favor), we started discussing Ryan Reynold’s range. I asked him to give me a case where Ryan Reynold’s played the bad guy.
Being a fan of Green Lantern, it wasn’t just this story I was interested in. Of course, this movie is an origin story, telling the story of cocky pilot Hal Jordan’s acceptance of the ring of power from the dying Abin Sur, the reluctance of the long-established Green Lantern Corps accepting a human, and the inevitable first conflict that would establish Hal Jordan not only as a capable Green Lantern, but the one who would rise to become the greatest of them. Yes, most of us know that story.
A lot of us don’t know that Sinestro, once their finest warrior, would become their greatest nemesis. A lot of us don’t know that Hal Jordan would eventually be driven mad (check out the Death of Superman to see how it starts) and nearly destroy the entire corps while becoming one of the DC universe’s most tragic characters. Whoever played Hal Jordan didn’t just have to sell me on the cocky pilot; I wanted to see the seeds planted of what he would become in this film as well. I wanted to see Sinestro’s infallible arrogance.
For the most part, I wasn’t disappointed. The movie is far from perfect, in fact, it’s not even great, but it’s still a good time.
Hollywood has to walk a fine line with films like these; paying close attention to the fans, who will eviscerate something if they feel it’s done wrong, while being accessible to newcomers. Despite heavy doses of fan service, Green Lantern falls off the line occassionally. While stalwarts will recognize the hand of Geoff Johns, so much canon is ignored that it’s nearly offensive. This is especially true in the case of Parallax’s origin, which will surely cause a few “WTF?!” from fans.
Casting in this film is both hit-and-miss. I was blown away by Ryan Reynold’s portrayal of Hal Jordan, who transitions from arrogant pilot humble hero-in-training. Like most aspects of this film, his character development is often hurried, but he took the role seriously and you can tell in his performance. One can believe Ryan Reynold’s Hal Jordan will one day go nuts, if Hollywood chooses to go that route (are you reading, Hollywood? Go that route, please). Another pleasant surprise was Michael Clarke Duncan as Kilowog, drill instructor to the Green Lantern Corps. Again, when I heard this, I rolled my eyes. Big black guy playing big bad drill instructor? Seriously?
Instead, Michael Clarke Duncan brings a lot of heart to the character, turning what could’ve been a cliché performance into a role we would’ve liked to see more of. Mark Strong is another surprise as Sinestro, although there’s more talking than action from him. Sure, he can rouse the troops, but we never really get to see why he’s revered as the greatest Green Lantern. No shortage of arrogance on his part, and it’s in the lines he doesn’t speak. It’s in his eyes as he addresses the Guardians and meets Hal Jordan. The only real miss here is Tim Robbins as a Senator Hammond, a complete throw-away character, and I think he knew that.
The special effects are what they should be, but nothing jaw-dropping. A chief complaint I have with the film is that they did not use Parallax’s true form, which I think would’ve been a lot scarier than the thing they dredged up.
Top: The True Form Of Parallax
Bottom: The Film Form Of Parallax
Overall, Green Lantern isn’t nearly as bad as what you’ve been led to believe. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as both a fan of the series and a filmgoer. Most performances are surprises and the special effects are plausible, if nothing special. This is good Saturday afternoon fun, and if you don’t expect strict adherence to the canon, you’ll have a good time.
(c) Avery K. Tingle for Akting Out LLC
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