Ok. First off, I have to admit. I’m not the most unbiased reviewer in the world, here. Everyone who knows me knows I’m a huge comic book nerd. So it’s totally possible that someone who doesn’t know who Tomar Re is going in to this – and thus doesn’t have a minor nerdgasm when he shows up – might not like this movie as much as I did.
But in this day and age, do non-fans really need to be versed in the lore going in? Even if you’ve never read a comic book in your life, don’t you know who Green Lantern is? And even if you didn’t, didn’t the marketing campaign tell you enough?
Green Lantern is the quintessential Super Hero Movie. And by now, we should all know what we’re getting when we go to a super hero movie. Superhero movies are uncomplicated affairs. It’s Good Guy vs. Bad Guy. If its an origin story, you get the added bonus level of how the Good Guy got their powers. In this case, a dude gets an alien ring that gives him super powers, flies to the sourceworld to learn how to use it, and then he fights villains. It isn’t “Inception”. It wasn’t meant to be.
So the question then becomes, was it a GOOD superhero movie? And the answer is, resoundingly, YES. One of the best.
The special effects are great. The CGI is excellent. I loved the action scenes, I just wished there could be more of them (Green Lantern II cant get here fast enough). I loved the villains, and for a change, no one can bitch about the “Scope” of a Superhero movie. In this one, the planet Earth is clearly in danger. The outer space portions when he visits the Green Lantern homeworld are awesome. But most of all, (and once again, I have to admit, Hollywood knows better than I do) the movie works because of Ryan Reynolds.
I couldnt see him as Hal Jordan at all through the marketing campaign… not a bit. Right up to the last minute. But once I saw the movie, I realized why they went with him. He plays the “everyman” well. He’s funny when he needs to be. I thought he might be wisecracking and smirking all the way through this film, but he’s not. His Hal Jordan comes across – frequently – as a guy who feels like he’s in over his head. Like “What’s so special about me that I’ve been given this incredible power?”
And therein lies the biggest irony of the movie. Its central theme revolves around fear and overcoming fear. In the comics, Hal Jordan was chosen to wear the ring because he was fearLESS. Had no fear. Like being deaf or blind except with Fear. In the movie though, Hal Jordan is distinctly afraid. Admitedly so. Openly so, at times. And it’s really this theme that gives Green Lantern a unique identity amongst the flock of supehero films we have nowadays. None of these guys are ever afraid… Spiderman went from “Whoo-Hoo, I’ve got Super Powers” to “I need to be responsible because of my dead Uncle Ben” in a flash. The X-Men movies are too busy juggling characters to really deal with fear. Iron Man’s too cocky. Batman’s too pissed. And why would Superman or Thor or the Hulk be afraid? Of what? But in showing the hero dealing with fear, it makes him seem far more rational… more relatable. So, ironically, by fundamentally altering one of the most historic attributes of the main character, they made him even better.
In the end, it all adds up to a great movie going experience. Kick back with your popcorn and watch fiction come to life. Visit outerspace and meet strange aliens, then come back home and battle huge headed telekenetic mad scientist and soul eating aliens. Fly a couple loopdey loops on the power ring. Hal Jordan sure did.