Saturday, June 18, 2011


Well, there's a third of a great movie here--the bits dealing with the Green Lantern mythos, which are given appropriately mythic and epic feelings. How successful these bits work for you depends on your tolerance for excessive CGI (which really, y'all might as well admit that battle was lost long ago) Those bits work without question, much like how Thor did a great job of selling Asgard as this amazing place.

There's also a cool wrinkle they added that almost--almost--makes Parallax work. Unfortunately, the choice to portray Parallax as an evil cloud doesn't work very well. I would have hoped after the second Fantastic Four movie that people would twig on the idea that evil clouds make rather silly arch-enemies, but maybe next movie.

The problem is the other two thirds--the Hal bits are Top Gun with the names changed (seriously, they barely bothered to change some of those beats) and the rest is Campbell-cum-Star Wars Hero's Journey boilerplate, with a side helping of daddy issues that are supposed to give our hero and villain some gravitas, but it fails to.

However, I have often said that typically I like everything about Green Lantern apart from Hal Jordan, so really, the makers of this film have managed to transfer the experience of reading the comic with frightening accuracy, when you get down to it.


Diana Kingston-Gabai said...

This makes for an interesting contrast with the rather enjoyable Emerald Knights feature that came out a few weeks ago: it's a collection of short stories featuring all sorts of Green Lanterns, but not Hal Jordan. He's there (and voiced by Nathan Fillion, no less!), but he's neither the focalizer nor the subject of any tale.

And I think that's really the problem with the GL franchise: you have this huge Corps and an expansive mythos and so many narrative possibilities, but whenever it's filtered through Hal Jordan it just collapses into repetition and cliche, the same old superhero pattern we've seen a hundred times.

Kazekage said...

I need to see that--I wonder if it's on Netflix instant. :) I've heard some good things about it and if all else about it fails, Peggy Olson is Arisia. :)I could make Mad Men jokes the whole way through.

I think the problem is that Hal is just not that interesting a character when you get down to it, artificial daddy issues or not. I think there's a story to be told in the notion that impulsive, selfish, devil-may-care Hal Jordan gets recruited into an organisation that forces him to change his way of thinking and widen his reality and start caring about other people, but no one really seems interested in doing that story, alas.

Diana Kingston-Gabai said...

I think it goes to the central paradox of Hal-as-GL: if the rings choose their hosts, that means he's the right person for the job exactly as he is (and that's consistent with the default Silver Age DC hero: they're the Chosen Ones not because of what they do but because of who they are).

The problem with most incarnations of Hal Jordan is that writers try to give him flaws so he doesn't come off as perfect, but those flaws always come into play after he gains the power of the Lantern. He's never depicted as having to work for the ring and everything it represents.

Kazekage said...

I don't know, I think the problem is really that Hal is Just Not That Interesting, Really, especially when set beside the other Earth Green Lanterns. All the others have some sort of defining character trait or character shading of some sort that keeps them from being walking blanks, but Hal?

Hal, despite all the things they've tried to stick on him, they never last because the urge is always there for the writers to have their cake and eat it too, Hal can be a man who rises about his foibles, or he can be The Most Awesome Dude ever, but being able to be both plausibly is not really within the sphere of talent of most folks working in comics today.