MovieBob - Intermission
Green Lantern: The Fanboy Free Breakdown

Bob "MovieBob" Chipman | 24 Jun 2011 16:00
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That awkwardness would be bad enough, but it also ends up undermining what appears to have been intended as the dramatic arc of the character Sinestro (Mark Strong). In brief: The opening narration informs us that the Green Lantern Corps' ultimate foe is Parallax, a massive demonic entity powered by "Yellow Fear Energy" that was defeated and imprisoned by Corps member Abin-Sur. Literally moments after we learn this, the actual movie opens with Parallax breaking out of its prison and killing Abin-Sur, who manages to communicate the word "Parallax" to home base before going down. Sinestro, his buddy, doesn't know exactly what this means, and grows increasingly frustrated that The Guardians (The GL Corps bosses) aren't being up-front about what Parallax actually is. Eventually, his disillusionment with his superiors leads him to suggest incorporating evil weaponry into the Corps' arsenal - sending him down a path to becoming a villain himself.

Without the tacked-on narration, this might've been an interesting piece of storytelling, leading the audience to sympathize with Sinestro's frustrations and adding an air of mystery to the Big Menace. But since we've already been told exactly what Parallax is - save for an ultimately meaningless detail about why it has a face - and what it does, the tension is gone. Good idea: leaving an audience room to get ahead of the story. Bad idea: forcing them ahead of the story, but then pretending that you didn't.

Go Nowhere Characters

Quick aside: Most of the issues on this list are symptoms of a bigger issue - that the film has obviously been hacked to pieces in between the conclusion of production and release. It reeks of the all-too-common occurrence of producers realizing that they've assembled a bad film and opting to try and soften the damage by cutting it as short as possible in order to maximize the number of shows in a day and hopefully sell more tickets. One of the most visible results is that characters and story points that were clearly meant to be important threads woven throughout the narrative instead appear and disappear with little rhyme or reason.

For example, directly after an overlong action scene lifted from Top Gun where Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) flashes back to the origin of his obligatory childhood tragedy (his dad died in an explosion) while pulling a piloting stunt that establishes him as a reckless hotshot with commitment issues, he drops in on his nephew's birthday party and has an argument with his brother that reiterates all of the back story and psychology info we just heard.

None of Jordan's family members will appear in the film again, and nothing we learn hasn't already been said. Presumably, these people might have had some scenes later on in a longer version of the film - Hal comes out as Green Lantern to pretty much all his friends, so it'd make sense that his brother or at least the nephew he's obviously close to would be in the know, too - but if that's not going to be the case why is the scene still here at all? Well, because we're to understand that Hal's tinkering with the kid's Matchbox cars gives him the idea for how he uses his Power Ring in a big action scene, and since you need your big action stuff the otherwise useless scene that foreshadows it has to stay in.

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