Category Archives: DC

BlokeBusting The Essentials #88: Green Lantern

Ah yes, with that mask you can rest assured that nothing will damage your face and NOBODY will recognise you. Well done.

#88: Green Lantern

or

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…

First Impressions

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!

The Characters

  • 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.

The Setting

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!

  1. Would I recommend this film to others?
  2. Does this film deserve to be on the list?
  3. 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:

  1. Hellboy
  2. Captain America: The First Avenger
  3. The Crow
  4. Men In Black
  5. Dr Strange
  6. Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
  7. Megamind
  8. Thor
  9. Batman: The Killing Joke
  10. Superman 3
  11. The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman
  12. The Meteor Man
  13. Supergirl
  14. Green Lantern
  15. Howard The Duck
  16. The Fantastic Four (1994)
  17. The Punisher
  18. Batman & Robin
  19. The Amazing Spider-Man
  20. Batman Forever
  21. BvS: Dawn Of Justice

    Potential Substitutions:

    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!

Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn

Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn 2020

It’s the start of a new year and I was able to see the first theatrical superhero release of the new decade. It’s also the first film in what may or may not come to be known the year of the woman. At least in theatrical superhero movies. After this Harley Quinn movie, there’s Wonder Woman, Black Widow, and an Angelina Jolie-led Eternals movie on the horizon before the year’s out. Harley Quinn has been one of my favorite DC characters for a long time ever since her debut in Batman: The Animated Series. Quick personal note, I’m planning on getting a Harley tattoo this year. Margot Robbie was one of the best things to come out of the Suicide Squad movie and it’s great to see her get a turn to herself, in a slightly Deadpool-esque way. It’s unfortunate that it didn’t get the box office bump that was expected, but there’s still a chance that it will have staying power. Personally, I loved the film. I loved the characters, the humor, and especially the fight scenes. And as this is a recent release, I will be discussing the film in full so here’s your spoiler warning.

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The Best of the Decade pt. 3: Marvel & DC

And it’s finally time to finish off this giant best of the decade list with the biggest superhero movies to come out over the past ten years. The blockbuster live action movies from DC, Marvel, and the connected Marvel Cinematic Universe. And hopefully after this, I’ll get back to watching some more movies including the movie that won the Patreon poll so be on the lookout for that review coming up soon, plus the new releases will be starting very soon kicking things off with Birds of Prey, the sequel/spin-off for Suicide Squad. It’s been a great decade for Marvel, DC has been much more hit and miss with a strong finish. So, let’s get to the lists!

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The Best of the Decade pt 1: Animation

It’s a new decade, so of course it’s time to look back at the previous decade and rank stuff. So here I am joining in by ranking the top movies that I cover here over the past ten years. And since I’m a big believer that comic book movies aren’t a genre, I’ve split the decade into six different categories and I’ll be sharing two top ten lists each week over the next three weeks. The two lists that I’m sharing today are both animation, but because of their massive output and similar quality across the board, DC Animation is given their own separate category. As for the other list, there is a mix of bigger budget theatrically released animated superhero movies as well as lower budget comic book movies. Enough chit chat, onto the lists!

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The Kitchen

The Kitchen 2019

It’s the last month of the year and I was able to catch up with the last major theatrical release of this past year. There are still a few other home video and TV movie releases that I haven’t gotten around to, but I should get pretty close before the end of this month and will have a ranked list next month. As for this specific movie, I didn’t hear very much good about this when it was in theaters and while I strongly considered going out to watch it, I just missed it. I thought it was interesting that it was based on a comic and it was about Hell’s Kitchen which is usually associated with Daredevil, though it has absolutely nothing to do with any superheroes at all. Instead, it’s a period drama about the mob featuring comedic actresses. Unfortunately, the trailer featured pretty much all of the comedic bits in the mostly dramatic movie, none of the characters really had any strong personalities to draw me into their stories and by the time things got interesting in the third act, it wasn’t enough to save the film.

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Wonder Woman: Bloodlines

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines 2019

It’s time to check out the latest movie from DC Animation. This one takes a slight curveball as it doesn’t really continue the previous continuity though there’s a couple references so that it could still be a part of the major continuity despite being a stand-alone story. It’s also notable for nearly having the entire voice cast be female characters outside of Steve Trevor and a Minotaur. For the most part it follows pretty well in line with the rest of the DC animated movies. It’s a lot of fun to watch with some good action sequences and some nice character beats mixed in here and there. It’s also worth noting that the DC Showcase short packaged with this home video release: Death, is quite excellent as well.

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BlokeBusting The Essentials #90: Batman Forever

#90: Batman Forever

Or

Riddle Me This, Riddle Me That: Who Even Remembers This Bat?

Oh yeah, this film exists!

First Impressions

I remember watching this on TV when I was younger, but I don’t recall if it really made that much of an impression on me. I could clearly remember TLJ’s Two-Face and Carrey’s Riddler, as well as the major plot beats, but I don’t really have any moments from the film that jumped out when I tried to think about it. So, will a re-watch change that?

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Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans

Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans 2019

At my latest trip to the local library, I picked up the latest DC Animated movie with the Teen Titans. I probably said this before when I reviewed the theatrical Teen Titans Go! movie but I’m generally a fan of Go! It makes me laugh, I like the meta humor that comes with it, and there’s plenty of other superhero properties so in general the humor that exists in Go! is different than pretty much anything else in DC. I’ve also more recently been able to go through some of the old episodes of Teen Titans and actually noticed that it was generally a lot less serious than I thought it was going to be. It’s much more serious than Go! but it has plenty of humor to go around. I also love alternate universe stuff and this takes things to an utterly chaotic and ridiculous level that I absolutely loved and I had so much fun watching this. And while there’s not really much of a surprise twist, this is a recent movie so here is your spoiler warning.

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Look, Up in the Sky

Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman 2006

I just recently mentioned that many of these comic book documentaries all felt the same, with plenty of comic book illustrations and talking head interviews with artists and writers. This one is actually quite a notable step up and part of that comes with the pedigree. At least in part, it was created to tie in with Superman Returns, which brought about plenty of Superman nostalgia as it was basically created as a sequel to Superman II. It also helped bring about the Richard Donner cut of that movie, and as a result, this has a lot of star power in terms of its interviews. It also has a large amount of varying media depictions of Superman starting from the early radio programs all the way up through Smallville and Superman Returns. But similar to my recent viewing of the Shazam DC Spotlight, this didn’t feel like it was just a promotional vehicle for Superman Returns, it was a full fledged Superman documentary that gave equal weight to the new movie as it did every other part of Superman’s history. And it did such with a fair amount of interesting and entertaining information.

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DC Spotlight: Shazam!

DC Spotlight: Shazam! 2019

When I went to watch Batman Hush on DC Universe, there was another 2019 title listed right next to it called DC Spotlight: Shazam! I hadn’t heard about this title and when I checked it out, I noticed that it was 52 minutes which qualifies for my definition of feature length, it was a DC Universe Original, and the opening logo made it seem like the first in a possible series of these comic book documentaries. I’ve reviewed a handful of these types of documentaries in the past and it’s becoming more and more difficult just because they are all so similar to each other. They’re all varying degrees of interesting, as this one was, but there’s rarely enough to make it stand out as more than just another comic book documentary.

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