Thursday, 7 July 2011

REVIEW: The Green Lantern

The most egregious waste of Tim Robbins. Man I miss when that guy was awesome.

There have been two Superhero films whose positive receptions have somewhat baffled me. I think both Iron Man and this year's Thor were so hacky and uninspired, so lacking in anything to say or even a perspective on the material. Just go through the motions fan-service projects, with the most basic and paper thin approach to characterization. This was kind of washed over in Iron Man by the casting of Robert Downey Jr, a man with enough charisma and talent to sell pretty much anything so I enjoyed that movie in spite of itself, but Thor...ergh, it just felt so devoid of any imagination, going through all the same superhero things in all the same superhero ways. It felt tired, and I felt tired watching it. But Green Lantern. Look, it's mostly I piece of shit. But at least it didn't feel quite so out of the factory pile as every marvel produced movie I've seen recently. What made it distinctive also made it terrible, but at least it was distinctive. And even if its a worse movie then Thor, which it is, I'd much rather watch this again in all its hilarious inadequacy then watch that meticulously OK piece of nothing.

But first thing's first. The Green Lantern is kind of a ridiculous Superhero. Conceptually I think its cool, and its good that it has a more complex mythology then 'dude puts on a costume and fights crime' but when you see an acid green, speed racer circuit created out of thin air by Ryan Reynolds in a CGI skin-tight suit, well it was kind of laughable really. The film didn't do a good job of showing the powers of The Green Lantern without making it feel juvenile and as a consequence it's hard to take the film's serious action sequences seriously because well, for the lack of better elocution, it just looked so stupid. Which is a shame, because I liked the essence of what it was trying to do. I was just a bad iteration of it. Ryan Reynolds was inevitably going to be a superhero at some point, and on paper this seemed like a perfect fit, douchey, smug asshole forced into responsibility? Every role Reynolds has ever played. And he tries his hardest to make this work, probably too hard almost. Blake Lively is chasm of soullessness, a person with so little personality its almost magnetic. Watching the depths of woodenness she sinks to is probably the most entertaining thing about The Green Lantern. Well except for Peter Saarsgard, Who I came out of this feeling incredibly sorry for. Not only did he get turned into the elephant man, but he also gave a weird, enjoyable performance that belongs in a much better film. His character here is like a lame Green Goblin redo, but he legitimately does something with it and I enjoyed the moments Saarsgard was on screen.

Of course he was a secondary villain to a giant, planet sized space monster that was clearly a fan of Lost's smoke monster, which is just a stupid fucking decision. Colossus type villains always suck because what's impressive about them is how big they are and that's it. Parallax is just a placeholder, something for Ryan Reynolds to fight at the end and not get in the way in the mean time and that blows. The Green Lantern is overblown, painfully cheesy, inconsistent and frankly awful. But it went for something, and the fact that it was capable of being this much of a mess makes it more valuable then the safe-playing mediocrity of marvel movies, because there's an alternate reality where everything it got wrong went right and its just the most awesome movie ever, it's just not this one.

Rating: 4/10

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