Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Green Lantern.

Green Lantern poster.

"In brightest day, in blackest night. No evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil's might. Beware my power... Green Lantern's light!" That bit in the advert used to get me so excited and I can't even explain why. I just got stupidly excited. The only problem is that, in reality, Green Lantern's light doesn't shine too brightly in this film.

This is another origin story of a comic book superhero. With this, Thor, X-Men: First Class and Captain America, you'd be forgiven for being fed up of the whole origin plot. This follows Hal Jordan and his rise to Green Lantern hood from cocky layabout pilot who isn't ever really serious. Or, as it's known, the Ryan Reynolds character. His classic character from Two Guys and a Girl (and a Pizza Place - for a bit) is pretty much resurrected here. Hugely talented, too connected but very aware of these so chooses to not take life too seriously.

Plot: A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

Hal Jordan ( Ryan Reynolds) is a test pilot for a firm which creates AI jets and helicopters and other stuff. It stays quite loyal to its source by making it modern with the same outline. Hal Jordan is given the ring by Abin Sur ("a dying purple alien") and becomes the Green Lantern and defender of Sector 2814 (of 3600). He is given a ring and a lantern which acts like a battery for the ring. The ring uses the power of will. It can create anything, the only limitation is your imagination.

Enter a space training montage on the planet Oa where he tries to have more will power and more control over his powers but he gets his ass kicked but soon recovers and impresses. Well, he impresses Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush) and Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan) but he fails to impress Mark Strong's Sinestro. He claims that Hal'll never live up to Abin Sur and that he was twice the protector he'll ever be. I don't like the whole "humans are a young race" idea in most sci-fi things and the only people to pull it off have been BioWare who made Mass Effect. In this though, it seems uninspired and predictable to call us a young race who are weak and feeble but save the day. It just seems like an ego thing about our race.

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Tim Robbins, Michael Clarke Duncan and Geoffrey Rush. Directed by Martin Campbell.

After a brief training montage, Hal claims to quit which brings up obvious conversations about him always being a quitter and never seeing things through to the end. This is being told by his love interest, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively). But he has competition. Pretty weak competition in the form of scientist, Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) who contracts Parallax's abilities after performing an autopsy on Abin Sur who has Parallax's energy left behind and infects and inhabits Hector. This leads to him having super powers in the form of telekinesis and telepathy but it does come with a draw back of a massive head which makes the elephant man look like a bit of all right.

There we go, we have a set up of a villain. He does nothing though. He hurts Hal a little, screams a lot and gets mad at his father whilst having a receding hairline and a forehead which could be a superpower in itself. The only thing is that his character seems like filler and is not actually used because it's all about Parallax who is on course for Earth before Oa. This brings monologues about the power of fear (which is the power Parallax uses instead of will) and the word fear is used so much it's hard to understand how the writers ever got jobs. At one point, they change it up a little by using afraid instead then insinuate that they're afraid of being afraid until there's some sort of looping paradox of being scared of being afraid of being afraid of fear. Not really, but it seems like the most used word in the entire film.

The film is jumpy and it seems to just blunder to one scene or another. There would be character developments without you even knowing because it jumped ahead. The ring would blink and you wouldn't know where for or why but he'd just get there knowing what was up. It just seemed rush. The writers seemed uninterested if the word fear wasn't mentioned so they rushed the scene along until they could use fear to their hearts content.

The CGI is as poor as I saw from the adverts and they did have a lot to create but it's more Neverending Story than Thor's gleaming Asgard. I wouldn't have thought otherwise about it if I hadn't seen Thor masterfully create a space-scape so realistically with the same $150m budget. The first meetings with the Guardians is particularly hilarious. In fact, everyone in the screen (a pretty empty screen at that) laughed. If this is the first in the Justice League series then they need to hire better or more workers for the visual effects. Also, why did they CGI the suit? It didn't make any sense. They may as well have just used body paint on Ryan Reynolds and then used CGI to make him glow as it would have looked much better. If Ryan Reynolds's body needs CGI then all men are doomed.

In the comics, there have been six people who held (and still hold) the title of the Green Lantern: Alan Scott (1940), Hal Jordan (1959), Guy Gardner (1968), John Stewart (1971), Kyle Rayner (1994) and Jennifer-Lynn Hayden (AKA "Jade," Alan Scott's daughter, 1983). Scott and Jade are the only ones who are different because their powers come from a magical source, and though they have been Green Lanterns in name, they are actually not part of the Green Lantern Corps, though Jade did serve in it briefly at one point.

The only thing that really stood out for me was the acting. Ryan Reynolds is a brilliant actor and you can disagree all you like - and it's not an opinion or preference - but he is amazing. All you need to do is watch Smokin' Aces and Buried to truly understand his talent. Hopefully, his future films like R.I.P.D., Safe House and The Croods will get him accepted by all. He can turn his hand to comedy (where he started) or drama and he's successful in both. Then there was Mark Strong's successful, if not underplayed, Sinestro. Peter Sarsgaard was great as Hector Hammond but screamed too much but that's not the actor's fault. Tim Robbins is notably good but without a major role as Hammond. Even Blake Lively wasn't bad and she's only been good in one thing which was The Town. If actors can still shine with such a terrible script then that must really attribute to their abilities.

IF there is a sequel - which conflicting statements have confused me about - then they've got a good base storyline and they've got a lot of constructive criticism to work on. They've got a perfect villain lined up and a storyline which may involve the word fear or synonyms alike being thrown around but good writing can stop that from being a problem. The main problem is the writing and then the CGI. Tweak these and you've got a brilliant film. Just look at the other blockbusters this summer. They tinkered on the brink of excellence and stupidity and came out on the right side. This came out on the tiring and insultingly stupid side. I feel like I've been too harsh. I want to give it three because I was still entertained but I didn't feel immersed or any real love to the film. I hope there's a sequel and I hope they correct everything and make it truly amazing. I don't see there being a sequel since they spent something like $400m overall including advertising and they're not even close to breaking even - ever. Let's just hope the Justice League film they're going to start after a Batman reboot is actually good and rekindles any interest in Green Lantern.

★★

Note: Click here for a funny recap of every scene on IMDb. It does contain spoilers.