Monday, June 20, 2011

Green Lantern

I didn't think it was so bad. I also saw it in a theater that serves alcohol.

I've mentioned my love for Green Lantern before. I've also mentioned how grateful I am that Geoff Johns turned the franchise from a rudderless obligation for DC to its third most popular franchise. That success lead the WB to spend $200 million on a feature film. Shame they didn't treat that investment with more care.

It's been rumored that Johns had input into the film. It must have been early and disregarded. There are his signature touches; the discussion of willpower as a force, the ability to overcome fear, the Sinestro Corps symbol and Parallax as a living entity. There's also Krona and Hector Hammond and Hal's brothers and the death of his father. But it's all jumbled and thrown into the film haphazardly.

Several characters fight for screen time and no one seems to win. Sinestro, Kilowog and Tomar Re all get extended cameos. They throw a few lines of exposition out, look cool in cg and leave. They're also nowhere to be found until the final battle is over when they couldn't be any less help.

I like Ryan Reynolds. I used to dislike his smarmy, entitled persona but like Ben Affleck it's been tamed over the years and it works for Hal. Mark Strong is a solid Sinestro and well prepared for becoming a central villain in a sequel. Several good actors (Peter Sarrsgard, Tim Robbins, Angela Basset) are good and wasted. But Blake Lively is terrible, coming off as a waify girl rather than the career-minded, angry woman that makes up half the dysfunctional relationship in the comics. Like Kirsten Dunst, Malin Ackerman and Katie Holmes, the studio was more concerned with pretty girls than fully-rounded characters.

The cg is passable. It never really bothers you but when you think of other cg fests like the terrible "Tron: Legacy" you realize how much better most blockbusters look. Restraint could have helped. Did the Guardians need to be outside on a mountaintop. Couldn't they have been in a room and save some detail to make Oa look more believable.

There's no focus. This is not a Green Lantern story. It's Green Lantern in live action for two hours. Part of me is grateful we got anything. Part of me hopes they'll fix it in the sequel. Part of me knows there won't be one.

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