Review - Green Lantern
Green Lantern (2011), PG-13, 105 minutes - Over the past 6 years, Green Lantern, under the watchful eye of writer Geoff Johns has become one of my favorite comic books. So, as one could imagine, I've been looking forward to this pretty much since the day that it was announced. The first teaser trailer from late last year come off pretty cheesy and I started to worry a bit. Later trailers were cut differently and looked much more promising. Then, this week, initial reviews started coming out and Green Lantern was getting absolutely crushed. So last night when I went out with a few friends to see it, I wasn't sure what to expect. Could it possibly be that bad? I had a hard time believing that. Geoff Johns didn't pen the script, but he did Co-Produce the film (Marc Guggenheim, another comic author helped with the screenplay). And anyone who has read even a couple of issues of his run can tell that he cares deeply about the character. Surely Warner Brothers would listen to someone who has such an expert understanding of the universe being portrayed. Right? It was directed by Martin Campbell, who brought us 007 classics Golden Eye and Casino Royale. So it couldn't be that bad right? Right?
Like other initial comic book character movie offerings, Green Lantern is an origin story. Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a test pilot for Ferris Air, a company trying to land a military contract with a new unmanned plane. After a simulation goes horribly wrong (because Jordan refuses to lose to a drone) Reynolds is whisked away by a green light and brought to the side of the dying Abin Sur, a member of the Green Lantern Corps. Abin Sur passes his ring to Jordan, tells him that the ring chose him for a reason, and passes away. You see, when a Green Lantern dies, their ring searches for and chooses a replacement. Someone that has the ability to overcome fear. The ring allows the wearer to create anything they can imagine with the energy of the power of will. Until now a ring has never chosen a human. The ring causes Jordan to learn about the Green Lantern Corps (an intergalactic police force), the vast galaxies that it protects, his fellow corps members who are all aliens, and most importantly about himself.
Along with Reynolds, there's a pretty decent cast. Led by Mark Strong (Sinestro, the greatest living Green Lantern now that Abin Sur has passed), and supported by Blake Lively (Carol Ferris), Peter Sarsgaard (Hector Hammond), Tim Robbins (Senator Hammond), Michael Clarke Duncan (voice of Kilowog), Geoffrey Rush (voice Tomar-Re), and Clancy Brown (voice of Parallax).
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. The story line did receive a few tweaks compared to the comics, but they work well for the big screen adaptation. Walking out of the theater, I wondered if it played well for me because of my previous Green Lantern knowledge and whether or not that might have allowed me to connect the dots and make more sense of things. I'm happy to report that the five friends that I saw it with also enjoyed it. And their knowledge of the comics ranged from having read a few issues to none at all. They were also confused by all of the negative reviews. I'm not saying that Green Lantern is an absolute must see or that it will change your life, but if you're a fan of comic book movies I don't think you'll be disappointed. We did see it in 3D and that aspect of it was above average compared to most 3D movies, but I don't think it would lose anything if you were to see it without.
Quite a bit of continuity has built up over the years in the comics (especially in the last 6 years that Geoff Johns has been writing). Considering that, I thought that they did a pretty good job fitting the basics in. Be sure to stay at least part way through the credits as there is a teaser scene for what would be a potential sequel. A sequel that, if kept fairly similar to the source material from the comics, could be even better than this movie.
I'm definitely curious to see how it plays to others (especially those who don't have previous comic book knowledge), so let me know what you think!
- The scene in which Hal first visits Carol after becoming the Green Lantern was a little too reminiscent of Superman visiting Lois Lane on her balcony. That is until she saw right through the weak attempt the mask makes at concealing one's identity. 'I've seen you naked, you think I couldn't tell it was you because I can't see your cheek bones?' Nice poke at comic book absurdity.
- While flying in the simulation, Carol's helmet has her code name 'Saphire' on one side and the Star Saphire logo on the other. Comic folk know that Carol has her own ties to the Star Saphires (another corps from the emotional spectrum that wields the power of love).
- In the movie, Sinestro forges a yellow ring with the consent of the Guardians. In the comics, he forges one on his own and builds up his own fear wielding Sinestro Corps. Sinestro's having a yellow ring looks to be the basis for a sequel thanks to a mid-credits teaser scene.
Sinestro Corps War here we come!
- In the movie, Parallax is a rogue Guardian who has been overtaken by the power of Fear and becomes the fear entity. In the comics Parallax is the fear entity that powers the yellow rings of the Sinestro Corps, but is not one of the Guardians.
- Abin Sur was played by Temuera Morrison who also played Jengo Fett in the Star Wars prequels and Doctore in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.
- In the movie, Parallax mortally injures Abin Sur. In the comics an alien named Atrocitus (who later becomes the leader of the Red Lanterns) inflicts the killing wound. Although the planet Ryut in the lost sector is the same.
- Nice Toy Story and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe references when Hal first tries to charge the ring.
- It was cool to see cameos of various Corps members on Oa. They may not have had speaking roles, but they were a nice nod to the comics and helped flesh out the Corps. Off the top of my head I remember seeing Salaak, Bzzd, Boodikka and Stel. I'm sure that upon multiple viewings, I would pick out even more recognizable members.