MovieBob - Intermission
Green Lantern: The Fanboy Free Breakdown

Bob "MovieBob" Chipman | 24 Jun 2011 16:00
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Nonsense Plotting

Hal Jordan works as a test pilot for a company that makes military aircraft. So does his ex-girlfriend Carol, whose father owns the company. Said company has a government contract to make self-piloting robot planes, and has invited military brass to watch them in a staged dogfight with his best pilots, Hal and Carol. Hal wins the dogfight by pulling a risky stunt that almost kills him. Carol's dad is pissed, because since the robot planes lost now the military doesn't want them.

Wait, what?

For starters, why would military brass base their decision on a test being held on the company's property involving the owner's daughter, circumstances that could obviously be fixed to deliver the best result? And even forgiving that, how exactly is "You need to commit suicide and destroy your own weapons in order to outmaneuver them" a negative for the robot planes? Why isn't Carol's dad worried that more or less openly saying that he's angry at his own employees for not taking a dive against the drones will get him sued (or arrested!) on suspicion of attempting to defraud The Pentagon?

Also: After sucking at learning to be a Green Lantern on Oa for all of five minutes, Hal says he's "done" and goes back to Earth to mope in his apartment. But he still has the Ring, which he uses to show off to his buddy, stop a helicopter crash and take Carol on Clark & Lois' rooftop date from Superman: The Movie. Eventually, he tells us that "I'm done" was actually him quitting the Corps.

Wait, what?

Why does he still have the Ring, then? When I quit my job at Best Buy I didn't even get to keep my blue polo shirt because they don't want you using it to sneak into other stores' stockrooms, but you can quit the Green Lanterns and keep your all-powerful super-weapon? If so, why does Sinestro spend the whole 2nd act being mad at The Guardians for not letting him fight Parallax "his way?" - you obviously don't have to listen to them in order to keep your powers.

Structure

The film's secondary villain, Hector Hammond, is a longtime (childhood?) pal of Hal and Carol. Both men are sweet on Carol, but it was no contest because Hal is a handsome hero jet-pilot and Hector is a prematurely balding Community College science teacher. Everybody likes Hal better - even Hector's dad, a swaggering Alpha Dog US Senator.

In the present, Hector gets tapped by the government to help do an autopsy on Abin-Sur, the alien who gave Hal the GL Ring. His life continuing to be a funhouse mirror of Hal's, Hector catches some Parallax germs from the corpse and develops mutant mind powers that he uses to take revenge on everyone who has "wronged" him. This is a good character arc - it's tragic, relatable, and it puts the cosmic scale dangers of Parallax in human terms for Hal.

The movie completely bungles it with bad structure.

We don't meet Hector until well into the second act, and he doesn't have a scene with Hal and Carol or any indication that they have any kind of prior relationship until about an hour into the movie, well after Hector has already gotten zapped and started to turn evil. His supposed unrequited crush on Carol - which only exists in the first place because this is a superhero movie and someone has to kidnap The Girlfriend in Act 3 - is foreshadowed only by an awkward insert-shot of a news clipping on his desk.

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