Green Lantern: The Fanboy Free Breakdown

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Waw Dudes! 90% of the heroes films are crap. You know it. Of course, you'll say that 10% of the viewers always say that 90% of comic books heroes are garbage and 86% of the statistics are made-up but, you get my point.

A much more reasoned breakdown than the video about why the movie didn't work. Some of this game through in the video, but not all of it. Thanks Bob!

Mangue Surfer:
Waw Dudes! 90% of the heroes films are crap. You know it. Of course, you'll say that 10% of the viewers always say that 90% of comic books heroes are garbage and 86% of the statistics are made-up but, you get my point.

Yeah, but what should our response be? Should we say "well, it doesn't suck any more than 90% of the rest of the stuff out there" or should we say why it sucks so that fans can better find movies that they like and avoid ones that would irritate them.

If great comic book movies make tons of money, and bad ones receive only ridicule, then perhaps we will see more good ones and less crap.

I'm starting to see why they cast Reynolds in the first place: much of the movie involves odd winks to super-hero tropes and needed someone with a comedic background to have it make sense. Hell, speaking of tropes, the scene after the "green match-box car" is the definition of Lampshading (blatantly pointing something out to make it funny):

Friend - "A match-box car? That's the best you could come up with?"

Hal - "Why? You weren't impressed?"

The makers KNEW it was going to look stupid and tried to beat the audience to that realization by bashing it first.

I will say that the "useless mask" thing was rather surprising, something you'd think would've been obvious in the real-world but don't expect a movie to actually point out. It was genuine curve-ball, for me at least.

But, yeah, there really does seem to be a "parody" subtext in the writing which really hurt the tone of what probably should have been a little more dramatic.

Wow Bob seems so damn sure on this whole "No Green Lantern squeal will be made" thing

This is exactly why I go to movies before reading reviews.

I thought this movie was a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But then again, I wasn't interested in picking it apart--I was there to enjoy myself.

In order to avoid being one of "those people" I'm going to preface this entire piece, which will be interpreted as a fanboy rant, by saying that it isn't going to be a fanboy rant but you should probably not bother to read it unless you actually intend to respond to a fanboy rant. Confused? I know I am. Also I'm going to say it now, spoiler warnings ahead. I do this as a courtesy, aware of how redundant it may be given what I'm effectively replying to and in full awareness that nobody will probably ever bother to read this.

I am not a huge comic book geek by any definition of the term "geek", what I am is a guy who regularly hangs around with comic book geeks and through osmosis has developed some degree of comic book knowledge. The internet has also helped. So when I say that "I didn't like Green Lantern" what I mean is "I didn't like Green Lantern" but also "I didn't like Green Lantern because I don't enjoy a) wasting my time and money watching tripe like that b) seeing a film with enormous potential go down the drain in spectacular fashion and c) having to ultimately consider what a film like that means for the industry", there are a lot of reasons there and I don't have the time, patience or the phalangic dexterity to fully explore them.

Having read the extremely loquacious and almost verbose analysis provided here, I find nothing to disagree with and wholeheartedly support his points. But the reasons given, while valid and contributing to my dislike, are not the primary reasons I dislike Green Lantern. Allow me to elaborate.

The Score

I love James Newton Howard's work, everything from the oft forgotten gem that was the score for Snow Falling on Cedars to the more contemporary and well known work he did on the Dark Knight, the man has without fail set the bar for theatrical music for years. Then he did this. From the get go I felt that the entire backing track was almost out of sync with what was occurring on the screen, I specifically reference the very first piece of compositional material in that regard. While it worked its way through the incredibly lazy info-dump there was a terse and drum heavy backing track, which is actually really out of character for Howard as a composer as he usually relies on strings, but which really worked for it right up until the point where it stole from and morphed into the John William's score for Superman.

Now while I appreciate the similarities presented in terms of setting, which is another thing about the film that I'll get to later, and I understand the imitation is the greatest form of flattery... really? And that particular track isn't the only thing that suffers from it, the other pieces are littered with references to music used throughout the Superman film franchise with at least two forays into Ottoman's score for Superman Returns. This was immediately the first thing that struck me, being aware of the intense and convoluted background of Green Lantern I forgave the opening narration, as a bad sign for the rest of the film. As a whole the score is functional, completely lacking in the typical JNH flair, but a workable soundtrack... if it was made for a different film. Which is something that relates to my next point.

What script is it anyway?

Am I the only one who walked into the theatre, sat down with a few friends anticipating something well below par but at least vaguely similar to the as advertised plot displayed in trailers and discussed at length in interviews, and then upon seeing the film wondered if I had somehow missed something? I don't think so but maybe.

It honestly felt like the people in charge of the lavish advertising campaign either a) knew little about the plot of the film beyond broad strokes told them by several different people with different perspectives or b) developed their entire advertising campaign for an earlier script that was significantly rewritten. And this really shows throughout the film, at least to me. Everyone from the actors to the composer, as alluded to above, seem to be working on a subtly different film which really shows as you look at the film as a whole. I can't even begin to summarise the degree upon which it occurs but I'll give it a shot anyway with few examples.

1) The score as a whole really never worked for any scene it was in, bar a few moments which appeared to function, obviously there was a lot of post-production fiddling involved here and that would account for the glaring tonal differences but even then you've got to wonder was anybody actually talking to anyone else in that editing room?

2) The Stargate. Yes I'm aware that it exists in universe but you'd think that the most significant discovery in the history of mankind, beyond the "aliens exist" bit, would warrant more than what honestly felt like a few frames. I mean really, an intergalactic portal nestled conveniently behind the Moon and Hal decides to never do anything with it ever again? Even after it's introduced it never gets explained in any significant fashion and if Hal felt that Parralax (who actually deserves his own section here) was on the way to Earth surely his first port of call would be to obliterate his only way to get to Earth. Of course apparently Parralax isn't bound by the puny laws of physics so...

3) Parralax, really? You watched the one thing in the system which could actually give you a significant fight run away from you and your response is to chase it? But what about all the tasty human... souls... energy... fear power stuff that is littered all over the planet! Consume it all and grow stronger, then kill him. Don't pursue him to the Asteroid Belt (it could also be the suns Lagrange point but I doubt they thought about it that much) and then to the Sun (which is in the OTHER direction anyway), before falling for the most obvious ploy ever. Yannow for a supposedly quasi-omnipotent immortal being personification of fear space bug octopus thing, you're really dense.

I could go on about all of those but you get the point, and finally.

Green Lantern, mixed signals?

Having watched the film to its conclusion I'm struck by something very disturbing about the plot as a whole, allow me some leeway here. It seems to suggest that if you're a lazy, reckless, self-centred, mildly misogynistic (not that Ms. Lively did anything positive for the gender), cowardly, indecisive, immature, ignorant and arrogant douche but you look good, which is what's important, then ultimately everything will turn out well for you and all your myriad daddy issues, obvious Oedipus complex and various other psychological issues will just work themselves out and you'll be totally awesome. Because you're good looking!

Whereas the flipside, if you spend your life dedicated to a cause, try to stay true to your morals, don't bother to really impress your parents and actually work to improve the world you live in, then you'll end up fat, in a wheel chair and evil.

Which is rather disturbing.

Anyway, for those three reasons more than anything else I disliked the film.

Bob, I have disagreed with your views several times in the past, but this time you and I are on the EXACT same page on this movie. Especially with regards to how Hector Hammond's story arc was butchered. I like to pretened, just for a chuckle, that Hammond's story is taking place in a low-budget sci-fi horror flick from 1981, based on his features and apparel. It helps detract from the pain of knowing I could have had Ch'p and Medphyll instead of Carol giving Hal the "Mommy Talk" and his little dickweed pal squealing at his costume like a girl scout getting her knitting badge. "You're a sooper-hero! Wheeeeeee!!" All my friends think I'm the world's biggest numbnut for hating this film. Oh, well...

I saw the movie, the points Bob makes here at all valid points. I actually felt really bad for Hector Hammond, and hated to see him go the way he did... Also, Ryan Reynolds' hair looked terrible in this movie.

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