(RETRO) MOVIE REVIEW: Green Lantern (2011)

Welcome to (RETRO) MOVIE REVIEW, a series of movie reviews I wrote a long time ago. (Some of these were written even before my stint on FlipGeeks.) These were originally published on my old blog (the URL of which I have conveniently and completely forgotten) and on Facebook notes (which have been deleted already). I think I did a lot more geeking out than actual reviewing when I wrote these, but whatever. I hope you enjoy reading!

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Hal Jordan: He said the ring chose me. He said it’s a great honor — responsibility.

Thomas Kalmaku: Responsibility? You? Well, maybe on their planet, “responsibility” just means “asshole.”

Green Lantern

Let’s face it, no self-respecting comics nerd could possibly have gone through years of reading comics without having heard that immortal, iconic oath even at least once. Hell, a lot of casual comics readers I know can even recite the oath in its entirety. So join me as I start this review and charge up my Dork Lantern ring with these powerful words:

THING RING, DO YOUR THING!

Waitaminute, wrong oath. Sorry.

Let’s try that again.

In blackest day or brightest night

Watermelon, cantaloupe, yadda yadda

Erm… superstitious and cowardly lot

With liberty and justice for all!

…That still seems wrong. Never mind, on to the review.

I didn’t really have high hopes for Hal “Highball” Jordan’s movie. Blame it on the fact that I’m partial to Kyle Rayner; it’s crab masks and mecha ring constructs all the way for me. I still remember when they first announced plans for a Green Lantern movie…a comedy flick starring Jack Black, of all people. (I still have nightmares about it sometimes.) When they announced that Ryan Reynolds – the same actor originally slated to become DC’s Flash and Marvel’s Deadpool – was to play the part of everyone’s favorite underaged girl-chasing test pilot, he became the subject of much fanfare and many, many lame shoops of him as different superheroes. Including Wonder Woman. Yes, pictures exist, and no, I will not link you to them. Perverts.

Joining Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern are Blake Lively as Hal’s love interest/future frenemy Carol Ferris, Mark Strong as elite Lantern Thaal Sinestro, Peter Sarsgaard as the bulb-headed psychic terror, Hector Hammond, Temuera Morrison as Sinestro’s buddy and legendary Lantern Abin Sur, Taika Waikiti as Hal’s best bud Kamalku, and Angela Bassett as Dr. Amanda Waller. Also lending their voices are Michael Clarke Duncan as the lovable drill sergeant Kilowog, Geoffrey Rush as Beakface McFishy, I mean, Tomar-Re, and Clancy Brown as the entity of fear, Parallax.

Like pretty much every Hollywood superhero movie, Green Lantern is a semi-faithful adapation of the origin story of the titular character. Daredevil test pilot Hal Jordan stumbles upon a crash site, where a dying alien bequeathes onto him one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. In an instant, his life is changed, and Hal undertakes a cosmic journey, igniting relationships good and bad as he is forced to man up, overcome his fear and save the world.

Surprisingly, one of the weakest points of the film is Ryan Reynolds himself. He was unable to provide the strong (in terms of moral fibre, not assholery) vibe that a character like Hal Jordan should have exuded; if you were to tell me that he was just playing the role of “Ryan Reynolds with a power ring”, I’d answer you with “I KNOW RIGHT!” He had some good lines and scenes, but in the end he left me with the feeling that he would have made a better Kyle Rayner or Guy Gardner.

The choice of villains was somewhat underwhelming as well. Hector Hammond was merely an accessory, almost an unnecessary character in the film, whose relationship with the main characters seemed to be haphazardly thrown in during the middle of the movie. Parallax seemed too generic, and let’s face it, a giant yellow space cloud isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you say the word “fear”. The plot itself is weak and full of holes, and the CGI is not as impressive as you would expect from a film centered around an imagination-based weapon.

However, if you’re planning to see this film with the sole intention of “geeking out”, you won’t be disappointed. Kilowog, Tomar-Re, Salaak, Boodikka, Stel, Galius Zed, Isamot Kol, Rot Lop Fan and even Bzzd are present as part of the Green Lantern Corps, and the mere sight of 3,600 Green Lanterns gathered together is a CGI wonder to behold and appreciate. Hal’s various ring constructs are also interesting elements that add more oomph to the film. Little easter eggs here and there make this movie a treat for comics fans. We even get to see traces, as well as the roots, of a significant part of modern Green Lantern mythos in the comics, from signs and symbols to an entire post-credits scene dedicated to it…

…which really doesn’t jive with the rest of the film. Frankly, I was disappointed with the post-credits scene. It did not make much sense if you take into consideration the actions, motivations and behavior of the post-credits character during the entire movie. There was no proper buildup to it, and movie continuity-wise, there was really no reason for the post-credits scene to happen, other than to lay the groundwork for a sequel.

Is it a great movie? No.

Is it better than Thor? Debateable, but First Class is definitely leagues above it.

Will you enjoy the film? Yes, if you’re into comics and cosmic stuff.

Should you see it? By all means, go ahead. Just don’t set your expectations too high.

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IN THE COMICS:

Hal Jordan – once again the premiere Green Lantern of Sector 2814, despite having turned into a psychotic mass-murdering all-powerful entity and being responsible for wiping out the entire Green Lantern Corps.

Carol Ferris – still wants to get it on with Hal Jordan, and is a Star Sapphire (Violet Lantern, pretty much), powered by emotion of love…and, apparently, a glowing crotch. I’m serious. Here, take a look: http://www.oafe.net/yo/art/dcucgl2_ss4.jpg

Sinestro – former hero turned villain and  leader of the Sinestro Corps, a.k.a. the Yellow Lanterns (Fear). Was a pain in the butt for Hal for pretty much his entire career until recently, after the events of Blackest Night (a story about zombies with black power rings) left them with an uneasy sort of peace.

Hector Hammond – huge-headed and spending time trapped in God-knows-where.

Parallax – a giant yellow space bug retconned into the easiest way for Hal Jordan to reclaim his former glory. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallax_(comics)#History)

Kilowog – a hulking cross between a steroid-abusng powerlifter and a boar and a well-loved character.

Tomar-Re – dead. ;_;

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Oh, and you should totally listen to this song. If they’d put this in the soundtrack, the movie would have been so much better (shoutout to Bim Barbieto for linking to this song on FB, the reason why I heard it in the first place).

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