Monday, June 27, 2011
The spring/summer of superhero movies is well and truly underway. First there was Thor (which I missed), then X-Men: First Class (which was excellent) and now DC try to muscle in with Green Lantern, before Marvel can hit back with Captain America. Unfortunately it looks like Marvel has won this round.
Not that Green Lantern was bad. It was an entertaining, colourful film with some very impressive outer space CGI effects - if somewhat in-your-face and reminiscent of video game cut-scenes. Many of the cast were decent too - Ryan Reynolds does a fine Hal Jordan, I really liked Blake Lively as Carol Ferris and Mark Strong gave an excellent performance as (the somewhat underused) Sinestro.
It's just that, this felt like an average American superhero movie: introduce hero and supporting cast, hero gets powers, hero learns about powers, then he learns about threat, hero stops threat even though he has little experience. Other than the SFX, there was nothing to elevate this above - or bring it up to the level of - other action films out there. Iron Man (f'instance) had the wonderful Robert Downey Jnr as Tony Stark as well as the set up for the forthcoming Avengers film. X-Men: First Class tied in with the earlier X-Men films, exploring the fascinating relationship between Prof X and Magneto whilst utilising a sort of 60s James Bond theme as a backdrop. This just had pretty SFX.
Even the various aliens in the Green Lantern Corp weren't really examined much. Tomar Re was pretty much just a narrator there to introduce Hal (and the viewer) to the whole GL Corps thing, Kilowog was used to give us a very brief and slightly disappointing training exercise, and Abin Sur made a quick discovery of the threat and then crashed on Earth in the beginning third of the film. The only other alien we were introduced to was Sinestro who, coming across as the overly tough, uncompromising, strict, stuck-up leader, was merely there to set up the villain in the sequel. Probably a good idea - the last thing this introductory film needed was another villain on top of Hector Hammond and Parallax - but it did mean that Sinestro didn't get much to do other than preach about how perfect "his" Green Lantern Corp was.
I do wonder whether those not familiar with the comic books wondered what the point of the newly-created yellow ring was. There was a reasonable amount of time spent creating the thing and then nothing (other than a post-credits scene, which I missed!).
I liked the scene on the balcony with Carol seeing through Hal's flimsy disguise - because, seriously, a little domino mask around the eyes is going to do nothing to hide one's identity - and it was good to see that Green Lantern created objects (such as boxing gloves, ramps, and the like) with his ring rather than just blasting at things with green lasers.
Not sure about the use of Amanda Waller in the film though. For starters, she was far too slim but also she appeared to have been killed in the battle with Hector Hammond. Or maybe not? Seems a shame to get rid of her so lets hope she somehow recovered. It would be interesting if she appeared in all of the forthcoming DC movies, doing things behind the scenes, and perhaps setting up a Suicide Squad film sometime in the future.
All in all though, Green Lantern was an average film - not great but far from terrible - which should set things up nicely for a half decent sequel with Sinestro as the bad guy. Going off Mark Strong's performance, that should be pretty interesting!