Saturday, June 18, 2011

Movie Review - Green Lantern

OK, freaks and geeks, it is the summer of the super hero!

We've already seen Marvel take two shots with Thor and X-men: First Class (enjoyed the first one, haven't seen the latter). Now it is DC Comics turn with the introduction of Green Lantern as a movie franchise.

If you're not familiar with this character, there is an intergalactic peace-keeping force called the Green Lanterns, using the energy of willpower (manifested by the color green, naturally?) to watch over the universe. There are 3600 Lanterns divided by sectors.

On a small planet in sector 2814, there is a test pilot named Hal Jordan. He is a daredevil flyboy who works as a test pilot. When the Lantern Abin Sur crashes onto Earth, the ring is commissioned to find a replacement. Hal is chosen, and he's inducted into the corps.

Green Lantern hasn't gotten good reviews from the critics (scoring poorly according to Rotten Tomatoes). Well, the critics are the critics, and not necessarily the intended audience. As an all-around geek and fan of comic books, I found Lantern to be an enjoyable summer movie and launching point for this character.

The movie does a good job of establishing Hal Jordan and his childhood friend, on and off again flame Carol Ferris. The Corps are thinly drawn. We don't get a good picture of why Abin Sur is considered so great. His close friend Sinestro is played well, but the writers don't give him the best background to set up his character either.

The plot of the movie moves along well without much down time. The slower parts set up the conflict between Hal and Carol, one of the main antagonists Hector Hammond, and Sinestro's quest for power. Some of the dialogue is wooden and forced, but the action scenes are better. Some of the previews made the CGI effects seem pretty cheesy, but they turned out well in the finished product. Even the maligned, fully-CGI rendered uniform of Green Lantern came across better than I thought it would. The comic book world openly scoffed when the first images came out. Perhaps the artists adjusted it based on the criticism, but it worked except for the face mask. Then again, looking at a comic book picture of Green Lantern, the mask looks a little silly there now!

I thought the movie was quite enjoyable. I liked Iron Man and The Dark Knight better, but it was on par with Thor. I hope people will see the movie and make up their own mind instead of going by the critics. I would like to see more movies in a series. Perhaps it could turn out like Spiderman 2. Many people didn't think the first movie was all that special, but #2 is considered one of the best superhero movies ever.

We'll see if it will be "brightest day" or "blackest night" for Green Lantern. I'm leaning toward the light.

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