Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sketched Review: Green Lantern

Power up your energy rings, we're reviewing Green Lantern!
I tried something new in illustrator and photoshop again. not sure if it's successful, but I like it. 

This has just been destroyed in the reviews as if it's one of the four horsemen of the superhero movie apocalypse. I wouldn't say it's that bad, but I can't say it's that good either.  The cgi creations are nice but the story is by the books at best and nonsensical at worst and Ryan Reynolds just doesn't fill the green boots well.

Also, don't bother with the 3D. I put them on in the beginning of the movie, and then...well when the bright shiny ending titles shot past, I literally went, "Oh yeah! I'm watching a 3D movie!"

Hal Jordan(Ryan Reynolds) is a jerky irresponsible test pilot who somehow gets chosen to be an intergalactic cop known as a green lantern.  He goes to their home world, Oa, to train, while they prepare to fight their evil monster counterpart, Parallax.

It feels like they try to stuff too much into the movie, and they don't know who's story it is. First it's Hal's as he finds the ring, then it's Sinesto's(Mark Strong) as he's trying to defeat Parallax, then Hector Hammond(Peter Sarsgaard) as he slowly turns evil.  The plot is by the numbers and just makes no sense many times, as pointed out hilariously at Topless Robot here.  At the beginning, Sinestro directly explains to the audience the concepts of the Green Lantern Corps, Oa, the Guardians, and Parallax, which is just a waste of time because this is an origins movie and we know full well they'll have to explain everything to Hall later as he's training anyways(Spoiler alert: they totally do).

Halfway through the movie they say Hector and Hal have this rivalry going without any mention at the start of the movie.  It's as if they're trying to set up a rivalry similar to that of Charles and Erik from X-men, but completely failing at explaining why.  Actually a whole mess of things are stolen from other movies, like the planet eating smoke monster from Fantastic Four, and the generic rock music stolen from Iron Man.  In fact, with Reynold's douchey Hal, him flying around shooting people, and a weak final boss fight, it feels ALOT like Iron Man.

Reynolds is probably the weakest link here. They make him a douchebag with daddy issues(You know, like Ironman and Batman). They change the character to suit his personality, but at the same time he's trying to play it serious...and failing.  Without his snark, he is nothing.  In the comics, Hal's supposed to be a fearless upright character, but he never ever seems to be fearless, which is especially strange considering they make such a big deal about fear and fearlessness.  He cares more about his unnecessary daddy issues than actually saving people.  I think he would have made a better Kyle Rayner, or even a good Guy Gardner(sans ridiculous bowl cut), but he is no Hal Jordan.

This is the movie that kills Ryan Reynolds for me.  Just like Spiderman 2 & 3, there are way too many close-ups of Reynolds trying to be dramatic but just looking confused all the time, not to mention one weird scene in the beginning when he's getting his costume and the camera pans into his chin stubble for 2 minutes. He's naked, chin stubble, then he starts screaming for some reason, then his suit is just magically there. It would have been nice to see the suit actually form, but we don't get that. I would say ladies could enjoy the man meat, but it's nothing they haven't seen before and better(like here, you're welcome ladies). Speaking of the suit, with all their talk about cgi, at best it looks like latex. At worst, Ryan Reynolds is covered in bright green fruit roll-ups(or is that best?).

The cgi effects I really enjoyed and may be the only saving point of the movie.  It's cool seeing all the different green lantern aliens(though I'm fairy sure they recycled the same scene at the beginning and the end), and Mark Strong shines as Sinestro, both in costume and acting.  In fact, he's a better hero than Hal, so it comes out of left field that he turns evil after the credits(if you know anything about GL, it's not a spoiler). Hector is decidedly creepy and also played well, and Parallax is a generally frightening looking monster, oozing and billowing every which way.  I really liked all the light constructs he created, though a couple were decidedly over the top and unnecessary. It's a shame you don't get to see more of these.

Other than Strong and Sarsgaard as well acted baddies, the rest of the cast is meh, with Reynolds failing miserably. I can't say Blake Lively is terrible, but her character has a ridiculous emotional range. First she gets mad for him quitting and then five minutes later she wants him to run away? Make up your mind woman!

At one stage, both his best friend and his lady friend figure out Hal is Green Lantern, pretty easily by looking at his face. I enjoyed that they did, but at the same time disappointed that more people didn't.  Hal attends a part where everyone sees him and knows his  face, then 5 seconds later he shows up in his green duds, and no one can guess because his eyes are white? Even though he's basically naked? Really? It would have been great if the director pointed out and made fun of this, such as one couple going:

"Who's that Hal fellow?"

"Oh he's a pilot or something."

(then after GL shows up)

"Who's that green fellow?"

"Oh he's a superhero or something."

Overall, the story is generic, the script and writing is bland, the soundtrack and score is uninspired, and Reynolds drops the superhero ball.  The cgi effects are nice, and it's fairly fun, but you may find more to complain about it than enjoy.  If you're looking to gauge where this falls, it's about the same as the Fantastic Four movies. It's ok but, go at your own risk. And not 3D. And definitely a matinee.

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