2011, Movies

Green Lantern (2011, Martin Campbell)

Some movies you know are going to be bad from the moment they start, and this is one of them.

I don’t know what exactly filmmakers are thinking when they think opening narration is the best way to handle mythology but, more often than not, it’s not. And the opening narration of this film is a textbook case as to why it usually doesn’t work: a whole bunch of stuff is dumped on the audience and we have very little to connect to. I have seen this work but it doesn’t here. (As much as it’s annoying to have characters explain things, I think it’s much better than narration.)

There are a lot of things wrong with this movie, but here is a selection:

  • The tone shifts wildly as Reynolds believes he is in an action comedy and the rest of the cast seem to feel differently.
  • Why does (nearly) everyone speak English?
  • The mythology is all kinds of dumb. I know that is not the fault of the movie but you think they could have updated the source material so that it wasn’t so, um, ’40s.
  • Until the climax, the scenes in space and the scenes on earth feel completely unrelated to each other, as if they were occurring in different movies. I get how they are connected to each other in terms of plot, but they feel completely disconnected in terms of physical space and set design and the like. (Say what you will about the Thor films but they manage to avoid this problem.)
  • For an archenemy Hector Hammond sure doesn’t get a lot of screen time. That’s another way of saying the film tries to do too much.
  • It’s very unclear in the early test pilot scene as to who is with who because civilians are wearing fatigues and so forth. And this is the best example I can think of from the film in terms of the lack of a attention to detail for basic things.

It’s a bit of a mess and it’s easy to see why it wasn’t the beginning of a franchise. Hilariously, they thought it would be and there is a post-credits moment that tries to get us ready for the sequel. Every time a movie does that and there isn’t a sequel it is both a little sad and quite amusing.


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