Green Lantern

In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power… Green Lantern's light!

To say I have been looking forward to the big screen adaptation of “Green Lantern” would be an understatement. I grew up reading comics and though I rarely read them anymore, I still try to keep up with my favorite characters. For some reason Green Lantern and Green Arrow were always high on my list. So with all of the great superhero films that have been coming out, I had some high hopes for Warner Brother’s take on the emerald avenger.

Going in to the theater the other night, we were greeted by hundreds of fans and amazing balloon wall with a 3 Dimensional Green Lantern Corp symbol. It was pretty awesome admittedly. There were a lot of festivities and giveaways to get everyone pumped but we were ready to see the movie.

What I was hoping to tell you today was that “Green Lantern” was everything I expected and more, unfortunately I cannot.

“Green Lantern” does a pretty good job of pulling audiences into the origin of how the power ring came to Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), his discovery of power it brings to him, the oath that allows him to charge the ring, and where the power comes from and his subsequent training. But it also gives us two villains, one on earth and another from space, and with this information overload thrown into an hour and forty minute movie, little is left to fully develop. It’s a bits and pieces kind of film. There are great moments to be sure but these parts do not a great movie make (not to sound like Yoda here…)

Now I won’t tell you not to go see “Green Lantern” as it is an entertaining movie, full of some fantastic imagery (thanks to the power of CGI) and action. As I mentioned, there are some truly magnificent scenes. The first reciting of ‘the oath’ is one. It starts off as a comical scene, but when Reynolds finally delivers it correctly, it is a goose bump inducing moment for any comic book geek. The scenes that take place on OA (the home world to the Green Lantern Corp) are also brilliantly created and look fantastic on screen, but again, they are too short to fully appreciate. The characters that are familiar to fans, like Kilowog, were introduced but little was done with them.

Overall I think the problem just fell back on the writers trying to give us too much story in too little time. There was a lot of eye candy, but nothing to draw you in emotionally. There’s Hal’s love interest, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), but you never really care about their relationship. They introduce Hector Hammond as a scientist who, through no fault of his own, becomes a super-villain but again there’s very little emotional punch to what he goes through and ultimately the chaos he creates.

I wouldn’t blame the actors, all of whom turned in good performances, but more so the writing and editing. Even Ryan Reynolds, whom I originally thought was the wrong actor for the part, was actually pretty good. The plot given here would have been much better served if they had been split into two movies thereby allowing greater development of the characters and the story arc.

I also have to mention the fact that we saw it in 3D. I don’t recommend paying the extra dollars for this. Like every other live action 3D that has been released since “Avatar” (the only one that did it right), the picture is rather dark and murky. And in a film where color means so much, it needs to bright and flashy. The 3D processing made the image too muddy so the few 3D scenes that looked good did not make it worth seeing the whole film that way.

I do recommend seeing it on a big screen simply for the visuals as some of them are stunning (as long as you don’t see it in 3D) and the action sequences are huge. The movie as a whole is entertaining, but in an ‘all flash no substance' kinda way. I would suggest seeing it as a matinee, do not pay full price for an evening showing.

And be sure to stay about a quarter way through the credits. There's a nice little scene that sets up a possible sequel, one I hope gets made as it offers the promise of a better film.

Directed by: Martin Campbell
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark String, Temuera Morrison,
Studio: Warner Brothers
Opening Date: 6/17/2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13

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