Fear is an interesting power in this Universe. In the past 48 hours the word became clear on GREEN LANTERN as a host of critics started chiming in. I try to ignore this stuff as best I can, but when friends like Moriarty, Mr Beaks, Quint & Nordling all circle the wagons and claim the Indians are attacking, you begin to think about joining the circle. There’s a whole lot of negativity online & it’s easy to jump into that circle pull down your pants and take a shit in the same spot as everybody else and call it a toilet.
Now, if you’ve been following my Twitter feed this year, you know that I’ve often referred to wearing my Green Lantern ring that I was sent as part of that crazy 100 RINGS promotion that Warner Brothers did. You should know, I rarely wear corporate art. I don’t do t-shirts. Though I do possess an awesome pair of TRON shoes. But I only tend to wear comic characters on boxers and pjs. But there was something about the Green Lantern mythos that I latched onto as I’ve been going through my rehab for my spinal surgery this year.
Wearing the ring evoked the importance of WILL POWER in my journey. So much of this journey I’ve spent the last 6 months on is so incredibly personal, but when your personal journey includes wearing a GREEN LANTERN ring… well, silly stuff inspires. And when you think about the fact that I’ve dropped 100lbs this year. That I’ve been reactivating muscle groups that had laid dormant for 8 years due to my Stenosis… well, you need WILL POWER. In therapy, daily, I’m asked to do something that is impossible, as far as I know, but I made a deal with myself to do everything my Physical Therapist tell me to do, because I figure if they’re brave enough to ask, that means they believe I have a reasonable chance at doing what they ask me to do. Looking at that ring, closing my eyes, visualizing the action they’ve requested in my mind, breathing, then DOING IT is a daily affair for me.
Where did this come from, well, I’ve read a shit ton of GREEN LANTERN stories, from the Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, Modern Age and of today. He isn’t my favorite superhero, but he’s one of the ones that the more off Earth he gets, the more I love him.
I love the notion that one of us was chosen. And I liked it when it was just Hal Jordan. He’s my favorite Green Lantern…. Well, after Kilowog, that is. But that’s a latter life love. For me, I adore Hal Jordan. The mad genius of his constructs, I loved the sweetness that was deep inside him, and the fierce determination. Something that I really and truly love about the BATMAN story far more though. But that Ring literally became a totem of success in my Rehab. My therapist say I’m the single most determined patient they’ve had, but dammit, now that I know my spine is right, I know the only thing between me and rejoining the uprights is pure willpower to do what must be done. So I won’t be going to Comic Con this year, even if something from Documentary on COMIC CON will play, because I’m targeting walking into the premiere of this bitch – which would be quite sweet. SO…
As those bad reviews hit, I began to think about the review that I thought was going to be impending. I started thinking about how I would write about this motivation as the one good thing that came out of this film for me. I was ready to bitch about Blake Lively, but then I saw the film.
I spent the first 40 minutes of the movie waiting to hate it. Waiting for something that embarrassed me as a fan of Green Lantern. Waiting to get as pissed as I got at Schumacher for BATMAN & ROBIN, or Pitof for CATWOMAN, or Hayward for JONAH HEX. I was fully prepared to bitch that only BATMAN & SUPERMAN had ever had decent adaptations for.
I smiled a lot in that first 40 minutes, but once I let go of seeking to find something to bitch about, and just watched the movie, ring on my finger – and dammit… I had a blast with it.
Is it perfect? No.
Is it the Green Lantern movie that I’ve always hoped to see? No, but it has some of the things I wanted to see that dream movie in my head.
Now, I do feel Martin Campbell really hamstrung the film in editing the sequence of things a bit. Originally in the draft I read it began with Hal Jordan as a kid, hero worshipping his Dad. The film was meant to give you Jordan’s story in a very straightforward way.
I do think the Guardians should have been done mainly with photographic make up, as the animation on those guys is a bit spotty. BUT – overall, I went with it. The essence of Hal Jordan is there. The core beliefs of the Corps are intact.
What do I love?
I love Hal’s first construct moment on Earth. I love the texture of everything off Earth. Sinestro, Kilowog and Tomar-Re stepped right out of my dreams. Watching Hal train with those 3 is one of the sheerest moments of Comic Book Perfection that I’ve ever seen in one of these adaptations. The problem? Well, God dammit, I could have spent 2 hours of the movie with just Kilowog being brutal on Hal Jordan on Oa. Hell, I don’t even think a threat to Earth was even needed.
To me – that moment where Hal Jordan looks up from his puddle, see a strange ship crash site – and an arm dangling weak or near death – and he launches like a fucking rocket to help. THAT IS HAL JORDAN. Watching Hal Jordan struggling with his confidence would have been better had Campbell let the pre-ringed Jordan stuff build better (like their old draft). But that’s neither here nor there. What did get made is an absolutely valid 1st film.
If you liked Bryan Singer’s 1st X-MEN, this is LOADS MORE FAITHFUL and more pure FUN than that. What this GREEN LANTERN film isn’t better than is GREEN LANTERN: EMERAL KNIGHTS – the new straight to Blu-Ray animated GREEN LANTERN film from the geniuses at DC Animation. But then, that’s also true of SUPERMAN & BATMAN… which I feel have been done better in animation than in film – and guess what – the comics are still better than all of this stuff.
BUT – shhhhhhhh! That’s alright – it’s just so fucking cool that they’ve made a GREEN LANTERN movie that is mostly in the right direction. The sooner they get Hal Jordan intergalactic, that’s where the fun really begins. Once you have Sinestro as a bad guy, beating Hal within an inch of his fucking life – being sadistic as he does it, that aristocratic snobbish alien attitude of his the whole time. That shit will be epic.
For me, GREEN LANTERN was what introduced me to concepts that George Lucas gave me later with Yoda – who is a far better GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE character than these new guys. The animation and solidity just isn’t there on those guys and it doesn’t quite feel right, especially on the close ups.
The film isn’t perfect, but damn if I’m not gonna watch the fuck out of it. I mean… the training sequence alone I’m willing to watch this film at least 3 times in a row once I get it on Blu-Ray.
NOW – for the 3D. The film I saw earlier today was also in 3D, and that 3D was jaw-droppingly amazing to watch. On GREEN LANTERN – the 3D is generally quite fun, but on shots with something in the immediate foreground that captured your attention, the characters in the background would gain ghosts. I noticed this about 12 times in the movie, but beyond that – flying through OA in 3D, the Asteroids, the solar and flame activity… all really cool. But just realize there’s a movie coming, whose 3D is fucking wow. I’ll tell ya soon.
Mark Strong is electrifying as SINESTRO for me. I’d always thought that David Niven was born to play the character, but watching Mark Strong’s portrayal… holy shit man. Wow. That is now and forever fucking SINESTRO. I would love to see whole movies with out any Human Green Lantern. Just going along with Sinestro and Abin Sur. This is full on Space Opera material – and there’s no doubt that for some, this film could remind you of a really crazy LAST STARFIGHTER, and that film definitely owns this one, but towards the end of the film, as Hal Jordan is telling Carol Ferris that his new job requires him to travel… I have to say… next film… no need for Earth. Let’s go cosmic 100% . Faces in space because they fucking WILL it. I love it. LOVE LOVE LOVE that. There’s shit going on in this film that I never thought I’d see on film. That’s just cool. Seriously.
At the end of the film though, would I like to see Martin Campbell do another GREEN LANTERN? Absolutely not, I vote for Alfonso Cuaron. Martin did an admirable job of directing the look of the Galactic part of this film, but he doesn’t give the film that breathless rush it needs. He doesn’t deliver the emotional connection with what these scenes should have felt. Part of that is a dead fish score from James Newton Howard. It never really allows the movie to soar as high as it should.
Grant Major, Francois Audouy and Ngila Dickson though… GIVE THEM THIS JOB ON THIS FRANCHISE FOREVER! Great work! Outstanding stuff.
Just realized, I’m probably making it sound like I hate the Earth stuff, that’s not quite the case. I really really like Peter Sarsgaard – he’s not quite doing Jeffrey Jones from HOWARD THE DUCK, but he kind of fondly reminds me of my favorite moments of that character in that crazy fucking movie. But I say that in part because Tim Robbins’ Senator/father of Peter Sarsgaard looks way too young to have Sarsgaard for a son. But also, Tim Robbins is literally playing his Senator character as if he’s thinking the entire time, “Holy Shit Little Tim, I’m in a real live Green Lantern movie!” – and it makes me laugh. Like when he smiles at his pathetic son, and we know that cuz his son is psychically hearing his thoughts as he gives this awesome jackass smile. Well, Tim is all kinds of fun in this, though there’s no moment as awesome as his attempt at Duck Speak with Howard.
Lastly… This goes directly to Michael Clarke Duncan and the team of magicians that brought Kilowog to life for me. THANK YOU! Hearing Kilowog in Duncan’s awesome voice spit out POOZER – I know… GEEK. Put me in cuffs, I kinda loved this one. Not as much as THOR or X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. But the moments that GREEN LANTERN nails best… to be honest, they take me a little higher than those same high moments of those two films. Now somebody cast the perfect GREEN ARROW to team up with Ryan. Seriously.
Favorite image tonight – leaving the Drafthouse – to see my nephew with 2 other kids his age – all with glowing Green Lantern rings just having a serious discussion about GREEN LANTERN. My nearly 11 year old nephew loved this film, so at the very least it has emboldened him to want more trade paperbacks of back issues to read. Which is a relief.
It also might have been when I asked everyone in the theater to point their rings and WILL this movie to be good, that our print of the film magically transformed into something I couldn’t resist. This is a good enough GREEN LANTERN film to start with. But let’s definitely take this series higher next adventure (focus on that word).