Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review - Green Lantern (2011)

WARNING: Minor Spoilers Follow

So ... lucky me, I have a friend who works at WB, and she graciously invited me to attend an early screening of Green Lantern. If you're like me and have been cautiously scanning for early reviews, you'll know it hasn't exactly been impressing people as the best comic book movie adaptation. The general consensus is that it's quote "noisy, overly produced, and thinly written, squandering an impressive budget and decades of comics mythology."

I don't agree.

Yes, the background is laid on a bit thick; the opening narration bombards you with exposition meant to quickly catch non-comic book fans up to the setting. Sure, the story is befuddling at some points. There were 2 or 3 moments in the plot where I thought flat-out "this does not make sense." No, I can't deny that some of the characterization is a little weak and some of the plots are a bit derivative. Hal Jordan (played by Ryan Reynolds), for example, doesn't seem to know if he wants to be a wisecracking jackass or a soldier of honor and duty, fluctuating between the two just a little too quickly to be believable.

But who are we kidding? You're not going to a movie about a man who can create "hardlight" green energy with an alien ring for a thoughtful plot and deep characters. Green Lantern doesn't try to be anything other than what it is: a fun, action-packed and exciting adventure. And for the most part it succeeds.

Green Lantern is the story of Hal Jordan, a jet pilot whose prone to giving up for fear of failing (sorry, had to do it). When an alien spacecraft crashes onto earth and its occupant informs him that he has been chosen to be part of what is essentially an intergalactic police force, Hal rolls with the punches and joins up quickly. What he soon learns is that the personification of Fear, named Parallax, has escaped from its ancient prison and now threatens the universe. What follows is Hal's journey to discover the strength inside himself to overcome Fear, and save the cosmos.

Yes, it's corny. Yes it's sometimes hard to swallow. No, it's not completely faithful to the comic book origins. But is it fun to watch? Fosho.

Ryan Reynolds serves as a capable Hal Jordan. Mark Strong is absolutely what I envisioned Sinestro to look like in real life. I couldn't shake Blake Lively from her role on Gossip Girl though. Isn't she in high school? Why is she romantically involved with a 30+ year old Hal? Squick factor level increased.

I'll admit the plot is essentially a thin narrative device for us to see the action, but I have to say the action was pretty spectacular. As a Green Lantern, Hal Jordan is able to conjure up emerald energy into whatever shape or form he wishes, limited only by his imagination. He does so with spectacular bravado in the film, conjuring swords, machine guns, fighter jets, race cars and energy balls, all to different - but useful - effect. The visual and special effects are breathtaking; Oa, in particular, is a vibrant world rendered beautifully - simultaneous alien and still entrancing. Parallax is similarly animated.

I suspect had the film been released before Thor and X-Men: First Class, it might have garnered more forgiving reviews. I can't deny that Green Lantern doesn't quite capture the human and emotional aspect of cinematography as well as the two Marvel Comics blockbusters did earlier this year. Still, for what it was trying to be - a light-hearted action adventure sprinkled with just the right amount of humor - Green Lantern does a fine job.

Finally, I'll go ahead and admit right now that I may have gone into the screening with very low expectations. Do yourself a favor and do the same. Don't go in expecting the next entry in a deep, emotional film filled with social and political commentary. Go in expecting an easy-to-watch action-flick and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Recommended For:
+ Green Lantern Fans open to a few mythology changes
+ People who don't mind suspending disbelief
+ Like Stunning CG and Visual Effects? Watch it just for that.
+ Scifi/Fantasy Action Adventure Fans
+ Ryan Reynolds. Blake Lively. Need I say more?

Not Recommended For:
- Green Lantern Loyalists
- People expecting X-men: Second Class or for lord knows why, Schindler's List 2
- People who don't like Scifi, fantasy, comic books, or action movies - what are you even doing here?
- People without suspension. Suspension of disbelief, that is.
- Ryan Reynolds. Blake Lively. Need I say more?

Movie-goers be warned. The screening I attended was for 3D, but I hardly noticed any 3D effects at all. Save yourself a few dollars and go to a regular showing.

Green Lantern Feature Trailer From Trailerpulse


A dedicated reader :) said...

Since you recommend this for Blake Lively, I'm assuming you recommend it for her fans as well. While we're on the topic of her fans... can you put up the Blake Lively iPhone pics so her fans (and your readers) can determine whether those lucious sweater puppies are really her boobies? Thanks!

SJC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
seeshu said...

Oops. I'm the one who deleted that commment. Haha <3

But, I fully expected this movie to be like Schindler's List 2. :'(

And, I fully expect Dan to arrive to whisk Serena away and for Chuck to try to trade Blair for a hotel... wait, that's Gossip Girl...