Saturday, June 18, 2011

Got my geek on today...

Taking a break from any kind of serious thought...

Well... I just returned from the new Green Lantern movie starring Ryan Reynolds and wanted to share my thoughts.

First of all, I must admit, this was my favorite comic book hero growing up.  Most kids liked Superman, Batman, or Spiderman.  Me...  I had to be the odd kid out.  Green Lantern.  And I really have no idea what drew me to him than any of those other superheroes from the comics.  I guess I thought having a green power ring that could make me fly and make all kinds of cool gadgets sounded appealing...  *shrugs shoulders*  So I am gonna be a bit biased in my review.

So, anyways... I just got back from the movie and I wanted to give my review of it.  In a word... Entertaining.  Very entertaining.  It was everything I thought a Green Lantern movie could be.  This movie would have been bad just a decade ago.  But the advances in CGI technology was required for a movie such as this.  Don't get me wrong... it could have been much better, but it was very good when compared to comic book movie genre.  It is no Iron Man or the Dark Knight, but it was better than the recent restart of Superman, and the earlier Batman movies with Michael Keaton, etc.  The movie was built well, but  as many comic book movie types, there is only but so much time to create a storyline, develop characters, and put in some great CGI effects and fight scenes.  It's a balancing act, and Green Lantern did well enough.  Hopefully, it will do well enough in the box office to support a sequel.  But I'm not holding my breath.

For a couple of reasons. 

First, as I said before, most have heard of Spiderman, Superman, or Batman... but not too many have heard of Green Lantern.  He's not an icon by any stretch of the imagination.  So I can't imagine too many casual movie-goers making it a priority to check out this film.  It will be a movie skipped my the overall mainstream movie going audience.  It will appeal mainly to the geek/ nerd types, like myself.

Secondly, while the movie is very good and entertaining, I am not sure it will have the kind of appeal in which those that will watch it will be talking about "how great the movie was, and you've just gotta see it."  There is nothing classic about the film.  Just a good summer action superhero flick.  There will be the GL geeks (like me) who see it a couple of times, but I generally don't think there will a mass of people checking out the film.

Now to list some of the pros and cons.

The pros:
Ryan Reynolds performs well.  He does a very good job pulling off the role of Hal Jordan.  The character is developed well as far as their was time to give it justice.

Peter Sarsgaard was his typical brilliant self.  He did an incredible job as Hector Hammond.  I wish they could have given him even more screen time.  The movie developed his story fairly well, but they could/ should have done even more...  Due to forcing a larger picture into the story and having to create an entire background for Green Lantern, his character/ story was limited.

Mark Strong was the perfect choice as Sinestro.  He did an amazing job.  But his role was even more limited.  (Slight spoiler alert coming--)  The movie ended in such a way that if there is a sequel, Sinestro will play a much larger role.  And that is the central part of the Green Lantern story that this movie was trying to build up to.  If there is enough commercial success, I think a sequel will be infinitely better due to Mark Strong playing Sinestro.  Again... great casting choice to use the talents of Mark Strong for Sinestro.

The final positive that I will mention... the CGI effects to highlight Hal Jordan's power ring was done really well...  They created some wonderful effects for the ring to create.  Not a simple bat or sling shot.. but a scene where he creates a matchbox car race track with a spiral to stop a falling helicopter for one...  It was a well done scene...  Several other moments where the writers were fairly creative in finding unique ways of highlighting the power ring.  The movie didn't go over the top with the CGI.  The movie didn't try to make that the focus... they did try to create a story, and use the CGI to complement it... not make the CGI the story itself.  And that's a good thing.

The cons...

The lead actress, Blake Lively, was mediocre at best...  that may be in part due to having to focus the storyline elsewhere, and couldn't really develop her character...  but again, she filled the role of Carol Ferris (the love interest), but did nothing to create any kind of interest in the character.  The Carol Ferris character develops in the overall Green Lantern story, but the writers of the movie had to pick and choose....  They wisely chose Jordan, Hector Hammond, and to a small degree, Sinestro..  They bypassed Carol Ferris, and Blake Lively did nothing to help.

The second con, and probably the biggest disappointment, in my opinion, is the lack of Sinestro in the movie.  He played a fairly significant role, but would have loved to see his character developed even more.  He is the key antagonist to Hal Jordan in the Green Lantern story.  I am assuming the creators of the movie are hoping there is a sequel.  Sinestro will then play a key role, and with the leads being Mark Strong and Ryan Reynolds...  that film could be incredible.  Hopefully there will a second movie, and Sinestro

The final drawback to this movie is the soundtrack.  Very weak, in my opinion.  It certainly doesn't stand out, and in many ways, the soundtrack shouldn't stand out... but it should provide the empty space in which the movie can be accentuated...  If you haven't seen the movie Tron Legacy... you ought to.  This movie and the soundtrack meshed perfectly.  While it didn't get very good reviews from the mainstream critics, it was entertaining film.  My point in bringing it up is that the soundtrack really made the movie what it was.  It really enhanced the movie.  It drew you into the action sequences, it moved the 'slower' scenes, etc., it created the feeling that you were part of the movie, in a sense.  In contrast, the soundtrack to Green Lantern was completely unremarkable.  It did nothing for the movie...  If anything, it hurt the movie.  I only noticed

All in all, me being a Green Lantern fan, I would love to see a lot of people go check out the film.   It's a good enough story and is a really good introduction to who and what a Green Lantern is.  Ryan Reynolds is a fun actor to watch.  Quick witted and has really good timing...  He is perfectly cast as Hal Jordan.  Sarsgaard does an amazing job as Hector Hammond.  All in all, it's a fun, entertaining summer flick.  One that I would definitely recommend checking out.  (If only for selfish reasons, and hoping there is a sequel that has the potential of being a very, very good Green Lantern movie).

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