Hey! I Saw Green Lantern! or You Need Willpower To Watch This Movie!
(Look We know We promised you people a review of Hideaki Anno’s live action Cutie Honey but it is Summer Movie Season and there is a fuckload of movies coming out that, let’s face it, Brave Blog will probably end up reviewing. We here at Brave Blog figure that by the time the Summer Movie Season is over that you’ll probably gotten Cutie Honey off of Netflix anyway. So this is one more detour on the road to finishing 5 Modern Japanese Films Everyone Should See. Hell if you’ve already read everything on this blog anyway, waiting for one more review isn’t going to hurt you… much…)
I went to see Green Lantern. I went to see Green Lantern and as a result I weep for the Green Lantern Corps. Really, I could end my review of the movie right there and you can get the right impression that this movie was not what I want a Green Lantern movie to be. Green Lantern should not be mediocre. It should amaze me and make me want to be a member of the Green Lantern Corps. I came away from the theater severely disappointed. I walked out of the theater with this question burning in my soul: Why is it so difficult for DC Comics to attach their name to a good Superhero movie that doesn’t feature Batman?
That isn’t to say all the Batman movies are great. The entire run of Batman movies from 1989-1995 were all pretty bad. If you want to look at it honestly, the best Batman movies are probably The Dark Knight, Mask of The Phantasm and Batman Begins with the 1966 Adam West movie bringing up the rear. That is only like a 50% Good to Bad ratio of movies. That means Batman can barely bat .500 on film. The Box Office is another matter though as Batman as a franchise makes dough like a Jewish Bagel Factory. Hollywood makes a Batman movie and the damn thing will make money. The franchise attracts name talent as far actors and directors go, so it makes sense that people want to go see Batman movies in spite of the fact many of them tend to be awful.
So what does this have to do with Green Lantern and its various shortcomings as a movie?
Simple, everybody knows Batman. They know Superman as well but the interest isn’t there for Big Blue like it is for Batman, Superman Returns proved that. So when movie studios try to make non-Batman movies based on DC Comics characters, once you move past Batman and Superman you have 5 of the “Big 7” of the Justice League. The problem there is that unless you are a comic geek, chances are you don’t know/care about the rest of Justice League. So what the fuck is left for your run of the mill moviegoer? How do you lure them into see a movie about a character that, while on top of the comic sales charts, they know jack shit about?
Green Lantern lacks some serious clout with non-comic fans. It isn’t like Green Lantern has been in the public eye all that much. No matter how you slice it, Batman is a name brand. Superman is a name brand. The X-Men are name brand. These characters have remained at the forefront of public awareness because they have other means of keeping them visible to the non-comics fan (i.e. cartoons, coloring books and so merchandise that no child could possibly get it all). If DC had been on the ball with this they would have had a Green Lantern cartoon on the air 2 years ago to act as t pre-cursor. Instead Warner Brothers releases still images of Ryan Reynolds in a Green Lantern costume that the fans weren’t too crazy about. Yes, Warner Brothers and DC hyped the movie on the internet, comic conventions and your usual movie media publications but that doesn’t mean that your average Joe knows who the fuck Green Lantern is. If people do not have steady exposure to the character why should they plop down anywhere between $6-12 to for a movie about that character?
This is one of those problems that a lot of Superhero movies have had. For every movie with X-Men Thor, Spider-Man and Iron Man Marvel Studios has cranked out, they have also put out real stinkers like Daredevil, Ghost Rider and Ang Lee’s interpretation of The Hulk. Marvel is at least ahead of the curve because the big ones make huge bank and get followed up with somewhat competent sequels. In response DV and Warner Brothers have given us 2 really good Batman movies, a Superman movie where the Last Son of Krypton is portrayed as a creepy stalker and doesn’t fight anything and an abortion of a movie about Jonah Hex. Hell I’m not even counting the crappy Vertigo movie adaptations like Constantine or The Losers.
So this brings us to Green Lantern, a movie I was so hopeful for but walked away thinking “Yes, I definitely watched a movie all right!” Nothing about this movie clicked for me. The special effects were ok but there was way too much green-screen used for my liking. Seriously there was some bad and glaringly obvious green-screen at that. The script made Hal Jordan a pilot but not a true badass pilot. Ryan Reynolds came off way more sarcastic than actually cocky as Hal Jordan. They mine as well used a cardboard cut-out of Blake Lively, since her portrayal of Carol Ferris was about as dynamic as one. The one actor that stood out as being badass was Mark Strong as Sinestro. He played Sinestro as snide and condescending but still heroic. Everything you want Sinestro to be. The CGI characters that get voices get some top notch talent, like Geoffrey Rush and Tomar-Re and Michael Clarke Duncan as Kilowog. Hell it gives eye-candy to comic nerds with its depiction of various members of the GLC (that’s Green Lantern Corps to those not in the know). I spotted GLs ranging from Stel, Salaak and Green-Man all the way to Bzzd. Hell the only GL I wanted to see but didn’t was Mogo. I guess they want to save the Big Guy for whatever sequel they are planning.
I’m also confused why the marketing campaign didn’t make use of the “WE ARE THE CORPS” battle cry. If that had been used more in the promotional materials then you had a marketing tool that was less cumbersome than the lengthy Green Lantern Corps Oath. “We Are The Corps!” would’ve helped sell toys, fast food and more Underoos than there are elastic waistbands for. I mean the idea is to make money of this movie and make it into a possible franchise right?
Despite all of its shortcomings, Green Lantern isn’t horrible. It is, at best, serviceable. I really wanted to like it. I really did. This needed to be a homerun for DC and Warner Brothers in order to prove they can take a major-second string character and do it right. Instead the movie misses its mark. It isn’t a strikeout, more like it got base based on a fielder’s error. This doesn’t bode well for future DC Comics films. Well those not named Dark Knight Rises. Our best hope is that if there is a sequel for Green Lantern, that the first movie was more of a test. You know, a “Let’s see what works story and effects wise and then fix that for the sequel” approach. It is a shitty approach to making movies especially when there is a built in fanbase that loves the character and concept of Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps.
So far this Summer Movie Season, the score is Marvel – 2, DC – 0. Marvel did a good job with Thor and then blew me away with X-Men: First Class. Hell, they might pull off a perfect sweep if Captain America is as badass as the trailers make it seems. DC gave us Green Lantern and sadly, it will go down as mostly forgettable. It is not a movie worth your full price admission ticket. It is ok for a ½ price matinee or a trip to your second run Super Saver Cinema. It is most definitely NOT a movie to fork out the extra money for 3D, a gimmick that has been wearing thin with me for some time now. I really want Green Lantern to succeed as a franchise, but if the plan for it is to keep putting out movies like this and do promotion hype after the movie is released then we mine as well throw the first shovel full of dirt on this franchise right now. Your goal as a movie studio should never be mediocrity and sadly Green Lantern as a movie is exactly that put to film. So I weep for The Corps and pray that something can be salvaged and improved upon to make Green Lantern the movie franchise it deserves to be.