The story of Hal Jordan and his unlikely entry into the Corps is one that fans know by heart, but many are unfamiliar with seeing as how, technically, he isn't part of the DC Trinity: Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. It is this fact that, sadly, I think will be a detriment to the success of this movie. I hope I'm wrong, though, because the setup work done in this film leads to things that will, ultimately, be much better than what we wound up with here.
The age of superheroes is definitely in full swing. The adventures of the Marvel Universe heroes/heroines is well documented by now in celluloid, digital and 3D, but DC has really only been championed by Batman. I say that because, well, even though I liked Superman Returns it didn't exactly destroy the box office. Nolan's vision reinvigorated the Dark Knight and when it was announced Martin Campbell was set to helm this cosmic-powered flick I was quite excited. You've got the man who helped make James Bond important again tackling a hero that was in desparate need of being seen, of being heard by the public.
The leading man is the charismatic and, dare I say, handsome Ryan Reynolds along with another strong casting choice of Mark Strong as Sinestro. The problem with the rest of the cast is, aside from Peter Saarsgard's scientist turned maniacal baddie, Hector Hammond, that it just falls flat. Blake Lively, who we have seen come into her own in projects like The Town, just lacks any chemistry with Hal. The romantic tension between the two is rather lacking and the development of their relationship is just, well, boring.
Reynolds does his best to offer a character that is not only likeable but also flawed. He, thankfully, didn't fall on his face like most did in the movie. I mentioned Strong earlier because, frankly, he was the best part about the entire thing. Sinestro represents the heart of the Corps, strong will coupled with bravado that is unmatched. Strong doesn't play this role but IS Sinestro. The rest, well, I saw the movie no more than an hour ago and the rest are rather forgettable. The main threat here is a former Guardian turned villain in Parallax that appears to be more polluted tendrils and large face than actual presence, but I get that he's the embodiement of fear. The CGI work for him was exceptional and one of the biggest bright spots of the movie as far as I'm concerned.
This movie felt, at times, like it came straight out of the earlier age of comics. The dialogue was punchy at times, but never that great overall. The use of the various constructs that those in possession of the Green Lantern ring can make to combat their foes were interesting at times and downright bad at others.
The more I think about it the more I feel that honestly this movie was targeted more at the younger crowd than anything else. The action setpieces seemed to be geared towards the younger demographic while the romantic elements were heavily toned down so as not to harsh the good buzz that any 12 year old might be getting from the flick. I can live with that, honestly, because let's be honest here..this is a cosmic tale that can be tough to accept if you're not already a fan. It can be a big enough stretch to accept that a billionaire would willingly dress up like a bat and fight crime, but a fighter pilot with a magic ring being a space cop? Oh well. That's how comics work, and the translation of some might not work as well as others.
That's not where I had the problem, honestly, but in how some scenes featured dazzling CGI and vibrant 3D and others just were dull. I had a small problem with the suit, but then again I've felt that way from the moment we first had it revealed what the intentions of the filmmakers were. The mask, in particular, was an interesting choice along with the rest of the costume. The suit was like a second skin while the mask was just coloration on his skin, though at times it seemed more like a full-on mask. It varied from scene to scene at times, and well, I just didn't dig it fully. I know it's what the character is "supposed" to look like from an aesthetic perspective given the half a century or more of history behind it, but still it didn't work for me at times.
I wanted to like this movie way more than I did considering the character and his foe. You've got Force of Will (Green) versus Fear (Yellow). I wanted it to be better than it did, but most of the big fight sequences aside from the very last one just didn't leave me feeling satisfied. A great example of something that was effective in the terms of the rules and powerset of the Lantern Corps was in the newly released animated feature Emerald Knights. Hal channels that willpower into what is, essentially, a giant sword which is then used to destroy his enemy entirely. It worked so well, but in comparison we have flamethrowers, giant machine gun turrets and a giant toy car/track construct used in a rescue sequence. I get that its going to be over the top at times, but it could have been a bit more grounded.
I know I sound like I'm hating the movie, but honestly I didn't. I think that most major critics out there are being REALLY harsh towards the movie. The vitriol really isn't necessary. It isn't monumental or going to change cinema by any means, but what it does do is dazzle, for the most part, in the special effects department. It also, by way of Strong and a plot device introduced late in the film, setup the next movie REALLY well. Just stay through the beginning sequence of the credits and you'll get my drift. I am more excited for the next film, though this one left me wanting much more.