Friday, June 17, 2011

Movie Review: Green Lantern

The Middle Room is not an island. In point of fact, we are a room, and there are other rooms around us. Sometimes we hear things through the walls. Sometimes we overhear the discourse of critics.

Thus it was that we were warned.

While we place little faith in professional reviewers, we have learned to seek out symbols and patterns in their chatter, much as soothsayers read tea leaves and entrails. There are times when negative reviews can conceal brilliant work. But we knew from the start this wasn't such a case. In situations where a brilliant movie is under-appreciated, there are numerous glowing reviews intermingled with the negative.

With Green Lantern, there was no such descent. The positive reviews were timid, apologetic; the negative were harsh. Yes, we knew what we were getting into.

Why then, did we go? We asked ourselves this question as we walked that long, carpeted path from the lobby to theater, that road all geeks must tread; that Green Mile. And the only answer we could find was this: because it was there.

We seldom find ourselves typing these next words, and it pains us to do so: the critics were right. This was a bad movie.

It wasn't so bad that it was without merit. The aliens of the Green Lantern Corps were adapted well, though they were given far less time than they deserved. Likewise, there were a few good fights; nothing spectacular, but certainly solid. And, for all the fan outcry at the casting, Ryan Reynolds did a fine job in his role. He felt like Hal Jordan, and the story told was a fairly direct adaptation of his origin.

On some level, the only thing wrong with Green Lantern was that it was a bad movie. And the primary cause of this seemed to be the direction. From the start, it felt as though the director wasn't taking the source material seriously. He approached it like children's entertainment. Scenes vacillated between camp and melodrama without adding up to anything substantial. Characters appeared for a sequence or two then disappeared, as if forgotten. There was no subtlety or artistry: at no point did the film trust in our intelligence. And, worst of all, Green Lantern was the one thing a superhero movie should never be: boring.

This wasn't as bad as the worst. This wasn't another Catwoman or even a Daredevil. What's hardest for us is the realization that Green Lantern got the characters, settings, and even the story right. But it did so with a disregard for pacing, structure, and emotional realism that wouldn't cut it on television.

If we tell you not to watch this, will you listen? Will it matter if we tell you this movie deserves a relative two stars against a scale from Catwoman to Superman? Or will you shrug, as we did, and go anyway?

Because it's the summer. Because it's the Green Lantern. And because, good or bad, they actually made this, and you need to see it to believe it.

If you can wait for Netflix, do so. Otherwise, you have our sympathies. We only hope that when Warner Bros. makes a sequel, they hire a director who can actually be bothered to make a good movie.

After two really good superhero films and a fantastic film about a panda martial-artist, The Middle Room has endured its first major disappointment of the season. We knew they couldn't all be great, but we were really hoping this wouldn't be the one to let us down.

1 comment:

Super-Duper ToyBox said...

i'm not surprised... but yeah, i'll watch it only because they mad it lol! :D