In another summer filled with big budget superhero films, Green Lantern was probably the one that piqued my interest a little more than others. I never had any notions that it would be the best superhero film of the summer, and it isn’t, but it’s still something a bit different than most superhero flicks and it’s a lot of fun. I set my standards about midway, and it was everything I expected to be— a fun, intergalactic ass-kicking romp that has some dull moments and some really exciting moments and some great character effects.
So really the main reason I was probably more excited to see Green Lantern than even X-Men: First Class for example (which I hear is really damn good) is that Green Lantern’s just so fucking enormous in scope. As much as love Batman and Spiderman, they’re protectors mainly of a single city. Green Lantern is probably by far the most science fictiony of all the major DC and Marvel superheroes. The Green Lantern universe is literally the entire universe, populated with tens of thousands of weird alien species on weird planets and it’s a lot of fun like that.
Right away, I’ll tell you that the writing in Green Lantern isn’t that great. It’s not horrible— I’ve sat through far, far worse writing in action and superhero movies, but it’s nothing spectacular. There are funny moments and there are serious moments, but at times it’s cheesy and cliched and as exciting as the battle with Parallax was, it was your pretty standard David vs. Goliath style fight that seemed a defeat too easy. And overall the film seemed sort of light, but it did also feel like an introduction, which it was. There’s two more GL movies planned, so there’s plenty of room for slightly deeper and more intricate plot lines, but this did a decent enough job of introducing the character, introducing the universe, introducing some of the main players and introducing the character of Hal Jordan to the whole, sudden life change— going from daredevil test pilot to protector of the Earth and a thousand other planets. So again, while the writing did leave something to be desired, I found it forgivable.
But what really made this a fun movie were the effects and the casting. Yes, the movie was incredibly heavy on CGI, but it’s sort of expected, when most of the action takes place on alien worlds or in outer space, with thousands of sentient alien beings roaming about and heroes whose power is creating objects out of thin air. You could have done this movie 30 years ago with hand-built props, but it would have been insanely expensive and time-consuming for a superhero that’s not Superman or Batman. Honestly, I would have liked to have had more CGI and less messing about on Earth with romance and getting beaten up in parking lots, but again, that’s all part of the introductory nature of this first movie. If you don’t know anything about Green Lantern going into the movie, the film does a decent job of efficiently filling you in on the major points.
Ryan Reynolds was good enough as Hal Jordan. He definitely looked the part, even though he seems to fit Deadpool a bit more than Green Lantern. But overall, I don’t have any real problems with Reynolds in the role. And even if you didn’t like Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, the rest of the cast made up for it. Yeah okay, so Michael Clarke Duncan was the obvious “We’ve got a big strong character, so let’s get the deepest, most ‘black’ voice we can find” casting, but Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond, Mark Strong as Sinestro and Temuera Morrison as Abin Sur were all perfect casting choices. I’m especially excited to see Sinestro return in a second Green Lantern now that he’s forged the yellow ring of Fear.
Overall, I can recommend Green Lantern as a fun and exciting summer superhero movie, especially if you’re looking for something a bit different than flying and swinging through skyscrapers. It may not be the best superhero movie ever and the script is weak, but it’s certainly not an unforgettable movie. Things that I thought would bug me, like the weird muscly Green Lantern suit weren’t an issue at all. It’s one that while I doubt I’ll see at the theater again, I’ll definitely pick up on DVD or Blu Ray when it comes out. Even with the movie’s many flaws, I didn’t come away with a bad taste in my mouth. It was fun and exciting, and the part of me that’s still 8 years old wants to watch the movie with my Green Lantern action figures pew-pew-pewing and flying around the living room.
Oh, and one other thing about Green Lantern in general that’s made me a fan even before the movie came out is a connection I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere, and that’s a weird connection with Aleister Crowley and The Golden Dawn. I’m a big fan of Crowley— he was a pretty cool guy, even if he was sort of off the deep end. Anyway, you’ll have to Wikipedia it, because I’m not going to go into an entire history of Crowley, The Golden Dawn and Thelema, but the whole Lantern universe, with its various factions based on different colors representing different forms of energy is very Thelemic and the Green Lantern Corps’ use of Will energy to manifest things into the physical realm is what Aleister Crowley was all about. So if you want some superhero universe that you can call evil and full of occult principles, Green Lantern is it. So I don’t know what that insight is worth, but maybe someone can start a blog about it or something.