Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Green Lantern Movie

As my comic book buddies well know (but are still basically aghast at), I'm not that much of a superhero fan (though I have really enjoyed Cullen Bunn's and now Josh Fialkov's runs on DC's Superman/Batman this year; I picked those up out of faith in the writers and was rewarded well for my trust), but as I mentioned on my Audioboo today, I've always had a sneaking fondness for Green Lantern and the Corps because they always reminded me a little bit of E.E. "Doc" Smith's superfun Lensman series of pulp space opera. I base this on no knowledge except what I've gleaned by osmosis in that pop culture way that I've talked about before, that way that makes it difficult to see Citizen Kane without already knowing what Rosebud is, etc., and also from a childhood fondness for that cheesy old cartoon, The Superfriends.

In addition, I had a powerful need to tear myself away from my computer since I kept straying from my tasks at hand to peek at a certain Amazon sales ranking of mine -- and, yes, had seen a preview for the Green Lantern film when I took my mom to see Super 8, a film she liked a lot more than I did (though we agreed the children's performances were freaking amazing -- we also agreed that the lens flare was unforgivably overdone and the tearing metal/explosion sound effects were hideous and potentially migraine-inducing. No excuse for that. NONE!). So I took myself with zero expectations to see the Green Lantern film this afternoon.

And darned if I didn't enjoy myself a whole lot.

This film took itself just seriously enough to earn and hold my willing suspension of disbelief even through what was a pretty hokey storyline. The CGI was pretty but not showy. The actors were not great but not terrible. Directors, writers, actors, effects crew, they were all on the same page and none of them stood out either in good ways or bad (though yes, Ryan Reynolds filled out his CGI skin very appealingly, and I usually don't like the guy). Which means that, boy bod in green aside, I didn't notice anything except the smile on my face. Which is an achievement right there.

There were so many places this film could have gone wrong, but it never did. It could have overdramatized the oath scene. Nope. It could have wrung every last tearjerking potential out of the relationship with Hal's nephew. It didn't (in fact, the nephew disappeared once Hal became Green Lantern. I was fully ready to roll my eyes at how somehow the big film climax involved an over the top direct jeopardizing of the girl and the nephew/brother/family but it didn't. Bravo!). It could have gone for cheap comic relief with some ill-timed pratfalls or running jokes (Marvel Studios, I'm looking at you. How many times did you hit Thor with a truck? Was it even amusing the first time? Um. Not really). It didn't. And while recent visits to the multiplex led me to take a prophylactic Tylenol before entering the auditorium, I didn't need it: no screechy metal effects, no aural assault of any kind, not even when stuff blew up or crashed. MEGA BRAVO!

Instead I got a perfectly good iteration of the good old Hero's Journey, replete with lots of pretty space and planet and alien shots and appearances of characters that I know from my friend Adam Christopher's tweets are obscure fan favorites (there is an insect alien Green Lantern? Um. I want to dig up the comics about THAT guy real, real soon).

And that was the ultimate and surprising effect of this film. I wanted to read some Green Lantern comics. I didn't have any Green Lantern comics but I knew many ways to acquire some. And in Adam I had the perfect brain to pick about where to start.

No evil shall escape my sight.

1 comment:

  1. Our mutual friend Patrick knows a lot about GL, too.

    I enjoyed the movie, too.


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