Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Green Lantern (2011)

We're going to continue our look at comic films by taking a look at the much maligned big screen version of Green Lantern

For those of you who don’t know Green Lantern was based on the DC comic about a Hal Jordan who is picked by the “magic” ring of a dying alien to take his place in the Green Lantern Corps. Using the ring Jordan can create anything he sees in his minds eye out of the green energy in order to help him fight bad guys.

The film is the basic origin story showing how Jordan goes from being a test pilot to being summoned by the ring, to being trained as a Green Lantern onward to making a solo stand against the evil creature Parallax.

When the film came out it received mixed reviews and lukewarm box office. By most accounts the film was a complete mess.

Being a huge fan of the comic book character and desperately needing to see something other than another Asian film (I originlly saw this in the middle of the New York Asian Film Festival and Japan Cuts) I headed over to one of the local multiplexes and decided to see for myself.

To me the film is a mixed affair. I think much of the Earth bound non super hero stuff is okay but nothing great. The problem is that there seems to be gaps in the story with not enough explanation as to who some people are. Events are glanced over. It’s not terrible, but the film seems to be lacking. (I’m also not too sure about the reinvention of Jordan as a semi-slacker with a father complex)

On the other hand the superhero stuff is great. All of the scenes on Oa (The Green Lantern home planet), or with Jordan as Green Lantern either in training or in action is spot on target. I loved it. For me seeing all of the comic characters in the flesh was amazing. I loved how they got Jordan’s heroic personality perfect. Here’s the heroic character that I fell in love with as a kid: A guy who will fight to the end and beyond because that’s the right thing to do and because some one has to. It’s the Lantern scenes that are the reason you really should see this film.

My one reservation is that the creature Parallax- a large blob- isn’t really much of a scary threat. Its just this evil blob that eats worlds and not much more. Sure the heroics it inspires in Jordan are great but the choice to use this nondescript blob as the bad guy was a major misstep.

The sad thing is that I don’t think the film will inspire the sequel it sets up or deserves. We won’t get to see the Green Lantern Corps in another adventure, not Kilowg nor Tomar-Re helping Jordan. More we won’t get to see Sinestro’s fall from grace. One of the things that I loved about this film was that we really got to see Sinestro as the good guy he was at the start. The man destined to become Hal Jordan’s greatest nemesis was once the best of the best, until the power of the yellow ring turned him. Knowing this makes the final sequences in Jordan’s battle with Parralax and on Oa even more touching.

I loved the heroic stuff in this film. To me the hero bits are some of the best stuff I saw all year.

If only the rest of the film was up to this level.

Definitely worth your time to try.

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