Green Lantern: Not Great, Not Awful

From some of the reviews on RottenTomatoes.com, you would think that Green Lantern is one of the worse movies ever made. I’ve seen some pretty bad movies, though, so maybe I have an advantage over most critics. I am also unfamiliar with the actual comic book character so maybe I went into the film with lower expectations than many.

The first thing I need to mention is that I was forced to see this one in 3D, even though I detest 3D. The local theatre did not have any 2D showings of the film (and yes, I did complain), so for those who get headaches with 3D, you’ll probably have to miss out on this one unless you can find a 2D showing. I’m fairly certain this has more to do with Hollywood still trying to force 3D down our throats, more than the local movie theatre, but at the same time, I have also read that when theaters show 3D movies, a lot of the cost of showing that film is paid by the theaters and not Hollywood (like the 3D glasses, which is why I always return mine).

So onto the film. Let’s start with the bad and work our way to the good, shall we?

The movie begins by showing us that Hal Jordan, our soon-to-be superhero is pretty much a womanizing top gun. Unfortunately, that’s all we see of that side of him. We all know that a good superhero is flawed, but unfortunately, those flaws aren’t really held up to the light in the movie to give us any way of identifying with the hero. Ryan Reynolds does his best with what little he’s given, but the script (or editing) left those interesting bits out.

I feel like when the script was written, the writers had no concept of what we like about superheroes or what we like to see in superhero films. I think they had this list of things they wanted to put in the movie and just threw everything on the list in there. This means that we don’t get to see much in the way of actual storytelling in the film but the bits and pieces of every little thing that was on that list. I would have much preferred to see the “always gets the girl” part of the film cut to make more time for not only showing Hal as he discovers his new powers, but to also show us who he is as a character. Even after the movie, I don’t think we really know who the character is or is supposed to be.

I also felt that the chemistry between Reynolds and co-star Blake Lively was off. But maybe that’s because she is being used so much to try to tell us who Hal is than Hal is showing us. Again, this is all due to the writing. She seems to like reminding Hal of the fact that he’s immature and that she’s all grown up and it gets old fast.

The not-good and the not-bad: The action sequences were short. And here is something I don’t think I’ve ever said before: the action sequences were too short. They were over before they began. But again, I think that has everything to do with the writers trying to throw this long list of things they think we want to see in a movie at us. Maybe if they had focused on actually telling Hal’s story, the film would have flowed much better. But we don’t even get to see Hal’s transformation into a superhero. One minute he learns he can fly and the next minute, he is flying and using all of his powers, with little to no training. I know we’re expected to suspend disbelief on superhero films, but again, this shows a complete lack of storytelling by the writers and director.

The good: This film is beautiful. I was a little concerned when I saw early trailers as the special effects did not look up to par as to what they should have. But the CGI was beautifully rendered in the final production. And since we are discussing the look of the film, I’ll have to admit that I enjoyed the 3D. As I understand it, the 3D was done post production (rather than filming in 3D), so it’s quite surprising that it looked as good as it did. Because of that, you do not have a lot of the gimmicky stuff that comes with many 3D movies (throwing things at the audience), but it still looks good.

In fact, I would go so far to say that this film probably works better in 3D than in 2D.

Ryan Reynolds is good with what he has to work with. The script and dialogue are not all that great, but Reynolds still exudes that charm that he’s known for. However, shame on the director and writers for not taking advantage of that wonderful witty sarcasm he has. They missed the boat on that. Needless to say, there is not a lot of humor in this film.

Finally, the villain, Parallax, is pretty terrifying. But he was basically a baddie made up entirely of fear, so he’s supposed to be scary. This is not one of those villains you feel sorry for in the end. This is the villain you want eliminated quickly so you don’t have nightmares about it when you go to sleep at night.

I did find Green Lantern entertaining, but I don’t think it’s worth full price. Which I actually had to pay because of the 3D. I don’t feel cheated, per se, but I would feel much better about this movie had I paid less to see it.

My verdict? If you have nothing else you want to see, go seeĀ Green Lantern. Otherwise, skip it.

I also have an interesting story about my Green Lantern viewing experience. Mid-film, we had quite the thunderstorm that was loud enough to be heard over the movie. Towards the end of the film, the theater was leaking. During the final action sequence, a piece of tile from the ceiling came crashing down (just a small piece and no one was hurt). For a split moment, I honestly thought that was one of the most realistic 3D effects I had ever seen on film.

I have been told that there was something at the end of the credits but as I didn’t want to be around when the theater caved in on us, I missed it. I hear it sets things up for a sequel. All I’m asking of Hollywood, at this point, is to get a better writing team and director.

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