Monday, June 20, 2011
At the Movies: Green Lantern
The critics have hammered the film as well, citing some of the acting, clunky screenwriting and clueless direction. These aren’t necessarily wrongheaded remarks, but when these types of comments hit the web heaviest on the geek-centric sites, it definitely hurts early returns. I will avoid spoilers as much as possible, but certain points have to be addressed – so be advised – proceed with caution.
First of all let me say that Green Lantern is a really good comic book movie. It channels the established history and characterizations from the silver age series quite well. Geoff Johns may share a screenwriting credit, along with Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg, but the vast majority of the elements and featured characters were originally created by DC Comics writer John Broome and artist Gil Kane. Make no mistake about this! Any strength of this film is due to the wise decision to stick with the core concept built by those two fine, talented gentlemen who are no longer with us. Johns could lay claim to an interpretation of Parallax, but comic book writer Ron Marz originated even that concept.
I would offer as a constructive criticism that at 105 minutes, the film is simply not long enough to have adequately fit in much of what made it onto the screen, and it is this specific aspect that is ultimately behind most critics’ disappointment. We needed more of the GL Corps, more of Oa, more of the Guardians; most of which was very well done as far as I'm concerned and less of other elements (see below). The special effects are excellent.
Ryan Reynolds was topnotch as the cocky Hal Jordan, Blake Lively won me over as Carol Ferris, Mark Strong is "awesome" as Sinestro and the voice work of Michael Clarke Duncan (Kilowog), Clancy Brown (Parallax) and Geoffrey Rush (Tomar-Re) was really cool with me. The actors who played the supporting roles of Tom Kalmaku (Taika Waititi), Carl Ferris (Jay O. Sanders) and Martin Jordan (Jon Tenney) were also spot on, but three roles were utterly unnecessary to the overall film. Tim Robbins portrayed Sen. Hammond, Angela Bassett portrayed Amanda Waller and Peter Sarsgaard portrayed classic GL villain Hector Hammond (to good effect, but he belonged in a subsequent film) and while none were individually deal breakers, all felt heavily tacked on here. The movie as a whole would have worked far better without these characters being present. The Parallax entity did not need Hector Hammond as motivation to come to Earth, it could have simply followed Abin Sur (exceptionally well, albeit briefly, played by Temuera Morrison) to Earth or arrived just to knock off his chosen successor, Hal Jordan.