The brightest… movie?

(I’m still working on my season 6 analysis but wanted to post this since I’ve been seeing a lot of negative reviews out there.)

(and if you want to save time, I pretty much agree with Linkara on his review)

the movie

Confession time: I have not always been a Green Lantern fan.  The most I knew about him came from the 90’s JLA comic where Kyle Rayner ran with the team.  He always seemed cool, but I didn’t feel the desire to read his solo adventures.  Then I read Geoff John’s “Green Lantern: Rebirth” and the “Sinestro Corp Wars”.  Then, I was hooked.  The reason I grew attached to the GL series? (both the main one and the “Green Lantern Corp” books)?  Same reason I loved the early JLA and Firestorm is one of my favorite heroes: Because I find characters more interesting when they have other people to “bounce” off of.  The Green Lantern corp granted that on a wide scale.  When it became “COPS: In Space!”, I was hooked.

There’s very few stories that I would say are “fixed” in a medium, but Green Lantern comes very close to being fixed in comic books.  The constructs of the rings are very visual and great ways of showing the internal makeup of an individual Lantern that wouldn’t work as well in a radio/literature format.  However, the question of how the rings work doesn’t always translate well to the motion format of TV/movies.  Do the constructs spawn “from” the ring?  Are they summoned?  In comic form the reader can fill in the blanks with the method they prefer, but on screen it can be tough to get the look right and have it be acceptable to everyone watching.  So while I was looking forward to the GL movie, I was a bit… apprehensive.

But I ended up enjoying it.

It’s entertaining and worth a matinee.  I’d have to give it…

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(spoiler discussion)

On some level I kind of hate Iron Man and the Dark Knight as they’ve now set the bars too high for comic book movies.  Either you have to be as fun and lighthearted as IM or as serious and grave as tDK.  GL has a bit of a problem both in its source material.  On the one hand, the ring can make anything you want.  You get to go to space and meet aliens!  It has a lot of motifs common to the original Star Wars and as such it is hard not to have a fun time.  However, we are talking about a story in grand scale – one that covers the entire universe!  With only 1 lantern per section, the GL corps would have to (by necessity) limit itself to only the gravest threats and avoid more “petty” events on worlds, even something along the scale of say… World War 2.  The sheer magnitude of things involve means that all events also have a certain gravitas.  All in all I guess the movie balanced things as well as it could.  Maybe it could have been more fun – but then it might not have been as serious as it needed to be.  It’s tough to say.

So did I have any complaints?  2 major ones: There is a point in the movie, where Hal Jordan makes his turning point in his character arc, where I can tell the writers had no idea how to move things organically forward.  He flies to Oa and makes a crappy speech that just falls flat, but what makes it worse, is that there’s no reason for him to do this.  We don’t see him getting a communication about what’s going on on Oa.  He makes a plea for the guardians to avoid a particular action, when Hal Jordan should have no context or knowledge about that action (unless the earlier data download into his mind told him but… that also doesn’t fit with the movie).  I actually liked the idea hinted at that Hector was a “beacon” for the big bad (even if it does rip off Silver Surfer a bit) and wish the movie had gone for the corps trying to take Hector off-world to save earth while Hal is conflicted over the treatment of his friend vs several billion lives.  That would have really tightened up the second half.

Second: while every actor in this movie is pretty good (especially Sinestro and the voices of the other lanterns), I had to feel sorry for Hector Hammond.  At some point, his scenes of screaming in pain – while justifiable – get very annoying and excessive.  Trim some seconds off those guys, give us more time with other points.

Minor quibbles: I don’t mind Hal’s family, but I wish they had done more with it (it all seems to be forgotten by the time he gets the ring).  A simple touch – like Hal wearing his father’s jacket underneath his GL uniform (which… he always does in the comic) would have been a powerful touch.  Kilowag is one of my favorite lanterns and I was disappointed we didn’t get to see more of him.

I’m still not convinced that Ryan Reynolds is a good Hal Jordan (he’s definitely more fitting for Deadpool or Wally West) but that’s ok since this movie it seems like they combined all four earth GL’s into one character.  The most obvious are Hal (his exterior world remains the same) and Kyle – as Ryan has to struggle with the legacy of the one who came before and finds himself up to the task.  The trains of John Stewart & Guy Gardner are… more debatable.  I say he’s like Guy in that Ryan is more brash and impulsive than I think the comic Hal is, while his constructs seem to be like John and “not hollow”.

Blake Lively as Carol Ferris did pretty good and looks much more attractive as a brunette than her usual blonde (if you ask me).  She does pretty good as the friend with UST and here’s hoping we get to see her as Star Sapphire in the next movie.

The rest of the cast does a pretty good job with Peter Sarsgaard being suitably pitiful as Hector Hammond and Mark Strong as Sinestro was so perfect I’m itching at the thought of him carrying a sequel.  If only we had more Kilowag (though I would have preferred him to be more practical effect than CGI).  Oa and the core as a whole look pretty good, combining all the art styles of the various GL artists.  It’s hard not to compare it with Asgard in this year’s Thor, but I think both work perfectly.  Asgard looked like the realm that human-esque gods would inhabit.  While Oa looks very alien and ancient.  It was also a treat to see how many GLs I could identify in the wide group shots, and I admit to getting a little misty-eyed when all the lanterns throw up a beam in solidarity.

It’s actually… a good start.  From here we’ll hopefully see improvement in coming sequels. (even better, the GL franchise could work like the James Bond franchise, so that you don’t need to “reboot” it, you have a built in reason for the actor to change every few movies!)

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights

It’s a Green Lantern movie with Nathan Fillon doing the voice of Hal Jordan.  Do I need to say more to get you to buy this?

Fine.  It also has Mogo.

Yeah it’s pretty good.  It’s mostly a story anthology, animating many of the most famous GL comic stories.  The most disappointing part about this movie is that I couldn’t figure out which continuity it belonged to.  It cannot tie into the previous movie, but doesn’t seem to quite fit with the live action movie either (well… it can…).

Still, a must for GL fans, but just a rental for casual aficionados.  Although hearing Captain Mal voicing Hal will make you kind of hate Ryan and the casting director of the live movie…

Let no evil escape your sight, readers.

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