Saturday, June 25, 2011

Movie Review: Green Lantern

So apparently there's a thing that people who review things on the internet are supposed to do that I have yet to do. That's right everyone: for the first time, Hey You With The Face is having a themed week, where everything that I do fits with a certain theme. So fitting that description, it's Super-Week here at the house of The Face Guy! In celebration, this week I am going to be posting three - yes, THREE - movie reviews that in one way or another fit in with the theme of Super. And what better way to kick off the week than with a review of the latest big box-office Super Hero movie: Green Lantern.

This right here? This is a picture of sheer potential.

Based on one of the most popular and successful comic book series' of all time, Green Lantern is the latest in a long line of revamped superhero movies that have received either reboots or full on revivals over the past few years. However, Green Lantern marks only the seventh out of all the big ticket superhero movies to have come out in the past ten years that comes from DC as opposed to Marvel Comics. Unfortunately for DC, only two of those six films before Green Lantern have done particularly well at the box office - those being Batman Begins and The Dark Knight - while the other four were either shockingly mediocre or just plain bad. Worse still, the previous decade fared even worse for DC comic-to-movie adaptations, with notably horrible films such as Batman & Robin and Steel.

Green Lantern is DC's only film this year, and the company has a lot riding on the film's success. With several strong films coming out of Marvel Comics' corner this summer (Thor; X-Men: First Class; Captain America: The First Avenger), Green Lantern represents DC's sole bid for the superhero moviegoers of 2011. It was a big gamble to take, with the potential to reap serious rewards as a big budget special effects movie. This film also marks the very first attempt at making a "live action" Green Lantern film - all the previous attempts have been animated. However, after seeing the film I have to use that phrase loosely, because there is very little to be found in Green Lantern that can be counted as either live or action.

Green Lantern is one of those movies that is truly, irrevocably awful. There is simply so much that goes wrong over the course of the film that it's almost impossible to refer to it as anything other than an absolute disaster. The writers and filmmakers very clearly did everything that they could possibly think of to make Green Lantern a great movie, but in the end everything they did came together in a ruthlessly conflicting fashion that resulted in a hideously disorganized mess.

The Green Lantern Experience, everyone. Let's give it a big hand.

Green Lantern follows the story of Hal Jordan, a test pilot with now seemingly obligatory daddy issues. He's shown to be a maverick with very little regard for his own safety or well being, and basically lives from day to day wandering through women and cheap thrills...

Please, stop me if you've heard this one...

One day he ends up getting abducted by this green light, and it is revealed that he has been chosen as the successor to a member of the Green Lantern Corps, a group of intergalactic policemen who utilize the power of Willpower to preserve order and justice throughout the universe. Through this, Hal meets some of the more prominent members of the Green Lantern Corps, including the totally-never-going-to-be-a-villain-with-a-name-like-this Sinestro. Sinestro does not believe that Hal, being human, is worthy of being a member of the Green Lantern Corps. However, in the face of doubt and adversity, Hal displays the tenacity of the human spirit and... quits. After less than a day as a member of the Corps, Hal packs up and goes home.

One of the biggest problems that I have with this film is the characterization of the protagonist himself. While it is clear that actor Ryan Reynolds is trying very hard to make the character and the film work, the writers and many other actors work so stalwartly against him that it's almost impossible for him to overcome them. The writing keeps bouncing between serious and comedic, while also jumping between Jordan being either a cocky flyboy or a passive coward. It's almost as though the character is played by two different actors who each had their own radically different view on Jordan's personality.

The issue of uncertain motives and seemingly random character decisions seems to be a recurring theme in this movie. Hal Jordan's love interest, played by the ironically named Blake Lively, appears to have no particular motive to like him in any way throughout the movie, though her performance is so boring and dead anyway that we don't really care. The character of Sinestro, traditionally the Green Lantern's arch-nemesis, is given such a weak reason for turning evil that it comes entirely out of left field (and also only after the credits have rolled.)

And don't you dare complain that I didn't give a spoiler alert before revealing that.
I mean, seriously, his name is Sinestro for god's sake!

The special effects, ESPECIALLY for a special effects movie, are absolutely abysmal. I've seen video games from for older generation consoles that had superior graphics to this film. For the amount of money that Warner Bros. spent on this pile of computer generated verbal diarrhea, I expected something more sophisticated than the opening cutscene of a video game from 2005.

As a side note: people who love the Green Lantern comics should avoid this movie like the bubonic plague. It drifts away from the comic's cannon so much that the film might as well be a giant green "screw you!" to the source material. As a comic book nerd, I found the movie incredibly insulting just by that alone - the rest of its many, many flaws simply provide supporting material for my nerd fury.

This movie is dreadful. Looking back, the only things that I can think of that were good about it were a handful of bit characters who were onscreen for mere minutes - one of them voiced by Geoffrey Rush. Yeah, that's right. Geoffrey Rush is in this movie, playing the voice of a character who is onscreen for less than ten minutes. He also has a narration monologue at the beginning of the movie.

Oh. Whoopee.

Those redeeming moments, however, are so fleeting that it does little to distract us from the rest of the horrendous pile of excrement that is Green Lantern. The acting is bad, the writing is horrible, the CGI is embarrassing, and the source material is bent over the table and ruthlessly violated. The only reason that Green Lantern is NOT the worst superhero movie I have ever seen is because I once had to sit through X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Final Grade: D- (Because I cannot bring myself to give any movie with Geoffrey Rush an F)

1 comment: