Monday 17 October 2011

Today's Review: Green Lantern

With Marvel still releasing movies left and right, and actually doing quite a good job of it lately, it's up to DC to try and step up to the mark. Sure we have Nolan's Batman movies, which are an entity unto themselves. But otherwise we just have a pretty crappy Superman reboot in recent years. So enter Green Lantern, DC's latest attempt at cashing in on the revitalised superhero genre.

Green Lantern follows Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a test pilot who is pretty reckless, like most protagonists these days. His father was killed in a test pilot run of his own, so Hal wants to live up to his aspirations, and to his credit he is pretty good at flying. But after screwing up his last test run his future is uncertain. Thankfully an alien ship has crash landed nearby containing a fatally wounded Green Lantern, sworn protectors of the different sectors of the universe.Each Green Lantern has a ring that grants them their power and chooses a successor, and on this occasion Hal is chosen due to his fearless nature. So off he zooms to the Green Lantern base, the planet Oa, where he is trained in the ways of the ring, but where he is also informed of the impending threat of an entity which threatens to conquer the universe.

So yes, there's a lot of mystical interplanetary stuff going on here. There is clearly a lot of background to the story which is explained in detail in the comics, seeing as there are 3,600 Green Lanterns in total. But this movie spends so much time introducing Hal that when the Green Lantern induction process starts, he just zooms along to the planet, meets three Lanterns and doesn't spend much time there anyway. I know Hal is pretty fearless, but to just shrug off being transported to an alien world and given the responsibility of protecting a large portion of the universe feels a bit sloppy. The actual enemies of the movie aren't given much development either, which leads to some battles which, while visually quite impressive, are a bit anti-climactic.

The movie is two hours long, so there is a lot of stuff that could have been put in, but it seems they just crammed a lot of the wrong stuff in, and it seems quite drawn out. Before the proper fight with the first adversary, I'm sure I fell asleep for about ten minutes but still didn't miss anything interesting. Everything just seemed to carry on from when I dropped off. So the pacing is indeed a bit off, but the fact that they've gone into so much detail with Hal's backstory is good for developing his character, and this movie is mostly about him. If there were sequels there would be plenty of room for fleshing out other characters and spending more time on Oa, but since this movie has been poorly received it's not looking too likely.

Still, there is some solid acting throughout the movie, and the fight scenes are quite well constructed, especially given the unlimited amount of stuff the ring can create from green light. Green Lantern is by no means a terrible movie, there is just a lot of time spent on stuff that doesn't really matter, and other aspects that cry out for development. Perhaps if the priorities had been set right this time around we'd be looking forward to the inevitable sequel. But while the future is uncertain, I certainly wouldn't turn my nose up at another story of Hal and his magic green ring.

My rating: 3/5

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