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FILM REVIEW: Green Lantern

A column article, Shot For Shot by: The Film Squad
This should need no introduction, right? Raf, Justin and Danny got together to slap the Green Lantern film silly with their hard-hitting criticism.



Danny Djeljosevic: So, Green Lantern. How excited were you guys for this movie? I was looking forward to it, not only because it's a spacey superhero sci-fi flick, but because it was DC's first major foray into films. It's their Iron Man, at least in attempt.

Justin Carmona: It's DC's first big budget movie outside Superman or Batman. I was gushing!

Rafael Gaitan: I'll say I had about a regular amount of anticipation. The character has never really "clicked" for me. I think I'm just mostly adverse to most space-themed comics. But I was more excited when they decided not to go with the Jack Black comedy version, where he would've been a schlub schlubbing it up, but with a sweet piece of jewelry.

Danny: I like Green Lantern, but I don't consider it a "space-themed" comic. When I was reading it as a kid, it was Kyle Rayner, so it was closer to
Amazing Spider-Man
than it was Silver Surfer? It's a space comic in the same way that Superman is a space comic, I think. Sometimes he goes to space, other times he's punching things in Metropolis.

Justin: I really enjoyed the Kyle Rayner era, but it was Rebirth that really won me over. What I love about Green Lantern is that you can do the earth bound heroics or the space themed stuff. Kinda like what makes Thor so great too. You have earth and you have Asgard.

Danny: Yeah, the movie is indicative of that, too. I was looking forward to the sci-fi creatures more than I was Hal Jordan romancing Carol Ferris.

Rafael: I was much more enticed by the trailer when they showed me Oa and the Lantern Corps, but as much as I find Blake Lively attractive, I wanted to see more of that.



Justin: Did you guys see it in 3-D?

Rafael: We only saw it in merciful 2-D. I wear glasses, so 3-D is a bane on my existence, unless absolutely necessary.

Danny: Thankfully not, so the colors were pretty vibrant. How was the 3-D? Besides tinged in gray.

Justin: Yeah, I did. I don't think it took away from the colors at all. It was no Avatar, but with that said it was no Clash of the Titans either. It was good. Not great in 3-D, but good.

Danny: Last 3-D movie I saw was Pirates, and I don't even remember it being IN 3-D. It was that forgettable.

Justin: Yeah, I think overall 3-D has run it's course. I am so glad X-Men: First Class did not follow the trend. But I digress...

Rafael: I haven't seen one since Avatar -- I even returned my ticket and bought a regular one when I accidentally bought one for Thor. Yes, I am proud of it.

Danny:
I think the 3-D trend was everybody trying to catch up to Avatar even though the films didn't warrant it. But 3-D post-conversion keeps all my friends in San Diego employed, so good for them.



Justin: Ryan Reynolds. You either love him or hate him. What did you guys think? Did he pull it off? I don't mind him. I know a lot of folks do, but I think it was a good casting choice. They just didn't give him much to work with.

Danny: I love Ryan Reynolds. I think he's really funny and charismatic. I wish he had more to work with here. I'm no fan of Hal Jordan, so casting someone like Reynolds in the role was the best way to make me interested in him.

Justin: You really are a diehard Rayner fan.

strong>Danny: Rayner's story just feels more compelling to me -- he accidentally got a ring. Hal was chosen because he's the best dude on the planet. Good for Earth, bad for storytelling, I guess. Kyle's an artist! It's clever. But Reynolds' Hal Jordan is someone I'd actually want to hang out with.

Rafael: Rayner is my favorite Sector 2814 Lantern. Overall, it's Kilowog. I usually like Ryan Reynolds, but I don't know that it wasn't him at fault. The Hal Jordan I'm familiar with is a bit fun, but ultimately a straight arrow. Reynolds played him like Tom Fucking Cruise in Top Gun, which I don't envision fitting the character.

Justin: And I think Peter Saarsgard made a really good Hector Hammond. If only the script gave him a little meatier of a role.

Justin: You don't think Cruise as a fighter pilot in Top Gun has anything in common with test pilot Hal Jordan? Not that I think Reynolds played him like Cruise, but the similarity is there.


Danny: Hal Jordan is supposed to be a hotshot, as far as I understand him.

Rafael: To be fair, I only know Hal Jordan from Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier. I've read one issue of Rebirth, and I thought it was pretty good

Justin: I take it I'm the only one here to reads Green Lantern?

Danny: I read it from time to time. I haven't kept track for a few months.

Rafael: Sporadically, at best, but it's never been on my pull list.

Justin: What about the costume? At first I hated it when I saw the production stills, but seeing it in action made a helluva difference.

Danny: The costume had the same effect on me as nearly every dreaded superhero costume does. It doesn't look very good in promotional material, but once it's on screen it's fine. I'm sure I'd feel the same way about Wonder Woman's costume if that show made it to air.

Rafael: I was concerned briefly, but I think it makes perfect sense. If he's supposed to be surging with power, why wouldn't his costume be a direct reflection of that? If it can make his mask appear/disappear.

Justin: I never got how in the comics the ring fabricated the costume when it looked like, well...fabric. But that fact that the costume was made of green light was dead on.

Danny: Yeah, that it's actual clothing is a leftover goofy DC Silver Age-isms. They were smart to change that.



Justin: The movie looked great, everything in the Green Lantern mythos was there, but the script and directing fell flat.

Danny: The script takes a ton of shortcuts so none of the major stuff feels all that effective. I think Hector Hammond is a complete failure for example.

Justin: It's never a good sign when you get four or five writers credited on a movie script. First Class being the exception.

Rafael: As one review pointed out, did you know he and Hal were supposed to be pals?

Danny: Not until halfway through the movie.

Rafael: Like, the movie treats him as some dude that's just weird. He has next to no interaction with our boy Hal -- he just kinda sneers at his dad a lot.

Danny: All we learn about Hammond is that he's a bit of a dweeb and nobody likes him. And then he becomes a bad guy. I just feel sorry for him.

Justin: Yeah, it was disappointing. Nothing in the film made me care about the characters.

Rafael: It's so brief, so sudden, it feels like they needed two villains for the sake of having two.

Justin: Right before Parallax killed Hammond he told him, "You failed me." Um... at what point in the movie did these two have a plan? Did I miss something?

Danny: They needed to make Parallax an earthbound threat, so having Hector Hammond possessed seemed like the best idea. And Hammond as a parallel to Jordan is pretty clever, too



Justin: I think every character in this film was way too nonchalant about seeing aliens for the first time in their lives.

Danny: Yeah, nobody's surprised. It's like they live in the regular DCU!

Justin: Jordan just goes up to this dying purple alien, Abin Sur and carries him away from his crashed ship.

Rafael: They probably just finished watching an episode of Challenge of the Superfriends MAN! This movie must think I'm a joke. How shitty and sudden was that? They could have at least, at least, Evil Deaded it instead of just having Hal walk to his car and "WHOA I'M IN A GREEN BUBBLE"

Justin: And when Hal went to OA and meets Tomar-Re. It's like no big deal. "Oh, you look like a fish."

Rafael: Fellow CB writer Matty Z. Rios pointed out how that scene felt like it was the cinematic tutorial in front of a video game.

Danny: Nobody thought to have Ryan Reynolds react to all the tennis balls on sticks that will be CG'd in later:

"Hi, this is what Green Lanterns are."

"I quit and I'm going back to Earth. This is act two of the film."

He meets one mean Green Lantern and he runs home? What a wuss.

Justin: I would have like to see him stay on Oa longer. Learn more about what it really means to be a Lantern. I wanted to see the whole Corps in action. I didn't buy it that this new recruit defeated Parallax at the end all by himself.

Rafael: Absolutely -- it would be great to see more of that, but because it's not Earthy, why should anyone care?

Danny: This movie was like Star Wars if somebody thought "Who cares about space? Set it on Earth."

Rafael: The second the "toughest in the Corps" go up against Parallax -- BOOM, roasted.

Danny: The GLs are about as useful in this movie as they are in the comics, or as Jedi were in Star Wars movies.

Justin: If they had treated this film like they did in the Green Lantern: First Flight animated movie, it would have been a grand success.

Danny: First Flight is a better GL film than the GL film.

Rafael: We were actually talking about that. That's what a Green Lantern movie needed to be -- Lanterns being Lanterns.

Danny: The third act should have been Hal Jordan leaving the Corps to fight Parallax on Earth while the Guardians were all "Maybe we should think about this a spell."

Rafael: Though I will say, a Guardian as Parallax does make a ton of sense.



Justin: I wanted Sinestro to have more screen time. There was little to no characterization for him.

Danny: Mark Strong was fantastic, though. Even though we didn't get to see much of him, the moment he appeared I thought he was the most compelling guy.

Rafael: Seriously, it speaks to Mark Strong that he did so much with so little.

Rafael: Sinestro was such a bastard you couldn't help but love him, and the tag at the end just seems so sudden. There's zero indication he wants anything more than to be a Green Lantern.

Justin: Did you guys stay after the first set a credits to see what happened to Sinestro? I didn't buy that at all.

Danny: Mah, I couldn't be arsed. I figured I'd give myself a reason to see it again in the future, maybe on DVD or something.

Rafael: Egg zachary. A few friends told us about it after we left. I was just eager to get home (because we saw it mad late).

Justin: It makes it seem like the yellow ring corrupted him, when actually he always wanted to keep the universe safe and peaceful even if it meant doing so through fear.

Danny: We'll see Sinestro in the probable sequel, and get our fill of Mark Strong. It would have been great to see Sinestro get slowly corrupted.



Rafael: It's almost as if Campbell didn't give a shit about the characters! He was probably just intent on giving the studios as much Ryan Reynolds as they wanted. Because a Green Lantern movie can't be about anything more than Green Lantern - that would give it depth. And $200 million budgets don't want depth.

Danny: Pretty much. The more expensive something is, the less good it can be. And I'm sure they were saving all the good bits for the sequel, which is a terrible way to make a film.

Justin: I don't think we'll see a sequel. Most likely a reboot later on. There is no way the studio is making it's money back.

Rafael: Yeah it cost $200 million and made $52.2 or so.

Danny: These movies are the definition of hubris -- making something that costs $200 million under the assumption that they'll let you do another one.

Justin: I think I read somewhere that WB had already greenlit a sequel like 6 months before this one came out. I hope they didn't put that in writing for their sake.

Rafael: Well, considering the track record of comic book films, it seemed like a perfectly logical leap. You were onto something saying this was DC's attempt at Iron Man, Danny.

Danny: Yeah, this is the first DC Comics movie like how Iron Man was the first Marvel Comics movie. Iron Man was the tits, and a huge hit, so they were off on the right foot. Green Lantern, not so much.

Justin: It could have been up there with Iron Man, but it was not thrilling at all. I wanted danger, excitement, peril! I got none of that. It was just flat and very one-note. Very paint-by-numbers kind of filmmaking.

Rafael: It was a by-the-book origin story that felt truncated, even. I genuinely did not feel any motivation to care about Hal Jordan.

Danny: I think that's Martin Campbell's thing, studio hackery.

Rafael: That choice always did bug me. He's not a name people usually associate with inventive filmmaking, but he has a flair for the action. He probably got hired because he'd do what they said. He has zero connection to the material.

Danny: He's technically sound, but he doesn't go beyond that. He's got the slickness that a James Bond flim needs, but why is he the guy to jumpstart your superhero franchise? Considering his big achievements are "made James Bond an over-the-top '90s film franchise" and "made James Bond kind of like Jason Bourne."



Justin: And the editing was a bit choppy, too. I did like the sound and visuals, though.

Danny: The special effects are fantastic. I don't know how a green energy gun shoots fire, but the little action we get and the toyetic alien creatures were just crackerjack.

Rafael: Yeah, very arresting. I wanted more of Oa! I wanted to see more Lanterns combining their rings, to see more suits that glowed. WHERE WAS CH'P?!

Justin: I know! I wanted to see Ch'P too! And Boodikka!

Danny: I was looking for Mogo but I guess he doesn't socialize.

Justin: Nah, Mogo should been in the sequel. That would rock.

Danny: I think Mogo's actually in the Green Lantern: Baywatch Emerald Knights animated feature.

Justin: You guys ever play with those little black discs that they sell on July 4th. The ones where you light them and they grow into a black ashy snake?

Rafael: Yeah, when I was younger I used to love them, because they were the only fireworks I was allowed.

Justin: That's what Parallax's tentacles looked like.

Danny: The design in the film reminded me of the Galactus design from Fantastic Four: The Silver Surfer Rises Also -- big, cloudy. I skipped the Parallax portions of Johns' GL comics, so I thought the film's design was a'ight I guess in the comics he's a glowing yellow centipede or something?

Rafael: I remember seeing him as a bug-like creature. I recall him upright, though. But I read "Emerald Twilight" back in '95, and never since.

Justin: He looks like an insect. Nothing like we saw in the film.

Danny: Well, Parallax being a big yellow bug is a recent development. Before, that was just Hal Jordan's new name. RETCON

Justin: That was a good retcon!

Rafael: More like a good rectum -- I think it gave more value to the story if Hal is just driven mad.

Rafael: When you explain it away as "Oh its cool, he was just possessed," it's a complete cop-out. And I know this is comics we're talking about, which is what made it more offensive.

Justin: You can't say that unless you've read Rebirth, dude. It was not a cop-out. It actually made sense.

Danny: I prefer just trying to make things work instead of retconning them. Hal having a moment of weakness with the most powerful weapon in the universe is more interesting to me than him literally having a bug up his ass.

Justin: YOU HAVE A BUG UP YOUR -- ah... sorry, got carried away.

Danny: Parallax had to go somewhere, man.

Rafael: Yo man, but at least we got to see Parallax wreck shit. It would have been worse if he was a cloud.

Danny: Yeah, he got to kill a bunch of bystanders. That was dope.

Justin: Yeah, I love that too. People, everyday citizens, actually died! Whoo! I hate it in movie or comics that no one dies from big battle that take place in the heart of a city.

Rafael: You have to love a good sense of endangerment. People do die when atrocities happen. At least the movie was smart enough in that regard -- gives consequence. Normally, everyone gets out just in time.

Danny: Especially the dog.



THE BIG SCORE

Justin:
Shall we rate it now? What say you guys?


Danny:

It is not dope. It is whack.

Justin:

I didn't love it. I didn't hate it.

Rafael:

I was not a fan.

Justin: Boo!

Danny: Wow. A rare low score, from Professor "Five Bullets" Gaitan.

Rafael: I felt like the movie could have honest-to-Grodd tried. And this is a movie in which a helicopter gets put on a Hot Wheels track. I SHOULD LOVE IT.

Danny: I'm not gonna lie, I was drunk when I watched it. It may have been prettier than I thought. I may have also tried to kiss it.

Rafael: I was drunk too, but that usually adds to my enjoyment. I'm just upset because I tried to feel up the film reel, only to find out its sister was watching. Then I found out it wasn't a reel -- it was a hard drive.

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