Slacker Movie Night: Green Lantern

Today I’ll be reviewing Green Lantern, the new film based on the classic, and incredibly awesome, DC character. True to slacker form, nerdity is a large part of my life, so I approached the movie from a hardcore fan perspective, but I’m also a realist and a student of the cinematic arts. I’d like to think that my intense fandom is tempered by a more objective appreciation for what makes a decent movie for everyone, not just nerd-folk.

That said the critics and fans and all forms of naysayers are douche-tards. They’ve lead you astray with their harsh words about Green Lantern and general douche-tardery. The movie is nowhere near as bad as everyone is making it out to be. Now, mind you, that isn’t to say it’s perfect. Far from it. It has a number of glaring flaws that detract from the overall experience. But the movie is certainly no worse than any of the awful Marvel movies idiots go ape feces over. Any of the critics who claim it’s terrible but, for example, liked Iron Man, need a swift boot to the throat.

Green Lantern is every bit as viable a property as Iron Man, and my bias notwithstanding, I’d say more so. Marvel has pumped out mediocre movie after mediocre movie for a decade now, and while a scant few have been so-so, most have occupied the gradient somewhere between barely tolerable and putrid. It makes sense. Their books operate the same way (zing!). But I digress. The point isn’t to cut Marvel down, but help DC up.

For whatever reason, DC has stumbled getting their iconic characters into the multiplexes. They have completely browbeaten Marvel in the world of direct to video animated titles. Those have been utterly phenomenal. Nearly all of DC’s animated efforts have been top notch. There’s a pedigree there that can’t be matched, so it stands to reason. But when it comes to movies, Superman and Batman are the only characters to make a solid transition to film. Sure, they’ve had some lesser know properties make the jump, likeConstantine and Jonah Hex, as well as some books unrelated to their core universe like Watchmen and V for Vendetta, which met with varying degrees of success. But Green Lantern is a member of the Justice League. This is big time.

The movie’s strengths are in the big budget set pieces. The scenes on Oa are easily the highlights of the film. And despite the issues folk seem to have, Ryan Reynolds is a perfectly serviceable Hal Jordan. If you have problems with his portrayal, your problems are really in the writing. Movie Hal isn’t quite comic Hal, to be sure, but Reynolds does a fine job with what he had to work with. Now, Blake Lively on the other hand . . .

The story was an acceptable truncation of the Geoff Johns Secret Origin story from the comics. Some stuff was changed, some stuff was added, some stuff was left out, some stuff blah. You know this crap is going to happen, why get pissy about it. It introduced a lot of the mythology to people who probably weren’t familiar with it so it’s fine. Here’s where the issue starts though: It introduced all that mythology in an hour and forty-five minutes.

This is an epic story, it deserves epic screen time. The claims that the movie is uneven are absolutely correct. It is. It feels disjointed and poorly paced because too much is crammed into too little time. Scene transitions are clunky, and at times downright confusing. I get all of this to a degree. Every time someone does something, it’s CGI, and probably costs a fortune. Trim the scenic fat, you trim the budget. The film suffers for it, unfortunately, and I really think this is the big issue that people are having. If Iron Man was over 2 hours, and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were between 4 and 9 hours each, we should have seen a solid 120 minutes on this beast.

Now, villains are generally thought to make or break a superhero movie. That said, we can all agree that Hector Hammond wasn’t a great choice to introduce mainstream audiences to GL. The use of Parallax was a fine idea, but the execution fell very, very . . . very short. There were points where the entity resembled the comic form a bit more, and looked much better, but throughout the movie it came off more cartoony than menacing.

All of these flaws hurt the film, there’s no denying that. However, they don’t ruin it. It’s still an acceptable adaptation, even if it’s far from ideal, and it’s still a fun summer blockbuster. Hopefully the box office draw will be sufficient to merit a sequel where all the problems of the first can be corrected. I mean, Ghost Rider was downright unwatchable and it’s getting a sequel that, I suspect, will be equally unwatchable. Hal can have some more fun, have some better battles with some better villains, interact with more of the Corps (fingers crossed for Mogo), and get a little more time to flesh it all out. In the meantime, don’t let dipshit critics and internet goons prevent you from seeing it multiple times. It’s important that the movie make as much money as possible, not only for the success of the individual franchise, but for the future of DC movies.

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