We took the kids to see Cars 2. They decided they’d rather see the Jim Carrey movie Mr. Popper’s Penguins. We took them to Cars 2 again on July 4th. They still didn’t want to see it. This time they wanted to see the Selena Gomez movie Monte Carlo.
Their mom took them to that and I went to the theater next door to see Green Lantern. A couple people told me it was better than the reviews, so I lowered my expectations and dove in. Lowering expectations is a time-tested method of increasing your enjoyment of movies, especially comic book movies. I recommend it.
If you like comics and comic book movies and aren’t too critical, Green Lantern is … serviceable. It definitely doesn’t transcend the genre and people who aren’t comic fans may not like it. The dramatic bits, love story, and characterizations are super simple. X-Men 2 rules there. Recent superhero movies have attracted name actors like Robert Downey, Jr., Anthony Hopkins, and Christian Bale.
The best Green Lantern coughs up is pretty boy Ryan Reynolds. Best acting props go to Peter Sarsgaard, who I always think of as Zack Braff’s underachieving, grave-robbing buddy in Garden State. Here he plays a twisted, socially awkward scientist who is seduced by the power of fear.
Conversely, hardcore Green Lantern fans may not like it. As with Thor, the producers made Green Lantern more of an approachable character. The arrogant thunder god Thor became a likeable frat daddy while Hal Jordan became a cocky weisenheimer who watched too many Top Gun reruns. One reason the latest Batman franchise works is that they let Batman be Batman – a dark, joyless obsessive who spends his days peering into the abyss.
On the other hand there’s plenty of action and thrills, which are at the top of my wish list for any superhero movie. You have to give them credit for putting the Lantern universe and the Guardians on the big screen. Green Lantern gets fan service points for bringing in Amanda Waller. She’s a minor but recurring D.C. character I always like seeing.
So yeah, if Green Lantern sounds interesting to you, go see it. Just lower your expectactions appropriately.