Saturday, November 22, 2014

Green Lantern (2011)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Comics tend to serve as source material for movies and TV.  It makes sense.  You have a well-developed universe to draw from and there’s usually name recognition to draw people to the theaters.  Yes, there have been notable failures.  The backing of a big studio doesn’t always mean success.  I’ve liked comic-based movies, such as the Men in Black series and the recent Batman movies.  On the other hand, I do remember some of the less-recent Batman movies and I’ve caught parts of Catwoman.  I’m kind of on the border about Green Lantern.  The production values and acting are good and it’s not over-the top silly, but it just doesn’t seem to come together.

For those that haven’t heard of the comics or seen any of the related TV shows, the Green Lantern Corps protects the universe from various major threats.  The green energy associated with sheer willpower was harnessed and used to form 3600 rings, each given to a different individual in each of 3600 sectors.  At the start of the movie, Abin Sur is the protector for Sector 2814, which includes Earth.

Abin Sur crashes on Earth while fleeing Paralax.  Critically injured, he sends the ring to find a new Green Lantern for Sector 2814.  That man is Hal Jordan.  Hal is brought to the shipwreck and given the ring and accompanying lantern and told to take the oath, which he eventually does.  Hal buries the body of Abin Sur, albeit not very well, and goes home, not realizing what he’s gotten himself into.

Well, he’s taken to the Corps’s home planet/headquarters of Oa.  There, other Green Lanterns fill him in on what the ring is and does.  He begins training, but Sinestro basically sees him for the pathetic loser that he really is.  Sure, he looks good in green.  Yes, he can fly a plane and do things that no one else will do.  However, if some super powerful villain is threatening Earth, that villain isn’t going to cut Hal any slack.

Hal quits the Corps, but keeps the ring and lantern.  It isn’t until his love interest is in danger that Hal realizes what being a Green Lantern is all about.  He’s able to single-handedly defeat the bad guy when others have failed.  The other Green Lanterns realize that Hal Jordan may be worthy of the ring, after all.

Part of my problem with the movie is that there was too much setup.  With other superhero movies, you have some introduction, but not much.  We see Batman lose his parents. We see Superman raised as Clark Kent.  Most of those movies were the good guys dealing with the bad guys.  Here, most of it is Hal Jordan trying to come to terms with being a Green Lantern.  It’s a pretty high bar that’s been set for him.  His being selected as Green Lantern was an act of necessity.

The actual fighting of the enemy seems to take a very short amount of time.  There are a few battles between the enemy, Paralax, and more-established Green Lanterns, mostly to show how bad this guy is.  Then, Hal has to defeat him alone.  (Yes, having the new guy take on such a powerful opponent seemed strange to me.)  The movie seemed more like a vehicle for the CGI to me.  We get to see Hall Jordan turn into a Green Lantern.  We get to see him make a racecar and track to save someone.  Yes, the CGI is good, but it’s not enough to carry the movie.

I remember seeing a sequel on IMDb.  I don't know if it was cancelled or if I'm imagining things.  I was curious to see how it would have turned out.

Official site (Warner Brothers)

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