Thursday, June 16, 2011

Green Lantern

by Reymundo Salao

Green Lantern is one of DC comics' most popular characters, and its role in the DC universe is prominent enough that it is considered by DC as its space epic. So, the anticipation for GREEN LANTERN is so much high that satisfactory is not good enough.

The story begins with the death of Abin Sur, who is a Green Lantern, a warrior entrusted with a power ring in order to protect his sector in the universe, from the wickedness of evil. Abin Sur's ship crashed to Earth, and there he let his ring choose his successor. The ring chose pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) to become the new Green Lantern. But Hal's assumption of Abin Sur's ring could not have come in a worst time as an entity known as Parallax is set out to destroy the Green Lanterns, specifically the one who bears the ring that once defeated it: Hal Jordan.

I love the universe of the Green Lantern as created by DC comics, and I did love the movie. But inasmuch as I wanted this to be flawlessly good and wished to be blinded by love for this movie, I could sadly point out that it was far from the perfect movie I wanted it to be.

It is also noted that the director of this movie Martin Campbell rejuvenated the James Bond franchise twice by directing the first Pierce Brosnan Bond movie "Goldeneye" and the first Daniel Craig Bond movie "Casino Royale" not to mention that he directed "The Mask of Zorro" so it played with all expectations. It made me wish that I never knew this, because even though that I did love the movie, I could clearly point out its many flaws.

The characterization and the explanation of the villain Parallax, for instance, was not given sufficient detail and clarity. Even though there was a flashback about him, it was still unclear as to what this creature is and what its true motive is. It quickly becomes this one-dimension cardboard character that generates very little impact. The scenes in Oa, and the process of getting to know the aliens felt rushed and gravely insufficient.

The universe of the Green Lantern storyline is indeed complex, but not impossible to capsulate and explain with sufficient clarity within a few scenes. I think the shortcoming of the film was its failure to ensure that its audience flawlessly understood the world it tries to create in the film. What is more surprising is that it did not invest on a long running time. Epic summer movies of late have been gradually standardizing the practice of extending the running time of movies well beyond the less than two hours a regular feature film has. It was sad that Green Lantern did not do this, as it could possibly have made the overall film better.

It suffers from the same flaw as the Transformers movies had; that which it gives too much weight on the human focus and less on the alien aspects, but that human focus was not compelling enough, impressive enough, or worthy enough to waste too much time on. On the other hand, the Transformers movies are too extreme as a lousy example. But I do dread to admit that the animated movie "Green Lantern: First Flight" tells a better Green Lantern origin than this.

In this movie, the story dwells too much on Hal Jordan's self-pain and lack of self-confidence to become the hero that is expected of him. The movie dwells on his feeling of failure, of his painful memory of his father's death, and his romantic relationship with Carol Ferris (Blake Lively). It was difficult to appreciate Reynold's performance as Hal Jordan because I felt that he was not funny when he intends to be, and whenever he is serious, I am not sure if he's kidding around. I still think he was gravely miscast for this role (and believe that he's more fit for The Flash).

Despite Reynolds as usually a great performer and Campbell as a potentially efficient director, the characterization failed to be impressive and emotionally effective. The failure was more on the script and the sequences of the story. While the movie starts strong, somewhere in the middle it felt like it got messy and awkward. There were sequences that felt like they should have been cut off the movie and there were also instances that felt like it needed several missing sequences. An example of that is when Hal went to speak to the Guardians; a scene which felt like Hal was in an entirely different character mindset from the scene directly before it.

On the other hand, I did love the movie despite its shortcomings. It is the magnificent visuals that make this movie shine like the Green Lantern that it supposed to be; the aliens, the backgrounds, the overall visuals that surely blow audiences, especially ones that are not yet familiar with the Green Lantern mythology. I may have enumerated things that make this movie less than perfect, but there's no denying that I still am going to watch it again.

Additional Note: Yes, there is an extra scene in the middle of the end credits

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