Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Robb's Follow Up Green Lantern Movie Review

I’ve had some time to think... I can put it into proper words and express a more thoughtful reaction. Its not a horrible flick, but Green Lantern, the movie... just let me down. 
There are things Ryan Reynolds and company totally got right. There was some nice humor, the racetrack construct was pretty cool, and the ending action scene was really well done. It is a fun Summer, popcorn movie. I don’t really feel it was terrible and I guess I’m not saying skip it. Please don’t. But I’m going to be unfair in my expectations and voice what I’m really trying to get to. “Its not Ironman and it should have been.”

DC has had so much success and failure with the Superman and Batman franchises. For the most part they are considered sure-fire, bankable and profitable ventures that will be pursued in film for years. We know that DC can hang with Marvel as long as they make decent films using the “World’s Finest” characters. But why can’t DC break out of that mold? Why can’t Flash or Wonder Woman, Legion of Super-Heroes or The Secret Six get a break? 

Marvel has had success across their entire super-hero line. Ever since Marvel hit with X-men... we’ve had a barrage of mostly profitable and well made “House of Ideas” films. Here is a random list... and it doesn’t matter if you liked them or not... they put a strong spotlight on Marvel as a company and a Brand. Fantastic Four (One & 2), Hulk, 2 Punisher movies, Daredevil, Spider-Man (1,2,&3), X-men (Too many to name), and beginning a few years ago we got the Marvel Universe in film form with Ironman, Incredible Hulk, Ironman 2, Thor and up next...Captain America. Eventually to team up and set the long awaited, highly anticipated, juggernaut of a Summer blockbuster: The Avengers. It has been like having sequels... but still getting individual stories. Pure movie gold! What’s DC’s answer? This Green Lantern movie and more Superman & Batman, and then? 

Green Lantern has been a huge success for the comics line at DC. I’m sure since “The Sinestro Corps War”, it has been a top 5 DC book on sales and popularity charts. Created by DC’s top talents and having story impact that shapes the DC Universe as a whole. I feel the success of the book is what caused Hollywood to notice the film possibilities. It had Coast City Super-Hero, street level, home grown tales to be told and of course, it had a massive cosmic scope as well. I just don’t feel like it took advantage of their situation. It was missing that it factor. That thing that made it "cool". I don't know what that magic "it" is. But it was missing. They had a chance to make a dent, to steal the spotlight, to really stand out in Brightest Day! The impact of Green Lantern to film needed to be bigger and deeper. Show the core of the DCU and maybe have a giant hand creating the Universe. Really push the envelope. Instead it was alright and visually superficial. It was just okay. And this is the template, the mind set for the Justice League? Warner Brothers… don't you know… even if its stealing a concept, THE AVENGERS movie is going to BANK! No question. Nerd movie of the year, Maybe the decade! As a huge DC fan, I can live with you stealing a concept, like having a shared Universe in order to get a bankable, believable, well written Justice League. Use this idea and start with Henry Cavill's Superman. Have him cross paths with GL or Hawk Woman or whoever. No more real estate villains to take on the Man of Steel. Build a world of characters to match Marvel's. Please!

My expectations were probably too high. DC is behind... and I thought Green Lantern was their attempt to throw their hat in the ring. I thought GL was going to be DC’s Ironman. Its not. But I just realized what Green Lantern really is. Its Blade. Think about it. Outside of most nerds, Blade was pretty obscure. He made a few appearances in the Spider-Man cartoon in the 90s. (Even though Green Lantern and Ironman were about the same level of obscurity... but you get my point.) Then that Wesley Snipes movie hit and BAM! Marvel got hot. Maybe I shouldn’t be so pessimistic about what Green Lantern’s impact is just yet. I’d say Green Lantern is as good as the original Blade? Possibly better? Maybe this is just getting the ball rolling and we are on the cusp of a new dawn for films for DC? Maybe.


  1. I was talking about the GL movie last night and one of the things I kept coming to was, it felt like they were getting so many of the notes right, but the beat was off.

    You got little tastes of everything, Hal's relationship with his family, the Corps, the Guardians, Sinestro, his dad, Carol, the Hammonds... but you never really got to spend enough time or dig deep enough with anything to give it weight.

    It's a lot to fit in. And while they succeeded in leaving me wanting more, it was at the cost of feeling like I didn't get enough.

    I don't think we got a strong enough feeling of Hal's relationship with Sinestro or Sinestro's motives and methods. I thought First Flight accomplished this really well by making Hal Sinestro's partner and seeing this sort of good cop/bad cop Training Day thing go down with them, so you get a better sense of who Sinestro is, outside of the fact that his name and appearance and interest in fear energy spells villain down the road.

    I don't think we got a proper idea or explanation for why the Guardians refused to help Hal protect Earth. The dismissal of the human race and their overly emotional tendencies weren't really emphasized that much and while the Guardians are most definitely a bunch of jerks, they just appeared like lazy jerks as opposed to being sanctimonious ones.

    I think Tomar-Re or Kilowog could've shown some dissent and accompanied Hal to Earth. Hal could've still delivered the final blow, and we could've still had Sinestro and one of the others show some last minute support, as they did, without it looking like these intergalactic peacekeepers had no interest in protecting a populated, thriving planet. (particularly from something they're at fault for)

    I honestly can't even remember why they didn't. I would still like to see the movie again. I had a fun time watching it and I'll definitely be there for the blu-ray release, but it misses the mark in spots where they settled for "okay" when they could've pushed "great."

  2. Here's the thing it doesn't matter what a properties relative popular in comics mean. To be honest Green Lantern was a bad choice for the opening salvo. First it requires to much to make to look decent. And second it has gotten a bit too big for the average movie goer to process. DC has such a rich library of comic properties that maybe starting with a simpler one may be a better choice. I know they want marquee titles to compete with Marvel but you need to build a solid base first. Marvel got lucky with Iron Man, just look how shaky things got with the Incredible Hulk.

    Also there is the problem that was recently addressed in the form of Greg Noveck. Who despite what you think of him really wasn't successful in his position. Green Lantern was really the last of his projects. Everything that follows is going to be a part of whatever Diane Nelson has planned for DC. Which honestly I believe is going to focus on making Superman the focal point.

    I mean outside the Dark Knight Rises the next major film for DC is Man of Steel. Plus the DC relaunch is making Action a key title. This makes sense when you look how DC differs from Marvel. With Marvel there was never any real flow, they just tried anything and went with what worked. But with DC it all started with Superman and everything they published owes something to that. Now I admit to not being the biggest Superman fan (outside my bizarre love Electric Blue Superman), but right now with DC starting anew I am looking forward to reading both Action and Superman. I think this a good thing, I remember a year or so back I made a comment how weird it is that there were more Green Lantern books that Superman books. I think DC realized this too.