Green Lantern

Are you ready for your mind to be blown? That's what Hal Jordan asks his friend Thomas Kalmaku, who says he's ready but isn't really. I wasn't ready, either. I was afraid this was going to be another Green Hornet style debacle. The previews were unclear. It was possible that Ryan Reynolds was playing the character for laughs like Seth Rogan did as the Green Hornet, and I was afraid. But I conquered that fear, went to the theatre, and had a good time, as it turned out.

People are already making cutesy little puns about how it's too light on plot. (I accidentally saw some of the headlines.) And I'm not arguing with that, but it misses the point. Plot is not the main attraction here, I admit, but they didn't set out to make it plot-heavy. It's a star-spanning action-adventure movie in the best tradition of summer action-adventure flicks. What you do is get your popcorn, settle back comfortably, and let the action and adventure wash all over you.

So Ryan Reynolds is Hal Jordan, ace test pilot for Ferris Aircraft. He's a total screw-up at everything except flying, though. He oversleeps (with women he barely knows), shows no respect for traffic laws, and good luck getting him to remember anything like someone else's birthday. Even his best friend Tom calls him something I can't repeat here, and Hal has to admit that it's a fair assessment. See, that's why it works, I think -- he's self-centered, stubborn, reckless, and chauvinistic; but he admits that he's self-centered, stubborn, reckless, and chauvinistic. Sometimes he seems overwhelmed by his own doubtful qualities and just stands there looking lost for a while.

Ferris Aircraft's other best pilot is Carol Ferris, and yes, she's the boss' daughter. I think she might hurt you if you suggest that's how she got the title of other best pilot, though. The actress is Blake Lively from The Town and she's very pretty. Sometimes she reminds me of Jane Seymour. Anyway, she and Hal fly a couple of F-35s in a demonstration of Ferris Aircraft's newest invention, an AI-controlled fighter plane called the Sabre 3. No word on what happened to Sabres 1 and 2. This demonstration is to impress Senator Hammond, played by Tim Robbins, who's very important and therefore worth impressing. Hal, however, takes his assignment of putting the planes through their paces a little too seriously and gets fired. Sort of. Maybe he quits. It's all a little confusing at that point. Frankly, I'm not even sure he actually knew what his assignment was.

Meanwhile, out in space, a purplish alien named Abin Sur is fighting a really big, scary thing called Parallax, and losing. Abin Sur is played by Temuera Morrison, who was in Star Wars: Episode III somewhere, but we won't hold that against him. He's a Green Lantern, said to be the greatest member the Green Lantern Corps ever had, but when he crashes down to earth, he's dying, and he sends his ring to choose a successor. Sorry, I've read bunches of Green Lantern comics, so I know all this stuff backwards and forwards. They're basically like U.N. Peacekeepers for the entire galaxy, only they can really do stuff. Their rings harness the power of willpower. Okay, that's redundant, but you know what I mean. Anything they can imagine, they can create, if their own will is strong enough.

This is why they couldn't make this comic into a movie sooner. The special effects industry just wasn't up to it before. Half the stuff in this flick needs to look like it's made out of shiny green energy, or is part of an alien world. They show Oa, the home base of the Green Lantern Corps, and let me say that the look they gave to the immortal Guardians, the race that created the Corps, was excellent.

If willpower is green -- and I have to admit I'm not really sure why that would be -- then fear, more understandably, is yellow. In the comics, the rings didn't work on anything yellow... which, yeah, is kind of a silly weakness. The second anyone figures it out, all the bad guys will have names like Bananaman and EviLemon. But that isn't quite the case here; it's more that fear and will are opposite sides of the same coin, which does make sense.

The problems aren't all out in space, though. Peter Sarsgaard of Knight & Day is Senator Hammond's son, Hector, who's a xenobiologist. Xenobiologists must be desperate for some actual alien life, and this particular xenobiologist actually gets to study some. Unfortunately it kinda bites him, and things go pretty crazily downhill for him after that.

The point is, it was fun. It had exactly as much plot as a comic book should have, and since I went there fully prepared to dislike it, the fact that I didn't dislike it at all is fairly significant. And the other people in the audience seemed pretty into it. They laughed, which sounds like a little thing, but trust me, people tend not to laugh out loud in theatres anymore, even at comedies. It's kind of sad.

But I give this three and a half out of five. It would have been three and three-quarters, but it was a little uneven in parts. Hal's back story is just sort of wedged in there, and it's rushed in places, though that nearly always seems to happen with the comic book movies. I think sometimes the filmmakers get overexcited at having years' worth of story material to work with and they try to fit as much of it into the movie as they possibly can. On the other hand, that gives those of us who read the comics the chance to catch tons and tons of in-jokes and references, like Tomar Re, Kilowog, and the significance of Sapphire as a code name.

Green Lantern comic Hal Jordan and Green Lantern movie Hal Jordan.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Gotta agree on the

Gotta agree on the unevenness. I felt they didn't know how seriously they wanted to take the concept - for example his girlfriend picking who he was even tho Hal was wearing the mask.

Mr Teufel

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

  • Allowed HTML tags: <abbr> <acronym> <address> <bdo> <blockquote> <del> <hr> <img> <ins> <pre> <q> <sub> <sup> <dl> <dt> <dd> <ul> <ol> <li> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <table> <caption> <col> <colgroup> <tbody> <td> <tfoot> <th> <thead> <tr> <b> <big> <cite> <code> <dfn> <em> <i> <kbd> <samp> <small> <strong> <tt> <var> <u> <br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options