Devil’s DVD Disappointment: Green Lantern
No film is perfect and even the really good ones are missing something. Green Lantern is missing quite a few things, which in the end are really the factors that keep it from being an interstellar hit. The one truly unforgivable thing is there was no rendition of (and there are quite a few to choose from) “You Light Up My Life”.
Sad ballads aside, there are other, more pertinent things to be aghast about. Green Lantern, depending on which incarnation of the character you are more familiar with, is the story of an intergalactic police force that wear green power rings and deal with alien baddies. In this film, Warner Brothers and DC opted to go with the more traditional version of GL, in the form of Hal Jordan. Not a bad choice, though it might have behoved them to go with the John Stewart GL, since that a) is the one many people know from the various DC cartoons of the past 10-12 years and b) would add a bit of diversity to what has already been a long line of very white superheroes. But then we would all be robbed of seeing funnyman Ryan Reynolds make with the jokes, while playing projectionist with his ring.
Now, if my segue wasn’t too veiled, it might be obvious to those playing along at home, that I had my share of problems with the film as a whole, first being the lack of humorous moments. There were attempts, but like Hal Jordan’s first attempts at weaponizing his ring, many fizzled before hitting the target. It isn’t a true requisite for a superhero film, but the character is known for his snarkiness, which is probably why Reynolds was chosen in the first place. That shouldn’t be that hard to translate to film, but apparently their aim wasn’t to get laughs intentionally.
Another issue, and this isn’t about what was missing, but rather what should have been missing, is how broad in scope this film was. One of the tropes of the first film in a new superhero series is that you typically get the full on origin story and then a minor villain rears their ugly head. In GL, they decided the minor villain wasn’t enough and introduced one of the biggest villains Hal Jordan ever faced, right off the bat. This villain, known as Parallax, is a major threat, one that tests the very mettle that makes a hero what they are. Fighting and defeating a villain of this caliber shows that the hero has the right stuff. The one conceit, however, is that a villain of this width and breadth should appear later on in the hero’s journey, not immediately. In other words, the should have saved it for the sequel.
And while I’m on the topic, I also think they missed the boat with some Earth bound action. So much of the film’s action took place in outer space, that you never really get the feeling that Hal Jordan is Earth’s protector, though they refer to him as that a number of times. Yes, he stops a major threat on Earth, but what about the old lady getting mugged down the street? She doesn’t matter apparently. All joking aside, I think it would have gone a long way to see Jordan testing out the limits of the ring by stopping Earth bound criminals first and then moving on to the super powered threats.
These are truly the most egregious offenses in the film. There are other minor offenses, such as introducing characters that ultimately go no where, in favor of shining that green spotlight on characters no one really cares about (I’m looking at you Carol and Tom). Having touched on the lack of winning comedy, I think it’s also fair to say that there are quite a few serious lines that are major clunkers. And the transition from one scene to the next was very choppy at times, as if the segues had been accidentally edited out.
Green Lantern is all about imagination and the depths to which one can be tested. This film did not come close to showing that. In fact the movie is fairly unimaginative, almost as if a committee of film executives wrote it. Hopefully, the movie makes back enough of its production cost to warrant a sequel, and we get better story and action next time around. If not, it’s better that the franchise end or reboot than produce another film that casts comic book adaptations in a bad light.
Posted on October 10, 2011, in Devil's DVD Disappointment and tagged Blake Lively, DC, DC comics, DVD, Green Lantern, Martin Campbell, peter sarsgaard, Ryan Reynolds, Tim Robbins. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.