‘Green Lantern’ Blu-ray/DVD review: Its flaws did not escape my sight

First, I should acknowledge that, even as a Marvel kid who grew up giving A’s to the FF, I’m bored now by superheroes. Why? Because they’re so bogus — so nonsensical — so preposterous — so pandering to adolescent male power fantasies. It’s a genre where writers make up powers, and therefore they’re real and compelling, when in fact they’re just show-off gimmicks for bolder comic panels and bigger CG extravaganzas in movies. And I’m just not buying it — not anymore.

I guess that’s why I loved Kick-Ass so much. It had no make-believe  powers, just real people (like Batman) who fought crime because they believed in it — and adored its elan via kick-ass costumes.

With all this in mind, I wasn’t hopeful that Green Lantern would turn DC Comics’ long-running superguy into a big-screen franchise. And now I can see that it won’t.

Sure, it did $116 million at the box office domestically, but reviews were downbeat, and even on a spiffy new Blu-ray, just issued by Warner Bros., the  movie looks thin. It veers awkwardly between the real-world life of hot-shot pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) and his sudden superpowerdom as part of the intergalactic (for once that term applies) Green Lantern Corps. So it’s regular Earth guy vs. deep space sci-fi, and the two just don’t mix.

Besides, the “story” is really about finding ways to brandish gimmicky CG visuals to show off how Green Lantern and his magical ring can make anything happen that he imagines — kind of like he’s the writer of  this stuff.

Reynolds is likeably vulnerable as the sudden hero, and Blake Lively plays it persuasively straight as his lady love, while Tim Burton is wryly imposing as the big businessman he’d normally assail for his personal politics. But the plot is just one excuse after another to be flash spiffy effects on the screen, with scant concern for characters or narrative. (Love the green motif, though. GL’s production design can be grand.)

Fantasy needs more grounding than that — like the exquisite details and scope of  The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Green Lantern asks us to enter its fantasy universe without making it ever feel crazily credible. It’s just outlandish and flashy. I guess flash is enough for some people, but not for me.

Besides, I fondly recall the comic book’s best days, when Neal Adams and Dennis O’Neal made the character “relevant” and real in the early ’70s. This movie is in no way relevant or real. Oh, for the good old days.

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2 Responses to “‘Green Lantern’ Blu-ray/DVD review: Its flaws did not escape my sight”

  1. CMrok93 Says:

    The mythology is nonsensical and the plot takes forever to get going. But once it does, the movie takes advantage of a strong cast and a director who knows what he’s doing. Good review.

  2. Perry Block (@PerryBlock) Says:

    Bruce,
    I never did get around to seeing the Green Lantern movie, but I can understand your comments very well having been a comic book fan as a child and a lover of superheroes ever since.

    In case you’re interested, here’s my take on the whole superhero genre, centered somewhat around GL and under the kind of misleading title “What Do You Give the Superhero Who Has Everything?” http://bit.ly/u6c0AI

    For what it’s worth. Looking forward to reading your stuff.

    Thanks!

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