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Dissenting Opinion: Rick's Review of Green Lantern

Adaptation is a tough thing.  Especially when the property in question is an idea so far flung from normal human logic that to adapt it would require a certain degree of believability.  Such is the case with Green Lantern.  This movie had all the right elements in place. 

1. An excellent director with Martin Campbell who is no slouch with the action films.  Don't believe me?  Watch Casino Royale, Goldeneye and Mask of Zorro.  (Pay specific attention to that last one because I will make mention of Zorro again later in this review.)  

2. A leading man who has been wanting a good comic property to play with.  Ryan Reynolds is a decent actor.  He can play funny and he can play serious.  He has been in two other comic to film adaptations and neither of them were very good.  (Although Blade Trinity is a guilty pleasure of mine.)

3. A fantastic actor to play one of the potential heavies.  Mark Strong is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors and he was a natural choice for Sinestro. 

4. Strong visual effects because the Green Lantern is a very visual character with the constructs he makes out of his ring.

All these elements would naturally imply that this movie would be one of the best movies of the summer right?

Well...Not exactly.

Keep a weather eye open mates, and hold on tight. With both hands, if you please. Thar be SPOILERS ahead...

Here is the deal.  The biggest problem I had with Green Lantern was none of these elements.  In fact,  all of those things were fantastic.  I loved the visuals and Ryan Reynolds is working his butt off to sell his performance and it works.  Mark Strong is fantastic as Sinestro.  The directing is not bad either.   I went in as a film fan.  Yes I am a HUGE fan of the books.  I love the characters, the visuals in the books, everything.  I am not always the type to complain that the minutiae that the filmmakers missed because were that the case, I would be furious about this movie.  While yes, I am not happy with the results, I am okay with the liberties they took.  However, what I think I am most upset with this movie, is the way the movie was cut. 

I think that Jason from Nowhere in Mulberry said it best when he said there was no meat in the movie.  An hour and 40 minutes is not enough to do justice to the character.  Batman Begins and The Dark Knight both were two and a half hours but neither one dragged.  The training sequence in Green Lantern felt like it needed more.  MUCH more.  Just a couple of brief minutes with each trainer and then Hal Jordan is suddenly ready to become a hero?  I think not.  There is no moment where we see him train and reach his full potential.  Mask of Zorro does this right.  They give the character room to breathe. Hal Jordan needed room to breathe because he is a fun character in the movie.  Hal was denied breathing and growing room in this movie.

We needed more of the intergalactic aspects.  We get a couple of brief scenes on the Green lantern homeplanet Oa and then everything else on Earth.  It's one thing to show the Green Lantern Corp. but another thing entirely to actually show them in action.  We get a handful of them in action ever so briefly and then they get decimated by the giant cloud that is supposed to pass for Parallax.  No one comes to the help of Hal Jordan.  They just kind of look at him blankly and that's it.

I think the biggest offenders for me at least were Blake Lively and Peter Sargaard.  Blake Lively as Carrol; Ferris certainly looks the part well enough.  My issue with her is there was no chemistry between her and Ryan Reynolds. And no, I don't mean they need to have sex in the movie. Far from it.  You want an example of chemistry, Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Mask of Zorro.  They had chemistry.  Their relationship worked.  The relationship between Hal Jordan in this movie, did not. 

Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond was WAY over the top and really hammy. I get that the character in the books has a HUGE cranium but still his performance was so awful that I rolled my eyes every time he was on screen.  He brought nothing to the role and the crush he had on Carol Ferris being shoehorned into the proceedings did nothing to move things forward for me. 

Sinestro's turn in the movie I take great exception to as well.  That is one of those things from the comic that you do not mess with because it is so well known.  I know I said I had no problem with the liberties they took ont he comic but this is the one exception I am going to fight for.  The relationship between Hal Jordan and Sinestro is crucial to the story because of the master/student dynamic that they share.  There was NONE of that in this movie.  Sinestro's betrayal of Hal Jordan is one of the most important elements that makes Sinestro the arch nemesis of Hal Jordan and for him to just get the yellow ring and then suddenly become evil was just not enough for me. 

I know that I bring up Mask of Zorro a lot in this review.  That is because it is an example of an adaptation done right by the same director.  If nothing else, I wish there had been something more to this movie.  It's not that I hate the movie completely, far from it.  I loved the visuals and what little training we got.  I loved the look of the Green Lantern Corp. and the opening sequence explained everything I needed to know about the history of the Corp.  That said, I cannot recommend this movie because the bad greatly outweighs the good for me in a lot of ways.    

Final Verdict: C-
4 comments:

I am one to agree. I think the review is just about spot on.

The Shortbus Ninja


Desenting from what? This is the general consensus


Thanks for the mention Rick. Poor Green Lantern, he finally got a movie and it turned out to be this? I thought they had a story they wanted to tell but it felt like they didn't at all and they didn't have the excuse that they just made the movie to put him in an Avengers. Jastrom


Cole and Catherine LOVED it. As did Cole's dad. Which is why the dissenting opinion.


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