Green Lantern was a good movie. Despite what the critics say, it was a fun movie with steady performances. It is far from the best movie ever made or the best superhero movie…or even the best movie consisting of approximately 60% CGI. In fact, the movie reeks of having been an idea that Warner Bros. had to put out because there were no other DC movies slated to come out during Marvel’s big summer. When they realized that they were up against fine quality productions, they delayed the release of Green Lantern to increase the effects budget. But despite this, the movie was enjoyable. I saw the light of willpower.
If that doesn’t sound like an endorsement for the film, I don’t know what to tell you. I thought it was a good movie, but my (usual) caveat is that the people who made the film obviously thought that the audience was dumb. There is a rich mythology behind the whole Green Lantern line of comics – a mythology that grows more rich every year that Geoff Johns writes the books. The fact that the studio super streamlined the ideas and didn’t even bring Johns to do more than merely consultant is insulting. Can audiences not handle the fact that Parallax is an entity representing an abstraction? Can they not understand the idea of a Corps of space cops who work together rather than a singular hero who must go through Joseph Campbell’s outlined steps? Did the story even have to be focused on Earth? They’re space cops in what essentially is a space opera!
But the movie did some smart things. My favorite part of the movie was the whole lampshade hung on the secret identity thing. Hal Jordan’s two best friends figured him out in a second. In the case of Carol Ferris, it was pointed out how poorly a domino mask could hide someone’s features beyond his cheekbones. The other smart thing is that the ring communicated directly with Jordan, not via voice or on-screen subtitles. The information was fed directly to Jordan’s brain without need of much off-putting sillines.
You want to know the best part of the movie? It was fun. It wasn’t self-indulgent like other comic book movies tend to be these days. This movie wasn’t pretentious like Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, nor was it overly contemplative like Superman Returns. (Note: I liked Superman Returns.) Marvel’s latest films, and by that I mean X-Men: First Class and Thor, were good but gave me the impression that they’re trying too hard. Some might come away saying that Green Lantern didn’t quite try hard enough, but I think it was where it needed to be. This is especially true considering this is the first live-action Green Lantern ever made. The other films named all had previous material upon which to build.
Especially since Legends of the Superheroes and Justice League of America were more parody than anything else…
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I’m compelled to address the low opening weekend numbers for both Green Lantern and X-Men: First Class. My theory? Superhero fatigue. We’ve been slammed lately with superhero and superhero-esque movies lately. The Green Hornet, Dylan Dog, Thor, X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, Hanna, Sucker Punch, I am Number Four, Super, and Priest have all just come out, and the year is only half over! That’s approximately two per month – and literally two in the last month with First Class and Green Lantern. People like superheroes, but there can be too much of a good thing.
If Captain America doesn’t get the numbers Marvel wants next month, remember superhero fatigue. And don’t forget to say I was right.