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Green Lantern – Review

28 Jul 2011
I was one of the few willing to give Green Lantern the benefit of the doubt. Where others saw overdependence on CG, I saw high concept Science Fiction. Where others saw a semi nude Ryan Reynolds, I saw considered, inspired design. Where others saw amorphous green blobs, I saw imagination distilled into vision.

I suppose I had it coming.

Smells a bit off.

While Marvel spammed cinemas thrice a year, rival DC at least seemed to prefer the measured approach, whittling a well crafted film every couple of years. Love them or hate them, Batman Begins, Superman Returns and The Dark Knight didn’t pander.
They felt like mature films which just happened to feature Superheroes.

So what the hell happened here?!

Green Lantern suffers the same ordeal all Superhero films struggle with; decades worth of back catalogue desperately craving a nod on the silver screen. As such, Martin Campbell’s latest is overstuffed with unnecessary characters.

Compelling as they might prove in a series or three hour epic, at 114 minutes, Green Lantern simply doesn’t have the time for Carl Ferris, Amanda Waller, Jason and Jack Jordan, Senator Tim Robbins, or even super-skulled antagonist Hector Hammond.

Not with Parallax, the giant evil space octopus floating about…

… which is enough of an issue in its own right. The idea of an omnipotent fear entity consuming civilisations and generally wrecking the gaff is an easy one to get on board with. And the perfect excuse for a legion of cosmic peace keepers to unleash some awesome green voodoo. But it’s fumbled.

It’s frustrating as sometimes the action is incredible. Jordan’s mid film training with Kilowog and show-stealing fight with Sinestro renews hope after a lagging first half. Clear, sharp, ingenious, it seemed GL was ahead of the curve. Couple this with the fact Lanterns can fly and shoot lasers, I was expecting an epic dogfight finale, rivalling the best Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica had to offer.

An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age

But out-manoeuvring a city-sized nebulous clump that spits yellow is about as exciting as it sounds.

At least they nailed the protagonist! Whatever Green Lantern’s faults they have naught to do with leading man Ryan Reynolds. Transplanting Hal Jordan with some much need humour, Reynolds easily shoulders the burden of this blockbuster, and sometimes has to. Occasionally his wit carries entire scenes.

Sadly his fellow lanterns, particularly Mark Strong’s magnetic Sinestro, are sidelined in the name of inner turmoil and all the usual crap. Why devote screen time to wizened alien badasses from a thousand cultures, when you can have Blake Lively labouring the difference between fearlessness and courage?!

Oh, don't mind me, I'm just a freakin' alien! By all means focus on the mean senator...

And naturally things are set up for the sequel!
A.K.A. the film you actually wanted to see but sadly studios deemed you too slow to grasp the intricacies of an origin tale which could be covered comprehensively and compellingly with the most basic of narrative devices.

Green Lantern is a disappointment but it’s seriously not all bad. It sparkles with humour, features interesting characters, there’s some good chemistry, gripping lore and boasts some half decent set pieces.

So if you’re a good, and spend money seeing it in the cinema, maybe in a few years you’ll get the Green Lantern film you want to see; One which focuses more on its intergalactic elements (read. exciting space battles!)

More of this in the future please!

It’s just a shame we can’t have it now.