Ted and I scooted out to Green Lantern on Saturday. It was okay, which was better than I thought it would be. Ryan Reynolds is pretty cute, which helps. Blake Lively…well, really, mostly I keep getting stuck on this one shot of her where she looked so thin it actually looked physically impossible (there’s a similar shot of Angelina Jolie, perhaps in Mr & Mrs Smith but maybe in Salt), and it only occured to me lately that actually both of those might literally be physically impossible. They might’ve been edited to be that thin. Because really. Which isn’t the point. I’ll put the point behind the cut, even though I don’t think I’m really spoiling anything…
Green Lantern had a number of problems–pacing, lack of romantic chemistry between the leads (brother/sister, yes, I could get behind that relationship, but romance? not so much.), a lack of focus on any one story and an especially poor job linking the backstories for the three main characters, badly overused CGI, which is to say both bad CGI and too much of it, and a couple of others I ennumerated to Ted but can’t think of right now. However, what I see as the big problem with GL is not one that any scriptwriter could overcome, because it’s part and parcel of the character:
Superheroes and aliens together is asking too much of an audience.
Cowboys and aliens? Sure! (Especially with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, rawr.) Aliens vs. aliens? Sure! Will Smith vs aliens? Sure! Alien hero on Earth? Sure! Superheroes vs aliens? …yeah, no.
We are already suspending our disbelief to accept superpowered people running around. Adding aliens to the mix is, as they would say here, taking the piss.
They just barely handled it right in Thor, which I had absolutely zero expectation they could (I feel the same way about gods and superheroes). But they handled it by not introducing an outside bad guy: it wasn’t Thor vs. Loki vs. Mutants, it was just Thor vs. Loki (more or less), and they’re both aliens(gods). It didn’t present another element we had to accept. And once we get to the Avengers movies, well, we know Thor’s backstory, Loki’s already been introduced, et voila, we are no longer asking your audience to swallow too much at once. This is why I was so desperately glad they didn’t go the comic book alien Phoenix entity route with the hinted introduction of Phoenix in X2. Sudden leap forward in mutant evolution: sure! ALIEN INFESTED MUTANTS? Not so much.
I understand that there is absolutely no way to get around this problem in Green Lantern. I don’t think they handled it as well as they could have even so, but I think they’d have been much better off with a considerably simplified story that didn’t really leave Earth and let Hal Jordan feel his way into the (uselessly green glowy) suit without (further) alien intervention (dying alien coulda told him how the ring works before he died, for example, thus making the trip to Oma unnecessary) until the end, when perhaps the Corps come to examine this new Lantern who’s been chosen.
Anyway, so yes. It’s too much, and they didn’t handle it well. And now I’ve stayed up basically an hour later than I meant to, so if there was going to be any wrap-up to this post, this is it: G’night.
(x-posted from the essential kit)