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“If in the first act you have a dude named Sinestro, then in the following one he should do something sinister.” – Anton Chekhov.

§ June 21st, 2011 § Filed under green lantern, movie reviews § 19 Comments

Okay, I may be paraphrasing the quote slightly, but the title of this post points at what I think was the main problem with this film, and perhaps why it’s not performing quite up to some folks’ expectations…though a $53 million dollar weekend (or $70 million, including the international take) seems okay to me, and writing it off a flop already, as everyone seems anxious to do, seems to be jumping the gun just a little. Let’s see how it does over the week or so…and more importantly, how it continues to do internationally, since that seems to be saving a lot of films’ bacons lately. (‘Course, if it takes in, like, $5 million next weekend, you may be on to something.)

Anyway, enough money talk…was the film any good?

Well…sorta. I liked a lot of it, some of it was…unpleasant, and essentially undermining the whole venture was a fatal conceptual flaw to the film that may have proven to be its undoing. It was enjoyable if shallow, with a thin plot that barely held the film together, and when the end comes you can’t help but think “wait…that was it?”

Lemme get into some SPOILERS after this pic of Ryan Reynolds looking befuddled…SPOILERS end after the Sinestro image farther down the post:

  • The main problem with the film is this: nobody cares about the primary menace, a big glowing cloud of evil (which has a face, at least, unlike a certain other film‘s big cloud of evil) that’s tied into the whole Green Lantern/Guardians mythology, and all that talk about “the yellow color of evil” and “the green of will” and blah blah blah no one gives a shit.

    They were partway on the right track, with Hal Jordan as the new fish-out-of-water recruit, which allows us to learn along with Hal about the Green Lantern Corps. But seriously…you’ve got Sinestro right there. A plot involving the corruption of power and fall into evil of Sinestro, with only Hal to stop him, would be a conflict of a more personal and relatable nature than the impending menace of the Giant Special Effect.

    Okay, that’s essentially the story from the direct-to-DVD animated film Green Lantern: First Flight, and I know I’ve complained about the trope of having the superhero’s main villain be a bigger, badder version of himself…but it’s a missed opportunity to have such a well-cast and performed Sinestro (played by Mark Strong) and not have him as your primary antagonist. (We are given a brief teaser in an after-movie/mid-credits bonus scene, where Sinestro dons the yellow ring…enticing, and further reminder that I would have rather watched that story than the one we got.)

    I realize this is a very fanboyish thing to do, to complain that they should have done this story instead of that story, but this seems like such an obvious thing I really wonder why they made this decision. With any luck, maybe the film will make just enough to get us the sequel they so obviously set up for.

  • There is a lot to like, despite my misgivings about the, well, entire structure of the film. I thought the film was well-cast…I already mentioned Strong as Sinestro, and Ryan Reynolds made a pretty good Hal Jordan. Geoffrey Rush, as the voice of Tomar-Re, made that character far more entertaining than I expected him to be. Taika Waititi as Hal’s pal Tom gave us some nice humorous counterpoint to the whole Green Lantern business.
  • Speaking of Tom, I did appreciate that bit of business when Hal demonstrates the ring to him and Tom shouts “you’re a superhero!” I like that the concept of superheroes is a known one in this film’s world (not that I think there are other superheroes there, just that it exists as a pop culture thing, as in the real world), instead of the title character being the very first time the very idea of a “superhero” was ever conceived.
  • While I liked Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond, who gave the character some creepily-humorous personality, I found myself put off by the grotesque screeching that the character did too often. That was just…kinda gross, really. But the bits with Hammond using his newfound telepathic powers to further alienate himself by discovering, say, what his father really thought of him, were nicely done. And by the time they showed him in the wheelchair, near the climax of the film, I really thought, just for a second, they were going to give us the immobilized super-giant-head Hector Hammond from the comics. Ah, well.
  • Blake Lively made a good Carol Ferris, Hal’s boss and former girlfriend, with her best bit being her reaction to Green Lantern showing up on her balcony and not being fooled for long by Hal’s get-up. In fact, that whole scene was probably one of the best in the film, undercutting the whole “secret identity” cliché in amusing fashion.
  • Come to think of it, the best bits of the film were the character interactions, far more than the “making things with light” special-effect showcases. Hal talking to his nephew, Hal remembering his father’s last flight, Tom giving Hal crap about being responsible, Hector realizing his failures, Hal meeting with – and being trained by – the other Green Lanterns, the frisson between Sinestro and this upstart human Lantern who took the place of his friend Abin Sur…heck, even Hal meeting Abin Sur, as brief as it was, carried more weight than all that other Parallax business.

    And seeing Hal argue with the Guardians, even briefly…that, almost more than anything else, felt like seeing the comic directly translated to the screen.

  • I’m still kind of weirded out that I just saw a major Hollywood movie that featured Kilowog as a character. This is not the future I was expecting.
  • Should probably note something about the CGI costumes, since such a big deal was made out them. Thought they worked out okay…a little busy, but not distractingly so, and they did successfully give the impression of the amount of power the Green Lanterns were wielding. However, Hal’s mask never seemed not awkward, for some reason.

    And the actual power ring stuff itself…I am very glad they used the rings power to make things and not just to shoot green lasers, even if the Hot Wheels-esque car track in the helicopter rescue scene was just a tad over the top (even if nicely foreshadowed by the toy car track sequence in the nephew’s bedroom). Happy to see big green ring-constructed fists punching things. No big green catcher’s mitts, but maybe next time.

  • Favorite moment of the evening…after the extra mid-credits scene with Sinestro, I overheard someone else in the theater exclaiming “I knew that he wasn’t any good!” A guy with the name “Sinestro” turned out to be bad…who knew?

    Not quite up there with the time when, after Fellowship of the Ring was over, hearing someone in the theater say in disbelief “wait…there’s gonna be another movie?” but it’s close.


In conclusion, I thought it was a brave choice to kill off Hal Jordan and bring in the power team of Medphyll and Ch’p to take over the film franchise.

But seriously, while there was a lot to like in the film, it seemed like a huge missed opportunity to go with the plot they did. I liked the character stuff far more than the special effects hoohar, and if they had built the story’s primary conflict around the characters (like, oh, say, Hal versus Sinestro), we might have had a better film. And there still would have been room for the special effects, too, I’m sure.

Just a brief post today…

§ June 12th, 2011 § Filed under green lantern, sir-links-a-lot § 2 Comments

…linking to the reaction of noted biologist and skeptic PZ Myers to Alan Moore speaking about magic. Thought some of you out there might find that interesting.

Speaking of Moore, a couple of his stories were adapted in the recently-released Green Lantern: Emerald Knights animated moviewhich I just watched last night. “Mogo Doesn’t Socialize” makes it through more or less intact, but “Tygers” (the Abin Sur one, illustrated by Kevin O’Neill) is only barely recognizable, having been thoroughly reworked to meet the demands of the movie’s overarching plot. Nothing of the original’s impact makes it into the final product. Otherwise, the film was okay…it’s neat seeing all the Green Lanterns in action (and what must be, what, the sixth or seventh redesign for Kilowog?), but it’s a shame that Special Guest Ultimate Menace Krona didn’t get much to do other than be large and roar a lot. I think I would have rather seen this Krona-centric story made into a movie. But, you know, no one ever asked me.

Now here’s an action figure I really wasn’t expecting.

§ November 21st, 2010 § Filed under green lantern § 13 Comments

So coming early next year is this Green Lantern two-figure package, containing some fish-headed Lantern you don’t care about, and THIS GUY:


Yeah, that’s right, it’s Medphyll, your favorite humanoid-plant Green Lantern, in convenient action figure form for your entertainment and edification. If there are two things I never expected to see, as a longtime Green Lantern fan, it’s 1) Kilowog appearing in a live action film, and 2) a Medphyll action figure. (Oh, and I guess there’s a third thing: 3) a live action Green Lantern film.)

A quick Googling shows that this news has been popping up over the last couple of weeks or so, but I guess I hadn’t been paying attention, and didn’t know this figure was imminent until I spotted a photo in the latest Tomart’s magazine:

GAZE INTO

MY EYE

Those are some rich, full lips Medphyll has. HELLO, LADIES.

I thought for sure Medphyll had popped up in one of those DC Direct PVC sets, but no dice…oh, sure, Chaselon gets a PVC figure, but not our pal Meddy. (Has anyone ever called him “Meddy?” …How ’bout “Phil?” “Phyll?”) However, you can see a fanmade custom figure right here, which is a little less broccoli-looking than the official thing.

For more Medphyll action, here’s a previous post on this very site featuring Medphyll’s worst enemy.

Yes, he once appeared in an issue of Swamp Thing. And yes, I know of his appearances in Starman. We shall not speak of what happened to him in Starman.

Someone ask Geoff Johns to bring back that Qwardian in the derby hat.

§ November 17th, 2010 § Filed under gil kane, green lantern § 8 Comments

How evil is Green Lantern’s arch nemesis Sinestro? Why, he’s so evil, he’s coming in a very solid second, just behind Gypo-Bax, in the Most Evil Citizen of Qward popularity contest:


I do have to admit that the very idea of Sinestro desperately trying to win a popularity contest tickles me. I can just picture Sinestro handpainting a bunch of “VOTE SIN” construction paper signs and hanging them around the school. But then again, the very idea of Sinestro fretting about a contest like this, while appearing a bit silly to adults, would probably resonate with the school-age children this comic was aimed at.

But seriously, This Guy:


…he’s like the Qward Dimension Evil Anti-Matter Duplicate of Doiby Dickles.

And that he’s Sinestro’s “campaign manager” is a hoot, too. You know Sinestro didn’t hire the guy, that he just kinda declared himself Sinestro’s campaign manager, and Sinestro simply can’t shake him off.

Oh, speaking of Green Lantern, I guess there’s a trailer out for the movie.

images from Green Lantern #15 (Sept 1962) by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella

The stuff that comes out of Arisia’s mouth, honestly.

§ September 7th, 2009 § Filed under green lantern, reader participation Comments Off on The stuff that comes out of Arisia’s mouth, honestly.

Looks like Arisia has more to say, my friends, so let’s take a look:

Adam kicks it off with a tribute to the Greatest Batman Comic of Them All:

Bully the Little Stuffed Bull whips out some more typography magic:


I’m not 100% sure I know what Gordon‘s talking about here, other than it’s Doctor Who-related:


G23 makes me uncomfortable by having Arisia say this:


Joe’s entry (context) is fantastic:


Here’s another woo-related entry, from Lofro:


Pal Nat gives us a trilogy of tomfoolery:


Rich wraps it up with a pair of puckish pics:


Thanks for contributing, pals!

And that’s enough of that. Regular service on this website should resume tomorrow.

Arisia groks the local tongue.

§ September 3rd, 2009 § Filed under green lantern, reader participation Comments Off on Arisia groks the local tongue.

So in the Millennium trade paperback (by Steve Englehart, Joe Staton and Ian Gibson), there’s a scene where alien Green Lantern Arisia comments on her own acclimation to life on Earth…well, specifically to one particular region of Earth:


Well, that seemed rife with possibilities, and while the original panel is Funny Because It’s True (I mean, I’m an American, and I love my grub and drink), I suspected there were other folks Arisia could sound like.

So here you go…some pals of mine and I have cooked up a few alternatives:

From Andrew:


From Bully the Little Stuffed Bull:


From Dave:


From Pal Dorian:


From Ken:


From Shane:


From yours truly:


Oh, look, where did this come from?

If you read only one comic about a kid exploding in space, make it this one.

§ February 21st, 2004 § Filed under green lantern Comments Off on If you read only one comic about a kid exploding in space, make it this one.


Green Lantern #162 (March, 1983), cover art by Keith Pollard

As memory serves, there was a slight brouhaha over this fairly grotesque cover at the time…it wouldn’t get a second glance today. Well, maybe a second glance, certainly not a third. And yes, the kid does explode from decompression outside the spaceship:


…even though I’m about 80% certain that isn’t what would really happen in real life. The cover did do its job, though…I had given up on GL several issues prior to this, but I had to buy this issue when I saw that cover. I mean, wouldn’t you? Yes you would, don’t lie to me.

This story took place during Green Lantern’s exile from Earth in the early 80s, a series of stories by assorted hands that started okay, got dire pretty quickly, and wrapped up with a nicely drawn Alex Toth issue in #171. You can read more about the particular sequence of stories that issue comes from (in which Hal is based on a space cruiser) here.

GL comics.

§ December 10th, 2003 § Filed under green lantern Comments Off on GL comics.

My friend Corey and I were talking about comics today. Specifically, we were talking about Steve Englehart’s run on Green Lantern (and the series it turned into, The Green Lantern Corps) from the late-80…and we were just laughing and laughing. We both really loved these comics…not because they were any good, but because they were just equal parts silly, over-the-top, and outright insane. Englehart brought us a dead Green Lantern kept alive by his ring, a funny-animal GL (Ch’p), Kilowog hanging out with Gorbachev, Arisia aging herself with her ring to pursue a relationship with Hal Jordan, bizarre sexual tension between Hector Hammond and Star Sapphire, of all people…all kinds of craziness was going on in this comic. And there was a real sense of menace (well, B-movie level menace) from the villains, too…old GL nemesis Sinestro seemed more dangerous than ever, and before he became a buffoon (and way before he became some kind of shape changing alien warrior…wha huh?), Guy Gardner was a fairly threatening villain as well.

Anyway, these GLs were a hoot. Just plain ol’ stupid fun comic books. You look at some of the fans in the online message forums, and you’d think there’s no room for a comic that makes you laugh anymore. They’re all so serious, and and so concerned with the characters’ “dignity.” Sigh. I’ll tell you what…Englehart’s GL was a damn sight more entertaining than that whole Jim Lee/Batman/Hush thing.
 
(post updated 7/2016)

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