“Green Lantern” Movie Review

The plot

A talented screwup test pilot named Hal Jordan is bestowed with a power ring by a dying alien. The ring allows its bearer to channel their will to create anything they can imagine. It also comes with the duty to defend the Universe as a member of the intergalactic police force, the Green Lantern Corps.

The Green Lantern story is heavy science fantasy complete with an insane amount of characters, history, rules and nuance. Thus, it doesn’t lend itself to quick storytelling like Batman, Superman, Spider-Man and the X-Men do.

In what I can only assume is an attempt to appease fanboys & girls, the Green Lantern movie doesn’t do much to simplify the backstory.

But did it work? The answer is kind of.

The good

The visual effects were beautiful. The alien world of Oa, Parallax and Hal’s green constructs were particular standouts.

Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan), Sinestro (Mark Strong) and Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush) were a lot of fun. I wouldn’t have complained if they had more screen time.

The action was really entertaining. I usually get bored during fight scenes, and I didn’t in this movie.

As complex as the Green Lantern mythos is, they managed to explain it fairly well… But it took a lot of exposition to get there.

The not-so-good

Way too much exposition. There was far too much backstory to cram into a 105 minute flick. It left little room for proper character development.

The Green Lantern Oath should have been cut. It just sounded corny.

Inconsistent acting. I didn’t hate Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, or any of the other actors, but there were no performances that stood out as amazing either. Any number of actors could have been swapped in, and I don’t think anyone would have cared.

The ugly

I’m so damn sick of damsels in distress. Carol Ferris kept switching between type-A uber-woman and meek victim. They really overused the damsel in distress. I found it cliche, lazy and annoying.

The plot leaps around, and is pushed by extensive exposition. At some points major things are revealed abruptly and without explanation. One example was the history between the villain Hector Hammond, Hal and Carol.

The bottom-line

Green Lantern is a fun movie, but not a good movie.

As the credits rolled I found myself asking, “If this wasn’t a popular comic, would it have been made? If some screenwriter dreamed this up all by himself as an original tale, would it be playing in theaters?” The answer is, hell no.

What surprised me was that my girlfriend who doesn’t know the Green Lantern from the Green Arrow walked away from the movie with roughly the same praises and criticisms I had. It meant to me that the movie was disappointing to both established fans, and newcomers. We were both entertained, but not amazed.

If you’re looking at movie times and trying to choose between X-Men: First Class, and the Green Lantern… Go with the X-Men.

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