Saturday, June 25, 2011

Quick Review: Green Lantern

I was looking forward to Green Lantern. Even bad reviews couldn’t kill my excitement. Unfortunately, seeing the film did kill the excitement. Hal Jordan is a test pilot still fixated on his own father’s death at the stick. When Green Lantern Abin Sur is close to death, his ring selects Jordan as a ring-bearer. From there we see him train on Oa, get the cold shoulder from Sinestro, argue, bond, argue, bond with Carol Ferris, and save the world.

Good: Some of the only good scenes are when Hal is on Oa hanging out with other Green Lanterns. In the comics, Sinestro was a Green Lantern at one time and the movie did a great job making him both commanding and likeable but adding a little foreshadowing to the story where you can see him being the evil villain he was destined to become. In the comic, the ring is useless on anything yellow. I’m glad the movie didn’t mention it and the ring worked fine on yellow things.

Bad: Geez. Where do I start? The main villain in this film is Parallax, a yellow blob that destroys planets and manages to kill several powerful Green Lanterns including the one who was able to imprison him at one time, Abin Sur. Hal is able to kill the villain in what has to be the most uninspired final battle since the ‘strobe-light-battle’ in Ang Lee’s “The Hulk.” My thought is that if you start the franchise with Parallax, battling against someone weaker (Sinestro) in the sequel is pretty lame.

I also hated Carol Ferris and the Hal/Carol story. She’s mad at him, she’s disappointed in him, she’s worried about him, she’s disappointed in him again, she’s mad again, she’s supportive – PICK ONE. Less would have been more. I thought one of the cooler things was when Hal when to her house has Green Lantern and I thought he was going to reveal his secret, instead Carol quickly figures out who he is (the tiny mask makes for a lousy disguise from a childhood friend). I was disappointed because I thought it would be the first time I saw any emotional depth from the characters in the film. The heartfelt conversation afterward was unnecessary because 20 minutes later she repeats part of it in his apartment.

See It/Skip It/Buy It: There was so much I hated about this film. I haven’t even scratched the surface. SKIP IT. Don’t give Warner Bros a reason to make a sequel. Make them start over like they’re doing with Superman. In the future (if there are any  Warner Bros reps watching) watch Marvel movies to see how to create characters that the audience roots for (Tony Stark is a womanizing alcoholic with a HUGE ego and we still like him so writing a likeable Hal Jordan is possible). So far I’ve hated Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern, Deadpool, and he was pretty good as Hannibal in Blade Trinity. I don’t know if I should blame him, the script, or the director (Chris Evans has done a lot of comic book movies and been great in all of them – I can’t wait until Captain America comes out).

What I would have done differently: I would have made the movie more about Hal and Sinestro. Hal is a successful test pilot (not a dude still suffering some kind of PTSD over his father’s death) who is selected for the Corps after being suspended for destroying a test jet (not for incompetence but because it will take the company a while to get another jet up and running for Hal to test). On Oa, he will train, bond, and go on missions with Kilowog and Sinestro while returning to earth every so often.

Carol Ferris, a pilot and the daughter of the owner of Hal’s company, comes to check up on him and hang out – they have enjoyed a close friendship since childhood. Hal’s training on Oa is making him less glib as he has seen a lot of other cultures and saved lives. Carol is attracted to Hal’s newfound sense of responsibility even if she doesn’t know where it comes from and the two start dating. While out on a date, something happens and Hal is forced to use the ring to save Carol or save someone right in front of her. Eventually Sinestro would meet Carol either on Earth or because Hal takes her to Oa. When the Yellow Lantern Corps threatens either Earth or Oa, Carol is there to see it – Hal and Sinestro side-by-side, friends.

At some point in the battle, Sinestro puts a yellow ring on with his green ring still on and is able to wield them both, tipping the scales so Hal can get the upper hand and help to defeat the remaining Yellow Lanterns. At the end, Hal thanks his friend Sinestro for helping to either keep Earth or (if they’re on Oa) Carol safe. Sinestro is still wearing both rings and Hal jokes that he’s going to have to take one of those rings off eventually (as the yellow one seemed painful to use during the fight). At the end, Hal and Carol fly off into the sunset and have some meaningful conversation or other.

At the very end (maybe after the credits), Sinestro is looking down on Oa, the planet is so small to him from where he is in space. He looks down at the two rings on his finger. You then see him from the chest up, he looks like he’s taking a ring off and lifts a green ring into view – he’s taken it off! Slowly his costume changes from Green to Yellow Lantern and he glares at the green ring as he releases it, allowing it to float away from him. As he flies off, the green ring pulses and zips off through space where it goes to Earth to land in the hand of John Stewart, Guy Gardner, or Kyle Rayner.

This would set up a second movie where Hal, Carol, and the Corps are conflicted about Sinestro being a Yellow Lantern and Hal spends the movie fighting him but trying to convince him to take the yellow ring off until deciding that Sinestro has to be stopped even if it means killing him, setting Sinestro up as Hal’s arch-enemy. Hal also has to train the new Green Lantern chosen by Sinestro’s ring. And Sinestro goes after his old ring’s new bearer, taking it personal that someone dares to wield it.

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