In brightest day, in blackest night…
Let me start off by saying I really enjoyed this movie. Its is exactly the type of mind relieving suspension of reality that every summer film should be. Don’t let what I type next fool you…
Though I enjoyed it as a fan of the genre I admit that the story could have been better. I wish I knew why, when comic books have such a rich history, Hollywood constantly tries to reinvent the wheel. The story of how Hal Jordan becomes a member of the Green Lantern Corp has been told numerous times, most recently by Geoff Johns (DC comics Chief Creative Officer and current writer of GL, arguably responsible for bringing the character enough attention to warrant a film). Each comic origin added to the mythology but rather than take one of those and adapt it (I’m talking “Secret Origin” here) they threw elements together and hoped the audience would get it. I got it because I’ve read the source material, but I see where others may not. The film was probably geared to make people interested enough to buy the graphic novels but it seems to have frustrated some of the critics.
Ok, spoilers ahead. *SPOILERS*
I like what they did with Parallax, merging him with the concept of the “Mad Guardian” from the comics. They don’t give names (likely to avoid confusion) but I’m pretty sure that was supposed to be the Guardian Appa Ali Apsa possessed by the fear entity known, in the comics, as Parallax.
Sinestro was awesome, Mark Strong was a great teacher/mentor for those few scenes he was in. He owned that role and his frustration with the Guardians was subtle but evident when he addressed them. Some may have missed that because its less in the words, more in the delivery and expression. Pay attention to that and the post-credit scene makes perfect sense. I hope there’s a sequel just to see the payoff.
Kilowog and Tomar-Re, they needed more screen time, Michael Clark Duncan and Geoffrey Rush were perfect voice actors. OA and the Guardians also needed more screen time. Parts of this movie felt rushed but that’s likely because they were afraid to lose the audience so decided to keep focus on Hal… it is his induction story after all.
Hector Hammond was beautifully portrayed by Peter Sarsgaard, the movie needed an Earth based threat to make Hal embrace his role and this was it. I almost wish their rivalry wasn’t over the girl though, mostly because I couldn’t buy Blake Lively in the role of Carol Ferris. The chemistry between Lively and Reynolds was non-existant, but Sarsgaard was a great, creepy villain.
Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, what can I say? I like Ryan Reynolds as an actor and what he tried to do in the film, but he’s not Hal Jordan. I’m biased though, I never saw him as Hal Jordan. Hal is cocky, not sarcastic, he’s a show off, not a wide-eyed kid with a new toy. Sure, this was his start as GL but it didn’t scream “Hal Jordan” to me. I’m not entirely sure if it was the script or the acting but I would have preferred someone like Bradley Cooper as Hal. Hopefully Reynolds can settle into Hal’s shoes in future installments as the writers pen better dialogue.
Missed opportunities? Yes, there were more than a few…
More on the mad Guardian would have been nice. I think it needed to be explained that he was not the true Parallax, but possessed by the entity of fear (the swirly yellow energy with the symbol). This makes his defeat at the end more plausible.
As stated above, more on OA, Kilowog and Tomar-Re. Blink and fans will miss Stel, Bzzd and Isomat Tol in the gathering scene.
More training, it was nice to see it done but far too quick. If you had to run to the bathroom you missed it, and I know one dude who did. Next time he’ll think twice before getting that huge drink for his son.
Easter Eggs, they’re good for the fans and give us the opportunity to answer questions some of the non-initiated may have. Sure, we got a glimpse of Stel, Bzzd and Isomat but there could have been more…
Here are some I think we’re missed:
Cameos or name mentions of future Earth GL’s: John Stewart, Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner.
The scene in the bar with Carol and Hal had a game playing on the television above the bar. How I wish the game had been college football and Guy Gardner at least named, if not shown, running for a touchdown.
Hal briefly mentions his time in the Airforce, very briefly, but this would have served as a better flashback than the one of Hal’s dad. It could have also been used to show or mention John Stewart who is Marine that Hal first met during his in Airforce days.
Kyle Rayner could have been shown in a crowd scene as a college student or artist. Hey, X-Men did it with Colossus so why not? Yeah, Kyle’s my favorite GL, so? That said, I think Ryan Reynolds would have been a better Kyle…
And where was the Geoff Johns cameo? Maybe the Marvel movies have me spoiled but I like seeing Stan Lee and other creators in scenes.
I know movie goers today like more action and less origin but maybe the film would have been better served if it focused more on Hal and his personal beginnings. The flashback was ok, but a half hour of explaining what this guy is like, how he got to be who he is before getting the ring would have made his growth into Green Lantern of Sector 2814 more relatable.
Again, I enjoyed the movie but its not without its flaws. Its a fun filled film that shows promise and clearly intends to be more than it is. The set-up for the sequel is evident and I truly hope we get one.
… No evil shall escape my sight!