BlokeBusting The Essentials #88: Green Lantern
#88: Green Lantern
They Made The Supersuit Green. And Animated…
Wow, that was the longest time-out ever! I do apologise for the delay, but things got a bit hectic and erratic for a while. I hope you are all keeping as safe as possible, wearing your superhero masks (because they look cool, if nothing else) and not going too stir-crazy. Anyway, on with the show. We’re here. We knew this one would turn up eventually. Oh boy…
This film was something that kinda came out of nowhere and I went into knowing next to nothing about the Green Lantern canon. My memory of the outcome of the first watch (and only until last month) was: “That was…… a thing.”. I recall that I didn’t mind Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, but the rest of the film was not very good (or even borderline terrible). Did the film get better over time? Let’s find out!
- Ryan Reynolds: Hal Jordan/Green Lantern
As I said before, I didn’t mind him as Hal when I saw the film. For all the film’s faults, Ryan always seems to be trying his best with what he has. The issue is that the film is on such a tight track that any of the things you’d like them to try (maybe showing him abusing the power a bit, learning that he can do anything and needs to overcome the human flaws to be a paragon or even just a scene where we really get to see him struggle with the “right thing”) are just not there because the bad guy has made another bad guy and the good guy must defeat the bad guy so he can then defeat the bad guy. I have to think that if the film was made now with the same cast, we’d see a vastly different film with more time for Ryan to flex both his acting and comedy chops. Ah well…
- Blake Lively: Carol Ferris
I do appreciate that this character is shown as a smart, forward-thinking woman who has moved on from their relationship and is not a typical damsel in distress. And then that all comes crashing down when she becomes a damsel in distress. And I’m not saying that she is transformed into the standard Daphne figure, but she’s thrust into a situation where the only way out is for Green Lantern to save her since she, you know, doesn’t have powers or anything. It’s kinda hard to keep a human relevant to the plot outside of a relationship of some kind when giant space magic is going on. So yeah, another “what could have been” moment thanks to the script.
- Peter Sarsgaard: Hector Hammond
This was probably the best character in the film, if only because it felt the most like he had an actual full arc. He starts out timid before growing into a villain that can be somewhat sympathised with. We see him drown in the villainy and we know that he will need to be defeated. So we’re really looking forward to seeing the final confrontation. And then….. he gets taken out by the above-mentioned space magic. (Yes, I know the character is Parallax but basically it’s Space Magic as far as the film’s creators seem to be concerned.) It’s such an anti-climax that I am genuinely surprised that nobody took the writer aside and explained what a boring way to remove a villain it was. Such a shame.
- Mark Strong: Thaal Sinestro
I like him. I could actually believe his character’s arc, his reasoning for his actions and his dislike for the Earthian Green Lantern. And there might be a reason for this. More than anyone else, this character is heavily based on the original comic character. So we do get to see what following the source material closely can do (I know, such a novel concept!). And this character really doesn’t get that much screen time, so there wasn’t much of a chance to see what happens when they move away from the stereotypical “I don’t like you but eventually I will work with you because I need to” mean superior. Which was probably good for this film as we really needed something good to grab from this film.
Right. So, this film is set in modern times (or at least current times as of when the film was made) and has a fairly good amount of exposition for those new to Green Lantern. The problem we have is that most of the characters are so cookie-cutter that we’re often looking to the plot and background for any substance and…… it’s not really there. Now I’ll be the first to admit that a fair number of comic book narratives don’t hold up to much sustained critiques. There’s a lot of hand waving or “Obviously this couldn’t be done this way because…. squirrel!” in comics as some characters are too powerful for things to be an issue. And in this film we see plenty of hand waving. The main human bad guy is able to use his powers because….. his brain is connected to the space fog? The reason Hal’s ring constructions are sometimes broken immediately and sometimes stronger than anything else is….. he just thought a bit harder this time. The reason both Parallax’s host and Sinestro utterly believe(d) that the Yellow Fear force can be controlled despite every single piece of evidence stating otherwise is…… OK, that one is still a mystery to me.
And I feel like the film really does try too hard to answer all the questions in one go. If we got this film today, I honestly think they would have learned from modern films and known that we don’t need EVERYTHING explained and wrapped up in the first film. My take? I’d not have Parallax show up on Earth. He’d have escaped but we wouldn’t learn it until the middle of the film. We’d get more of the descent into madness from Hector so we can see the character really struggle with not wanting to lose his mind but slowly losing the fight to Parallax throughout the film. We’d see more of the viewpoints of the Lantern Corps and get to really understand the wide range of characters and viewpoints brought into the Corps while seeing the underlying x-factor that all members of the Corps have and that Hal obviously has even if he has trouble seeing it himself. And I honestly think that’s all we needed. More character depth and less “SHOW EVERYTHING!!” would really have helped this film. But obviously that’s not what we got. *sighs*
Ok, time to see what Bubba has to say about this film!
I often remember liking this movie more than most. I thought Ryan Reynolds was a decent choice for Hal Jordan, and I didn’t find the CGI costume as bad as others did. This time around, the flaws stood out a bit more than they did last time, but I still found enjoyment in nearly all of the scenes in space, there just wasn’t enough of it. I enjoyed Kilowogg, I thought Sinestro’s set up was great with a decent motivation and all the performances were well done. Where it fell apart was the follow through and the villains. Sinestro was set up great, then they just made him go “ok, now I’m evil for the sequel that we’ll never get” in the mid-credits sequence. Hal Jordan didn’t get enough training, he just sucked and then he was good. And the villains were awful. Parallax was a giant cloud that sucked out people’s fear in the form of a skeleton for some reason, and he infected some scientist who got a big head and telekinesis for some reason. It didn’t make sense and the giant cloud was ultimately defeated by a punch to the face. Just awful.
What’s more important about this film is where it falls in DC’s timeline. This was set up to be a start for the next Justice League. It was made inbetween the Dark Knight and the Dark Knight Rises, and it was obviously set up for Sinestro to become the villain for the next movie with the obvious potential to introduce other Justice League members to follow up on Marvel’s heels with their Avengers tease in Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk. Despite the negative reviews, it was a modest success with an opening weekend of $53M and a worldwide take over $200M, at least it would have been except for the fact that they sunk $200M into the film in the first place. This was really DC swinging for the fences and completely missing the mark. In a way, it was a good thing as Ryan Reynolds would go on to champion a faithful Deadpool movie and sequel, although DC’s extended universe has currently been met with very mixed results. And time will tell whether or not the rumored Green Lantern Corps movie comes to fruition as is successful.
Well put Mr Wheat, well put. And now, we move into the grand questions!
- Would I recommend this film to others?
- Does this film deserve to be on the list?
- If so, where does it appear on the list?
Shall we begin at the beginning? Why not!
1) I guess? It’s not terrible and some of the performances can be good. Ryan Reynolds does give a few great moments and Taika Waititi just exudes fun when he’s on screen (which isn’t much). But you really have to like and understand the trope-y comic book films of that era to get much from this film.
2) Yeah. It is the only live-action Green Lantern film we have and therefore does deserve a spot on the hallowed list. And so, the final question remains…
3) And the answer is:
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- The Crow
- Men In Black
- Dr Strange
- Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
- Batman: The Killing Joke
- Superman 3
- The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman
- The Meteor Man
- Green Lantern
- Howard The Duck
- The Fantastic Four (1994)
- The Punisher
- Batman & Robin
- The Amazing Spider-Man
- Batman Forever
- BvS: Dawn Of Justice
Wonder Woman (replacing The Death Of The Hulk)
X-Men: The Last Stand (replacing Catwoman)
Turbo Kid (replacing The Incredible Hulk)
The Incredibles 2 (replacing Fant4stic)
And there you have it! Now, I’ve recharged my ring and my sarcasm skills are back to full strength. I shall away to my penthouse apartment and prepare for the next instalment of BlokeBusting The Essentials. And if you see a weird man with only a small coloured bit of fabric over his eyes staring at you from your window, it’s probably not me. Promise. Ok bye!