I was able to attend Wednesday night’s advanced screening of Green Lantern! It was practically a dream come true! I finally get to see my most favorite comic hero up on the screen in real life 3D!
To say I am a huge Green Lantern fan is almost an understatement. My collection of Green Lantern comics, toys, statues, rings, and other sorted collectibles spans the last 20 years. When I heard that they were finally making a Green Lantern movie, I was beside myself with glee. I think a giggly school girl ‘Tee-hee!’ may have even been involved. With baited breath I waited for anything and everything I could find out. As concept art and cast decisions were announced I became more and more excited.
I’ll be honest. A few of the choices had me curious. I realized that when making a live action GL flick, certain details have to be taken into consideration. Making the aliens we GL fans are all too familiar with, come to life; avian Tomar Re, robotic Stel, and our beloved Drill Sergeant Kilowog, to name a few, could have been disastrous.
Once the initial previews hit and I was able to catch glimpses of a lot these characters and places like Oa, most of my fears were put to rest. But one thing remained. Would I enjoy Ryan Reynolds portrayal of the greatest Green Lantern, Hal Jordan? Reynolds has, for the most part, portrayed very similar characters in most of his movies… the wise-cracking, smart-ass.. This is NOT Hal Jordan. But, I resigned to postponing judgment until I saw the movie.
Onto the movie!
The movie begins by introducing those that are unfamiliar with the concept of the Green Lantern with an opening monologue from Tomar Re (voiced by Geoffrey Rush). It’s a nicely detailed, quick history on what the Green Lantern Corps is and I felt that for those that weren’t in the know, it provides some good information to get you involved.
We get introduced to Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), wise-cracking, ace fighter pilot. Here’s where my concerns started to come in… and for the most part, are proven right. I thoroughly enjoy Reynolds in just about everything he does. Comedy after comedy, he’s had me laughing. I became even more impressed with him when he stretched his acting chops in “Amityville Horror” and “Smokin’ Aces”. He proved that he could be serious and hard-edged and that’s what allowed me to see him as Hal Jordan. Hal Jordan is a serious, focused character that isn’t known for snappy, Spiderman banter and quips. Sadly, Reynolds’ Hal is keyed more towards ‘Berg’ and ‘Van Wilder’ than ‘George Lutz’ and ‘Richard Messner’. Though, to be fair, Hal does become more focused towards the end. He realizes that it’s up to him to save the planet, Parallax and a lack of help, being the catalyst for new-found responsibility and Hal begins to take his new role much more seriously.
Another item that made the movie drag a bit were Hal’s interactions with Carroll Ferris (Blake Lively). While Lively portrays a decent Ferris both in look and attitude, I felt that the interaction between the two of them, in the ‘romantic’ scenes was kind of shoved down our throats a little too much. The bar scene, for example, could have been a little shorter. Other than that, I was good. Ferris will always be Hal’s ’Love,’ and a small nod towards the Violet light was a neat thing to catch.
Of the existing Green Lanterns… we get Sinestro, Kilowog, and Tomar Re at the forefront. Sinestro (Mark Strong) takes on some aspects of his comic persona faithfully, others… not so much. He believes in his Corp and its strength, however, I feel that he was a bit too much “fanatical warrior” and not enough “self-confident pomp”. But it worked.
Kilowog (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan) and Tomar Re (again, Geoffrey Rush) were nice to see. Kilowog, the demanding drill instructor, beating Hal down and trying to break him was balanced by Tomar Re’s wisdom and insight into why Hal was selected for the Corps. I hope to see more of them if we get a sequel.
Hector Hammond, portrayed by Peter Sarsgaard was alright. He was more of a link to the overall evil versus being one of Hal’s greater earthbound enemies. He’s portrayed as a meek nobody with confidence and daddy issues, who, when he finally comes to power, doesn’t get to do much. But, Sarsgaard portrays meek and daddy issue laden well.
Angela Bassett is always a pleasure to see. Unfortunately, her portrayal of one of DC’s most conniving government agents, Amanda ‘The Wall’ Waller, is rather lack luster. I’ll blame that on the writing. Plus, I think I’d rather see CCH Pounder play Waller… not only is she physically perfect to play Waller, it would have been a nod to her time voicing Waller on ‘Justice League’ and ‘Batman Beyond’.
I would have loved to have seen more time dedicated to Hal’s training on Oa. We get to see Kilowog train Hal, and then some with Sinestro… but not enough. I would have liked to see Hal go through more training… a time lapse to show progress, a montage, something to see him gain more control over his ring. He only goes through what feels like a few hours, getting his green butt handed to him by Kilowog and Sinestro, and then he’s back to Earth making race cars and catapults. Just didn’t feel right.
I would have loved to have seen more of the alien Lanterns. More Kilowog and Tomar Re would have been nice sure, but, with all the designs we’ve been seeing and all the ads and standees with Boodika, Salaak, Stel, R’amey Hol, Iolande… we get no more than a flash here and a glimpse there. If we get a sequel, I’d definitely like to see more of Hal interacting with other Lanterns.
All in all, I got what I expected and I was entertained. It was a fun movie to watch with some really excellent visuals, a few good laughs, and story with enough in it to get those that don’t know much about Green Lantern, into it. A few tweaks here and there, and it could certainly have been even better, but I’m ok with it. Will I be seeing it again? Yes. I’ll try to leave my nerd-rage at the door and enjoy it more.
Oh… and sit through the first chunk of the credits… there’s some more to watch that I felt capped the movie well. I don’t think that they could have ended this movie without what happens, happening.
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