Sunday, June 19, 2011

Green Lantern

Green Lantern is the kind of film that people I know would call "the Avatar experience." I had some friends who got excited for that new science-fiction James Cameron film and instead they got a film that had more flashy eye candy than heart to it. I am a fan of the comic book character, especially the current run by writer Geoff Johns (an executive producer and consultant on the film), so I appreciate the writers and director Martin Campbell's (Casino Royale) vision for all of this. They did a good job of visually translating what could be difficult to do from page-to-screen. I really did enjoy the look of the cinematography and the special effects and Blake Lively, but my appreciation for the film stops right there.

Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) as a character has a lot of emotional complexity to him. In this film, all of that baggage is presented, but nothing is ever done with it. No one really changes all that much. Yes, Hal has to overcome fear and repair his relationship with Carol (Lively), but nothing all that great is achieved from even the most significant of character arcs. Take the relationship Hal has with his father (Jon Tenney) and brother's (Mike Doyle) family and observe how nothing ever really comes from any of those potentially interesting plot points. One of the villains is Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) and as inspiring of a choice he is to use as Hal's nemesis in the first film, he is absolutely useless. He shows up so there can be a fight scene, some more random emotional context, and just so a different villain can show up.

Then again, as far as franchises go, this is a decent start for an origin story. As a huge advocate of the character, I'd like to think that with some more thought put into the story that the sequel would actually be very enjoyable. A great cast was assembled (also including Temuera Morrison, Mark Strong, Michael Clarke Duncan, Geoffrey Rush, Jay O. Sanders, Angela Bassett, and Tim Robbins), but since the supporting characters (from the important ones to the minor ones) never really do anything... the result is that the film just feels even more stale. Heck, the most amazing thing about the story is just how much of the Green Lantern Corps mythos is introduced and how taken for granted in terms of the story it just all feels.

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