Jun. 17th, 2011

thehefner: (Green Lantern: Bling Bling!)
While I steadfastly avoided the reviews for Green Lantern which popped up today on the sites I usually go to (and the fact that they're not releasing reviews until the day before release is a bad sign of WB/DC's own confidence in their overly-promoted would-be blockbuster), just seeing the dire headlines was enough to confirm the worst: this film was going to be the disaster we always thought it would be. Or worse, it would be a tedious slog with horrible CGI, an inglorious mess which isn't even fun as a train wreck.

The reality is, it wasn't that bad. Oh, it wasn't great either, but it's far from a terrible movie. It's just an incredibly flawed movie with great stuff that are threatened to be overshadowed by stupid and boring stuff. It has FOUR story credits, and it sure feels like four half-baked films with great premises, great moments, great potential, all of which go nowhere.

For instance, take Hector Hammond, the giant-headed sub-villain of the film. He's given decidedly more humanity, tragedy, and backstory than the character in comics ever had, but so much of that comes through the actor's performance and scant hints from the screenplay which, at times, seem to come out of nowhere, and subseqquently go nowhere. Hector's subplot, which had a lot of great elements, ultimately didn't serve the movie one bit, and just added to the bloat.

This is going to sound worse than I mean it, but in terms of that bloat, I was comparing Green Lantern to the third Pirates movie, while Henchgirl compared it to X-Men 3. Now, I liked GL waayyyyyy more than either of those films, especially fucking Pirates 3, but GL similarly suffers from filmmakers wanting to cram way too much into one little film, introducing one great element only to abandon it for another, and so on.

For example: Tomar-Re was WONDERFUL. Geoffery Rush and the CGI team combined to make a delightful character and break ol' fish-beak to life. He showed up, had great lines, delivered exposition, then vanished. What was the point of having him there in the first place? Then Sinestro shows up to beat up Hal, which serves as both a prelude for their friendship in the short term and their OTP of Hatred in the long term. But before any of that can be established, he too is gone. Mark Strong's Sinestro was great and nuanced, but he too was given far too little to do, and he shared far too little screentime with Hal to make it matter. Henchgirl says that Sinestro could have had Tomar-Re's whole role, and she's absolutely right. Just one of many examples of this film trying to spread itself too thin with the mythos.

I don't know what this film should have been. Maybe it should have been grounded entirely on Earth, with Hal Jordan's life being intruded upon by sci-fi elements with a few hints of the grander cosmic opera into which he's found himself intertwined. Maybe they should have thrust Hal directly to Oa and the Corps, dropping the cocky human right into the Space Opera amidst all the aliens ala Farscape. Maybe they should have ditched Green Lantern: Secret Origin (the lackluster Geoff Johns take on Hal's origin which DC is pushing as the be-all end-all BIBLE of Hal Jordan) and instead gone for Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn, the greatest GL origin which has been forgotten because people still hate that Hal was a drunk driver in that story. I defy people to look down on that now, since the Hal Jordan of the film is a complete and utter ASSHOLE. Not even a redeemable asshole like Tony Stark, just an asshole. As a longtime Hal Jordan fan, it pisses me off that many people will see that as a faithful take on the character.

The film wasn't terrible. I mean, it was a mess, and it was often boring, but it was also often delightful, fun, funny, thrilling, and soaring (Hal's first flight was a genuine bit of movie magic). We saw this in 2D, but we now want to watch it in 3D. I actually want to pay money to see this film in 3D. That should count for something. God knows how much watching it on the small screen will hurt the effects and bring out the flaws.

In terms of enjoyment quality, I put this film on the level of the first X-Men and Spider-Man films. Which is to say, they're flawed messes with cheese, stupidity, and tedium duking it out with the great stuff, which itself sets the stage for a potentially GREAT sequel. Here's hoping that happens, assuming that this doesn't flop. Granted, Transformers was a ridiculously stupid and critically-panned movie that was still a hit, but I fear that GL might be slightly too smart even in its stupidity to appeal to your average stupid movie-viewer. And if it flops, god knows what that'll mean for DC, who seems to have everything riding on this one damn movie.

There's a lot more I could say, but for now, this is the only review I've yet read which pretty much nails my thoughts (but it comes with a SPOILER tag, so be warned). For those who've seen it, let's discuss it in the comments.

I've been waiting for a Green Lantern movie with Hal Jordan and the Corps since I was thirteen years old. I feel like I'm still waiting.

September 2012

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