Posted on June 29th, 2011
Despite the bad reviews, I simply had to go see Green Lantern after checking into my hotel.
The reason I had to see it was because Green Lantern is one of my favorite super-heroes (after Batman, of course). In fact, an issue of Green Lantern was the first comic book I ever bought. I've been a fan through thick and thin ever since...
Sadly, the movie itself is pretty bad. Several elements are good, but the big picture is a hot mess with too many inexplicably boring bits. Since I really have no idea how to review such a scattered film (let alone attempt to sum up the story!), I guess I'll just run through the bullets...
• Casting. Ryan Reynolds was perfectly cast. He captured the cocky charm of a fearless test pilot effortlessly. Likewise, Peter Skarsgard playing Hector Hammond and Mark Strong's turn as Sinestro were shockingly good. Blake Lively as Carol Ferris seemed a little forced and awkward at times... and her character had really lame similarities to Pepper Potts from the Iron Man films... but it wasn't as disastrously bad as say... January Jones in X-Men: First Class.
• Scope.I really enjoyed that they went a little "cosmic" with the movie. Green Lantern is at his best when he's out amongst the stars, and having him mixing it up with aliens and other worlds was a very good thing. If, by some miracle, a sequel happens, I hope that they ignore earth completely (especially since that's where most of the boring bits happen).
Parallax. As far as villains go, Parallax was probably not the best choice. His comic book back-story is rather long and complex, and the way they dumbed it down to fit in a movie was kind of lame and dismissive. On top of that, he just wasn't very compelling an opponent in the film, because his powers weren't really defined. He could be almost god-like one minute... then surprisingly weak the next.
Pacing. As I mentioned, there's unnecessary stretches of sheer boredom plaguing the film. It's totally amateurish, and I'm guessing the writer(s) simply didn't know how to edit for a streamlined story... so they just threw in as many bits as possible in the hopes that something would gel together and "stick." It doesn't.
• CGI Uniforms. I understand the logic of the Green Lantern Corps uniforms being pure energy, and the concept of computer graphics being the best way to show this is sound... but it failed on every possible level. Ryan Reynolds looked like he had been Photoshop-painted, badly in every scene he's Green Lantern, and it took me completely out of the movie. You can tell that the effects team knew the uniforms looked like shit because they went back and added "energy crackles" and "energy glows" here and there in an attempt to camouflage them. If anything, it just ended up making things worse by drawing attention to how tragically bad they looked. I simply cannot fathom how anybody could look at test footage and decide this was the best way to go. I mean, they did render test footage of the uniforms, didn't they?
Case in point... ONE of these photos is fake. I spent two minutes slapping on some green pixels in Photoshop. Can you spot it? Guessing isn't as easy as you'd think since they're all pretty shitty...
• Internal Logic. I understand that you have to suspend disbelief in order to accept a movie universe where people are flying around playing super-hero... but, even so, there has to be an internal logic to the story and plot so you can suspend disbelief. Green Lantern has so many inconsistencies and gaps of internal logic that I found it impossible to get into the film. There was this whole deus ex machina thing going on where plot points existed not because they made sense, but because it was the only way the writers found to move the story forward. This caused me to constantly question the characters, which is a very bad thing from a story standpoint.
• The Story. Green Lantern has a classic origin story... dying alien gives hotshot test pilot Hal Jordan a ring with amazing powers and inducts him into the Green Lantern Corps, which is a kind of intergalactic police force. This part is handled fairly well in the movie, but things go off the rails really quickly afterwards. The problem is that there's just not a story you can grab ahold of and be taken away by. There's only fragments of different stories woven together seemingly at random. This didn't hold my interest because my attention was never focused on one thing long enough to give a crap about the stuff happening on-screen. For me, at least, the film can never overcome this deficiency, and comes out totally mediocre because of it.
And this updates my whole "Y2K Super-Hero Comic Book Renaissance" scorecard as follows...
Batman Begins... A
Batman Dark Knight... A+
Blade 2... B
Blade Trinity... B-
Daredevil (Director's Cut)... B+
Fantastic Four... C
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer... D
Ghost Rider... C
Green Hornet... D
Green Lantern... C+
Hellboy 2: Golden Army... A
Incredible Hulk... B
The Incredibles... A+
Iron Man... A+
Iron Man 2... A
Jonah Hex... F
Punisher War Zone... C
Spider-Man 2... A
Spider-Man 3... D-
Superman Returns... C+
X-Men 2: United... D
X-Men 3: Last Stand... F-
X-Men Origins: Wolverine... D
X-Men: First Class... B
Posted on March 27th, 2011
Back to reality for a super-hero-fashion episode of Bullet Sunday! But, before we get there, I need to remind everybody that the best podcast on the internet you're probably not listening to is now on iTunes! Cannot recommend it highly enough: Hey! That's My Hummus on iTunes. And for baseball talk, don't forget Just Talking to the Cornfield on iTunes.
• Wonder Woman! I've had very strong reservations over the whole David E. Kelley Wonder Woman television pilot from the very beginning. From everything I've read, it seems as though he's dead-set on putting his personal stamp on the material, which means we're not going to get Wonder Woman... it's going to be Ally McBeal in bad latex. The first episode's villain is perfume company CEO Veronica Cale (WTF?) which is being played by the incomparable Elizabeth Hurley (who arrived in L.A. a while back to film her scenes)...
©2011 Michael Wright/WENN (from AceShowbiz)
Since Elizabeth Hurley is in it, I'm pretty much obligated to watch the show now. Which is a shame, because the official Wonder Woman costume photo looks like crap...
In all seriousness, I've been to comic book conventions where the fan costumes looked better than this cheap-n-glossy joke. She looks like a badly-dressed dominatrix or something. Such a horrible departure from the classic Wonder Woman uniform that was worn so perfectly by Linda Carter in the original TV show...
Call it cheesy if you want, but THAT'S what Wonder Woman is supposed to look like.
• Spider-Man! And speaking of truly terrible costumes... I loved the first two Spider-Man movies. The third one was awful story-wise, but had really good action sequences. Still, I was hoping for another Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire installment because I liked the "feel" they gave the character. Alas, it was not to be. So now we've moved on to something new which could be good or could be bad. And if the costume is what we have to go on, this is going to be as bad as it gets...
Even if he didn't have an inexplicably black crotch, this would be a horrible interpretation of an iconic costume.
• Captain America! The modern-day Captain America comics have never interested me very much. Sure there are good stories that pop up from time to time but, overall, it's a one-note concept to me. But I have to say, everything I've seen for the upcoming Cap film looks flawless. First of all, they set the movie in World War II, which is faithful to the character's origin. Second of all, it seems as if director Joe Johnston is going out of his way to make it a fun and entertaining film to watch...
What's so killer about Cap's costume is how you can see they're clearly building up to his modern-day outfit by starting with a WWII era interpretation. He was designed to be a symbol for the guys in the trenches, and its coming across perfectly. And just look at the Red Skull! Cannot wait for this movie.
• Thor! Other than Walter Simonson's brilliant run on the character in the 1980's, I've never been a big fan of Thor. He just never seems to work in the context of the super-hero genre very well. But this film has Kenneth Branagh directing, and the trailers look to be pretty epic in scope, so we'll see...
I am the first to admit that translating Thor's costume to the big screen is no easy task... but this looks all cheesy and plastic to me. I'm guessing it's supposed to be metal (maybe it is!), but I'm still not impressed and think it would have looked better with a brushed metal? This is probably going to appear much better on-screen when lit properly, so it's hard for me to be too critical. It is, after all, pretty faithful in "feel" to the original.
• Green Lantern! This is the hardest movie of all to figure out. I think my hetero-man-crush Ryan Reynolds was flawless casting for Hal Jordan, but the movie is looking like a George Lucas CGI party instead of a film of any substance. The special-effects generated costume in the preview trailer looked so bad that I couldn't fathom how the movie could possibly work...
But then I saw this shot of Mark Strong as Sinestro and thought "maybe"...
Green Lantern was one of the first comic books I ever read, and so I continue to hope that everything comes together. Out of all the super-hero projects underway, it has the most potential for greatness... or disaster.
It's pretty hard to get a feel for how the costume works from still images. On Hal Jordan, all the crazy lines look just plain stupid. On Sinestro, they look awesome. I'm guessing that when they're in-motion they'll be all glowing and stuff, which will probably look cool. Or corny. I have no idea. I do think it would have been better to not go with 100% CGI though, which seems like a recipe for disaster.
• X-Men! I should probably get this out of the way... I loathed all of the X-Men films. They were SO BORING. The X-Men were never really given any battles. Sure there were some silly little scrapes here and there, but they didn't have any scope. Everything in the movie seemed so much smaller than life. And while the costumes weren't anything to write home about, I thought they were okay. Sadly, the costumes weren't the problem. And so now we're re-booting the franchise with a prequel...
From what I can tell, the costumes here are pretty good. They are a faithful (albeit upgraded) interpretation of the "original" X-Men costumes, which was no easy task. All we can do is wait and see if the movie has the scope and story to make any use of them.
That's a lot of super-heroes. And it doesn't even account for the new Superman movie reboot, the third Iron Man film, the third Batman film, The Hulk reboot, The Avengers, and whatever else that's coming up. I hope that people don't get burnt out on comic book movies.
Posted on July 10th, 2009
The first two comic books I ever bought were Green Lantern #121 and The Flash #277. I ended up liking Green Lantern best because his stories were cosmic in scope and seemed more imaginative. Whatever Hal Jordan could dream up, his magical ring could make a reality... what could be cooler than that?
How about a Green Lantern movie?
Last August there was an announcement that a GL movie was going to enter production. I was excited. Now there's news floating around that my hetero-man-crush Ryan Reynolds has beat out Justin Timberlake and Bradley Cooper for the role. Now I'm estatic. I can only hope that they REMAIN FAITHFUL TO THE SOURCE MATERIAL and come up with a decent story. A Green Lantern film should be EPIC. He should battle bad-ass villains like Sinestro and Star Sapphire... not lame-ass regular-people villains that shouldn't even be a challenge. There should be aliens and space battles. There definitely should be Abin Sur and the Guardians... DON'T FUCK WITH GREEN LANTERN'S ORIGIN, OTHERWISE IT ISN'T GREEN LANTERN!!
The massive box office from the Batman and Iron Man movies should prove that you can remain faithful to the source material and still have a successful film. Hopefully the people behind Green Lantern understand that...
In other news... final dates have been set for Davelanta 3 (August 1st) and Daveorado (August 22nd)...
The Daveil went down to Georgia...
A run to the Rocky Mountains...
If you haven't already contacted me and would like to meet up with some cool bloggers in Atlanta or Denver, just send me an email at email@example.com and I'll let you know when we have details!