Movie Review: Green Lantern
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Written By: Greg Berlanti & Michael Green & Marc Guggenheim
and Michael Goldenberg
This review was originally going to be about the cross-appeal of Ryan Reynolds and Comic Book fans. I thought that idea up while I was sitting in the theatre wading through the pre-pre-show advertisements and such that plague all moviegoers these days and two young women walked in and took seats. I thought to myself, wow, two ladies unescorted coming to watch a comic book movie…never thought I’d see the day. And…then half-way through the movie they got up and left.
Since this was my first viewing I had lacked the ability to feed my desire to rush after them, in typical reporter fashion, and inquire as to why they left. Had they simply been waiting for the movie they actually came to see to start or had they met their quota for nearly-shirtless Ryan Reynolds scenes? Alas I will never know. But I begrudge them not; they created an anecdote with which to launch my review.
And so it has.
Before going off to see Green Lantern I read a few reviews and talked to several friends of mine whom had already seen the movie.
To quote one such person, Christopher Poli: “Ryan Reynolds was good as GL, I just kind of had a hard time buying it, but as for the movie, I was entertained. I was intrigued by all of the stuff on Oa, but felt that is kind of where the movie got a bit bogged down. If they had shown more of him on earth, using and perfecting his powers, I think the reviews would have been better.”
Which is a valid point. He goes on, though, to say this: “But as for me, I loved all of it, I thought it was a bit campy, and maybe a little too comic booky, but all told I enjoyed it.” This is from a person who appreciates comics but is not a resounding comic book guy, at least not when it comes to Green Lantern.
I left this and other conversations with one resounding thought: comic fans enjoy this movie, the masses do not.
I am perfectly ok with this model.
One of the things that insulted me about the re-release of the original Star Wars films and the three prequels was Lucas’ utter desire to appeal to the masses. As if the throngs of fans lined up around the block or the legions of faithful followers weren’t enough.
After having seen Green Lantern for myself I thought three things. First: Ryan Reynolds is a perfect Hal Jordan. The only people who would say otherwise have either never read a Hal Green Lantern comic or they weren’t paying attention when they did. I don’t care if you dislike Ryan Reynolds as an actor or a person, he nailed this role. Second, Martin Campbell was the right director. His track record of success with action films ( Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro, Vertical Limit and Casino Royale) speaks for itself. Third, thank god for Geoff Johns. Without him none of this would have been possible. And again I come back to the same phrase…if you don’t believe me, then you haven’t been paying attention.
Overall I thought the casting was pretty spot-on. Mark Strong is the spitting image of Sinestro from the comics. Michael Clarke Duncan voicing Kilowog was spot on for what I had always heard in my head when reading that character. Blake Lively as Carol Ferris was an excellent choice. She’s beautiful but not in an annoying way (I’m looking at you Megan Fox).
Oa is displayed prominently and masterfully in the film. As the home planet of the Green Lantern Corps and the Guardians who helped create them I was glad to see it play such an important role in the film.
Now, sure, there are things I could nitpick about the film, like how the Guardian’s robes were egregiously long or how the creation of Parallax differed from the comic or even the minuscule difference in how Hal and Abin Sur came together. But that would be ridiculous. Of course liberties are going to be taken and changes will be made when transferring something from the page to the screen. I long ago accepted this. Those of you whom have not, please grow up, quickly.
Green Lantern fits the mold of a true comic book movie like few before it have done. It can be enjoyed by the casual science fiction fan. You do not require intimate knowledge of the character or even the setup to understand what is occurring. The opening scene tells you all you need about the Corps, the Guardians and Oa for it to make sense. For the true fans of the Green Lantern series this movie is a relief.
They didn’t screw it up!
Too often has it has gone the other way; I’m looking at you X-Men – The Last Stand.
The comic book community can stand proudly and proclaim Green Lantern to be a success and should spawn one if not more sequels. They have a ready-made storyline with Sinestro turning to the power of the Yellow Ring of Fear and the Sinestro Corps just waiting to be created.
Come on Warner Bros., don’t give up on Green Lantern like you did Superman Returns. Have some guts to see the future.
Run out and see it. Immediately, if not sooner.
You can see Jesse and Brandon’s dual review by going here.