First of all, Happy Father’s Day weekend. Hopefully, all of you have a great day with your loved ones. Me? I’m spending my weekend at the movies. Today’s movie is the Warner Bros. film Green Lantern. The movie, rated PG-13, stars Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Mark Strong, Peter Skarsgaard, Tim Robbins, Angela Bassett, and the voices of Geoffrey Rush and Michael Clarke Duncan. The film hopes to be dually ambitious, where it hopes to be the beginning of a trilogy in and of itself, as well as a possible lynchpin for a movie featuring the Justice League – DC’s answer to Marvel’s superhero group The Avengers. Does GL soar or does it crash and burn? Only time will tell.
The movie begins with a telling of the creation of the Green Lantern Corps, up to and including their home planet of Oa and their mortal enemy, Parallax. The Guardians of Oa decide to send their mightiest warrior to face him. That warrior, Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) is able to imprison it and send it to Ryut. Unfortunately, Parallax escapes and mortally wounds Abin Sur. Near death, he seeks out his successor. That successor is Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a cocky, impetuous test pilot for Ferris Industries. He is participating in a test flight with Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) to test out two new pilotless fighter jets. After what appears to be a failure, Hal and everyone else involved is fired. Meanwhile, Abin Sur’s spaceship crashes in Coast City and the ring seeks out and finds Hal. After speaking the oath, Hal is transported to Oa, where he begins his training with Sinestro (Mark Strong), Tomar Re (Geoffrey Rush) and Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan), and discovers that Parallax has infected a human named Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard). Thus, the race is on to save Earth – as well as the universe.
So, what worked? The cast was pretty good. Ryan Reynolds was a passable Hal Jordan, and Blake Lively does what she does best: look good. Peter Sarsgaard was kind of boring, but it was only because they didn’t use him as much as they should have. The space scenes were spectacular, and the CGI used to create Oa was very nice. I thought I was going to have a problem with the costume, because I’m used to what I saw on Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Those fears were alleviated after watching it on screen, as well as the explanation given for it (it’s pure energy). The James Newton Howard score was pretty rocking as well. As a disciple of Hans Zimmer, it sounded good.
What didn’t work? The main thing for me was the scenes on Earth. The biggest problem I had with the film itself was the fact that it really was two movies at once. If the filmmakers would have focused on one thing or the other, it would’ve been a much better film. The Earth scenes had a TV show-type feel to it, and that can actually be attributed to the script. Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim were mostly known for their TV shows (the underrated Eli Stone and the overrated No Ordinary Family), and the Coast City scenes – as well as some of the dialogue itself – betrayed that. As I mentioned before, I didn’t like how they misused Peter Sarsgaard, so I won’t go into that again. But, I WILL go into how they misused Angela Bassett. They didn’t really give her a lot to do, and that’s not a good thing for someone as gifted a performer as she is.
The film was directed by Martin Campbell, and he is best known for not only making Zorro cool – twice, but for also reinventing James Bond – twice. Here, he does a passable job, but he’s betrayed by the script he was given. He didn’t do too bad, though. He was even able to coax a decent performance from Ryan Reynolds, and he isn’t really known as a bastion of acting integrity. There were some flaws, but it was only because he was working with the script he was given.
To be perfectly honest, I can’t say I loved this movie, but I can say I didn’t hate it, either. I’m not mad I saw it in theaters, but I know it could have been so much more. It had all the makings of a great film, but it faltered at times, and that brings how I felt about it down a few pegs. I’m sure it looked good in 3D, but I can’t tell you for sure, because I’m opposed to 3D based on fundamental reasons. So, with that in mind, I have to say that I consider this movie to be 2.5 times More Epic than Love Jones. If you want to see it in theaters, you won’t be terribly disappointed.