Well, this has been a long time coming but I finally got to see Green Lantern on the big screen. I have tried my hardest to keep away from too many spoilers and comments but generally, the scuttlebutt that I have heard is that it was going to be a bit of a turkey. I've a very high tolerance for bad films, with my baseline now being the truly snore-inducing Pirates IV, so what did I think?
It was ... OK. I'd go as far as to say 'Good' but only as a rabid Green Lantern fan, and that I think was the films problem.
One of the issues I see with the GL franchise is that it deals with a lot of 'big ideas' - immortal beings, Oa at the centre of the universe, splitting said universe into 3600 sectors, using the power of Will through rings which are charged from lanterns which gain their power from a big lantern which in turn harnasses the power of a being of immense power called Ion but also has a being called Parallax in it which is Fear but also makes the rings immune to yellow unless you have learned to overcome great fear and then.... you get the picture?
Compare that to ' Boy sees parents gunned down and grows up to be extreme vigilante' or 'last survivor of dead world comes to Earth, has cool powers, is awesome'. Note in my diatribe above we haven't even started on Hal Jordan yet?!
So there is a lot to work with and a lot of baseline understanding that makes the franchise tick. Once you understand it, fine, but until then its quite complex and daunting.
I did like the way they cherry-picked the best of the new stuff and some of the classics too. Having Hector Hammond as the first villain was very cool, especially noting his obsession with Carol Ferris. Indeed, how everyone fell in love with Carol was nice too, because she does have the power to instill great love and the nod to this, in her 'sapphire' call sign made me smile. Amanda Waller and the D.E.O., yep, nice. Having Hal, Parallax and the Sun all put together like that was a nice nod to Final Night as well. And I'm told there is a post credits scene with Sinestro becoming the man we all know and love. Excellent. Oh and one head-scratcher for the non-initiated is kept - why does Abin Sur, a space-faring Green Lantern - need a spaceship to travel around? Who knows... We also had nods to Hal's father's death ala the recent storyline and his dysfunctional relationship with his family. All good.
I can also see where they made some decisions to not complicate things. Leaving out the old yellow problem was good as it would have become a distraction. Hammond as a non-stunted form was probably a decent call too, as they did manage to get some of his transformation included. Even Parallax as a renegade Guardian was a decent call as I think it might have been too much to include the seven beings of the emotional spectrum and then the concept of the seven corps at this early stage.
Special effects were fine. Lots of CGI in this film, some better than others. I could have done without the animated costumes etc. Actually, the one thing that really did put me off was that when he has his mask on, Ryan Reynolds looks a lot like Ben Stiller and I kept seeing Green Lantern as Zohan! The story was ... exactly what you would have written for this sort of movie. In fact, thats probably the biggest downside of the film - the story is so cookie-cutter, by the numbers Hollywood blockbuster, that it makes it quite a dull viewing when you are not looking for the next Easter egg. I don't think that makes good cinema. There's just no tension!
Oh and the visual treatment of Parallax? Another galactic entity reduced to a giant fart, ala Galactus in FF2. *shakes head*
On the flipside, check out the trailer for the new Transformers film. No set-up in this one, it just looks like two hours of what Bay does Best. BOOOM! I'm actually quite looking forward to it for the spectacle. That is if I can hold back my Harry Potter excitement any longer.
Green Lantern. Its OK. Better if you like the comics, worse if you cannot parse exposition quickly.