I went and saw Green Lantern last night with the guys, and I enjoyed it. It was not a top-flight movie by any stretch, though. I came into this with almost zero knowledge of the Green Lantern Corps, it’s lore, other members than Hal Jordan or John Stewart, and him only in passing, from an episode or two of the Justice League cartoon. I might’ve been the best person to see the movie as I actually needed the backstory and explanation of who’s who. Spoilers after the jump.
Hal Jordan is the movie industry’s idea of a test pilot, brash, kind of a handsome slacker-jerk stereotype who just happens to be really good at what he does. Think Maverick from Top Gun, minus the beach volleyball, and you’ve got Hal Jordan. He lives in the shadow of his dad, also a test pilot who died in front of Hal at age 11. Carol Ferris is a VP at her father’s company, which Hal works for, which is developing robot aircraft to take the place of human pilots. Hal and Carol fly against them, with Hal narrowly defeating the robot jets (by violating the rules of engagement) and nearly dying himself when he freezes up after stalling and spinning.
The primary villain of the movie is a fear-based entity called Parallax, who you see getting inadvertently freed from imprisonment by some random aliens at the start of the movie. Abin Sur, the greatest of the Green Lanterns, had defeated Parallax before, and becomes the target of the evil yellow fear being’s attack now. Abin Sur escapes, mortally wounded, and crash lands on Earth. His ring brings Hal to him as his replacement, the first time, at least in the movies, that a being as ‘primitive’ as a human has been so charged.
You also have Hector Hammond as a secondary villain, an odd scientist from Carol and Hal’s past who gets called in to autopsy Abin Sur. Some of Parallax’s yellow stuff gets him, giving him some telepathic/telekinetic powers. He is a creepy fucker even without powers, and might just be the most effective character in the movie.
You get some typical new guy cliches, a training session where Hal gets his butt kicked, a doubting superior, Hal leaving and thinking he’s not good enough, you know the drill. He rescues Carol and a bunch of other people when Hammond sends a helicopter out of control at an event, which leads to the funniest/best part of the movie. Hal visits Carol later, with the mask in place and talking in a pretty hilarious parody of Christian Bale’s ‘Batman’ voice. She sees through him, noting something about “You think I can’t tell who it is because I can’t see your cheekbones?”, that got a solid laugh.
The main problem here is the effects and the battle scenes. The first one, Abin Sur escaping Parallax was quite energetic and modestly creative. The training scenes, first against Kilowog and then Sinestro, were fairly pedestrian, but that is to be expected as Hal is not adept at using his ring. The big finale, though, was quite short and just didn’t have much impact. Some rapid-fire ring projections that weren’t just green-tinted representations of things we’d already seen would’ve been cool. We get the Hal’s willpower was strong, but fighter jets and a big fist are what I expect of his appearances in the cartoons of the 80s.
Most of the people I went with either hated it or thought it was pretty solidly mediocre as I did. I admit that there is a lot of potential left unrealized (though of course the yellow power ring on Sinestro after the credits gives you your sequel chance), but I had fun. It won’t stick with me, but Green Lantern was a fun diversion.