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Reviews review: Green Lantern


And what of the other BIG event this weekend? GREEN LANTERN is the movie that will either justify the creation of a whole universe of DC superheroes (akin to Disney’s Marvel-verse) or….well, it won’t. Thus far, reviews are…unfavorable, with a 24% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. . Despite this, the movie is tracking very well with young men and should easily open at #1.

EW’s Owen Gleiberman:

When a helicopter is about to crash into a fancy outdoor ball, he saves the day by converting the chopper into a vintage car and rolling it down a green-light runway. (It seems like a lot of effort; Superman would have just swatted the thing away with his fist.) Hal, however, doesn’t use this pictogram ability that often, so there remains something a little vague about him. Mostly, he stands around in his shiny, pulsating, emerald-green muscle suit, all dressed up with no place to go.

Ed Douglas at ComingSoon.net

It’s that bad dialogue and narration that often keeps the movie from delivering. For all the cool visual set pieces and cool CG constructs created by Green Lantern, and a few clever inventions for the movie like having Abin Sur’s ring pull Hal to the crash site, there’s some long-winded speech about how humans are worthy of the Guardians’ attention that immediately sends it crashing back down to earth. And then back on earth, you have a choice between a stale romance or a weak villain.

The Village Voice’s Karina Longworth:

It’s 10 minutes before a human character appears on-screen in Green Lantern, a personality-free franchise-launcher that builds toward a quaint, if explosive, argument in favor of the nebulous quality of “humanity.”

THR’s Todd McCarthy liked it but wasn’t wowed:

At least for some members of the public, Green Lantern will prompt the question of how many more comics-based superheroes with awesome powers and responsibilities we really need. Dramatically tart in certain scenes but more often just spinning its wheels doing variations on similar moments from previous episodes in the lives of likewise endowed relatives in the DC and Marvel universes, Warner Bros.’ attempt to launch a major new fantasy action hero franchise serves up all the requisite elements with enough self-deprecating humor to suggest it doesn’t take itself too seriously. But familiarity may begin to breed creeping signs of contempt, if not in immediate negative box office results then in a general fatigue with such enterprises that’s bound to set in sooner or later.

Although GREEN LANTERN will do well with the fanbase, it still has to earn back its estimated budget of $300 million.

  1. I have a feeling were going to see a “Happy but underwhelming” response in the box office. They may make the gait but a profit will be tough a week and a half before Tarnsformers 3

  2. It will probably still be #1 for the weekend but Super 8 is going to compete for moviegoers’ dollars and cut into GL’s box office, which would be higher if Super 8 wasn’t getting such good word of mouth and GL weren’t getting such poor to middling reviews.

  3. To be fair, that 24% is from 21 critics, 5 of which are “top critics”. Most wait until the movie debuts before publishing articles.

    Transformers won’t knock GL… #3 is pretty much More Of The Same (not for me… I gave up after #2).

    CGI GL will be undone by CGI Cars. Which will probably have better characterization, and which will out-“Casino Royale” Martin Campbell with a fun spy plot.

    Cars will stay on top until July 15th, when HP7.2 debuts. Which will help Warners overcome the disappointment of GL. The week after is Captain America (which should have been pegged to the Fourth of July). Then, for the first time ever, TWO comic book movies in the same week! Cowboys and Aliens and Smurfs. Then August with Glee, Apes, and Conan.

  4. Torsten: “To be fair, that 24% is from 21 critics, 5 of which are “top critics”. Most wait until the movie debuts before publishing articles.”

    Also, it hasn’t screened everywhere yet either. The press screening in St. Louis is tonight, for example.

    Honestly, I didn’t hold out much hope for this movie being good, but the trailers that have started showing over the last week or so did a vastly better job of showing off the movie. I’m cautiously optimistic, and actually looking forward to seeing it tonight.

    Paul: Ha!

  5. Apparently the Trailers are being more than a little dishonest and the vast majority of the film is firmly Earthbound.

  6. Speaking plainly, Green Lantern looks *awful*. Transformers 2 was awful, but 3 will kick the crap out of Green Lantern. GL will be this summer’s Ang Lee Hulk….good opening, *huge* drop off.

  7. 300 million dollars??

    It’s almost like they want to set the bar so high, with the production budget, so that the film won’t make back its money.

  8. Thanks for thinking that, Paul.

    I deliberately typed it that way.

    The best mash-up?
    When I saw “Sid and Nancy” in London’l Leicester Square in 1994.
    The ticket had the name of the movie theater in large letters, followed by the name of the film:

    Prince Charles Sid and Nancy

    As good as the movie was, it would have been even better with Prince Charles!

    (And that theater is still quite good…
    http://www.princecharlescinema.com/ )

  9. One thing about the reviews that have yet to be revealed: what will the young ones make of the movie?

    The movie critics not too keen on superheroes due to having the formula down ( which there is some truth to) already dismissing the film is not suprising.

    The fanboys knee deep in the GL mythology who could spot a Ganthet from a group of Guardians will have their say. I’m sure they played a hand in the shift in tone of the trailers, going from Iron Man-lite to 2011 Space Opera Show.

    Yet, lost in all the comments, as is often the case, is what the kids think about the movie? Do they want to see it? Does the story appeal to them?

    This is an important question not just for movie studios but the comic companies as well.

    The plan is to sell these characters and their stories to them.

    I’ve noticed a trend, not just in comics but in entertainment overall.

    There seems to be a snarky response to the thoughts of a child.

    Maybe it’s just that I’m older and the level of scutiny was the same in my younger years not that long ago.

    How many major network shows for primerime look like a child viewer was taken into account during the said shows’ conception?

    Whatever happened to afternoon cartoon blocks on non cable channels? Where’s the Disney Afternoon toons? Only on the Disney DX?

    There’s Tots in Tiaras, little girls getting Botox shots from their moms, thousand dollar prom days but no Wonder Woman film or show? Can’t have a female starring action film?

    Alien, T2, Kill Bill, Foxy Brown, Buffy, Xena, various Chris Claremont scripted X Men comics, etc. beg to differ.

    ( Girls being a bit more mature than boys so they can handle the more aggressive nature of some of those examples.)

    Whateves. Hope the movies good. What one deems as “good” various greatly. For the films’ sake, not too greatly.
    Especially amongst the young ones.

  10. I saw a sneak preview of it tonight. In line to get in, it seemed as if a majority of the crowd around me had no idea what they were walking into. I overheard, “what’s his power?” “what’s this movie about?” and “what’s his weapon?” but upon leaving, the crowd seemed overall entertained by it.

    Personally, I was entertained by it but it felt a little rushed.

  11. Yeah, I heard a LOT of positive comments coming out of the theatre. Probably the most telling was a guy who turned to his girlfriend and said “See, wasn’t that worth waiting in line for?”, to which she responded with a quite enthusiastic “Yeah!”

    Me? I liked it quite a bit, and I’m not even a GL fan at ALL. The movie embraced its science fictioniness (for lack of a better word) in a way that I’ve never seen in a superhero movie, and there were some really neat effects throughout. The villain is the movie’s weakest link, but I’d say it doesn’t suffer any more for that shortcoming than the first Iron Man did. And most of all, it left me REALLY hoping they make a sequel.

  12. I also got to see it last night at an advance screening. Very good movie. It’s not Iron Man, but it’s every bit as good as Thor.

    I had some of the same concerns going in with this as I had with Thor in that some of the scenes of the use of the Green Lantern powers looked a bit “cheesy” in the previews, but in the context of the movie itself, they look very natural (as they did with Thor). The 3D looked great and fit the CGI heavy theme of the movie.

    Very good cast who played their parts well and I’m looking forward to the sequels we will hopefully get as there is definitely a scene that sets just that up *halfway* during the end credits. (You didn’t have to stay to the bitter end to see it, but I did anyway just in case)

    I’m sure I’ll spot even more GLs I might recognize from the comics upon further viewings, but the only ones I recall getting actual voice time were Sinestro, Tomar-Re and Killowog. They did show a few more having a reaction to Hal showing up to the big GL pow-wow but I don’t recall seeing The Green Man or Stel both of whom have action figures in the current GL movie line. It was all very quick so I’m sure someone with a more keen eye than myself will be able to spot a few more familiar “faces.”

    The 12 year old boy I took with me to see it also enjoyed it and he would definitely recommend it to his friends to see. Another friend of mine, his wife and his parents, were not impressed at all however.

    I think the reaction is going to be extremely mixed, but I think it will do well enough that we’ll get a sequel (hopefully).


  13. I don’t think reviews matter with these FX-heavy franchise movies. “X-Men: First Class” got mostly good reviews, but it probably would have made the same amount of money had the reviews been pans. Savagely bad reviews certainly didn’t hurt the last “Transformers” sequel.

    The “GL” movie does have an artificial, anonymous, manufactured look (in the trailer, at least). Maybe it’s the result of CGI in almost every shot. It has that “untouched by human hands” look. Whether that will matter to the target audience of young males, who knows. But I doubt it will.

  14. I was privileged to go see it today at a special screening. Special effects, as always, were great; plot was decent and actually had a story going to it; character was consistent, unlike Chris Hemsworth in Thor; it was an overall good movie.

    I’m not into Green Lantern so I couldn’t tell you how faithful to the comics it will be, but as neutral observer, I enjoyed it.

    It’s not a must see in 3D though, so save some $$$ and see it in its normal format.

  15. I have no idea what movie you people saw. The movie I saw was terrible. Ryan Reynolds showed none of his usual charisma. Blake Lively was embarrassingly awful. Tim Robbins and Angela Bassett looked ashamed to be collecting a paycheck. There was an insane amount of exposition that derailed the movie from the get go. The NYC audience I saw it with laughed and groaned at moments that were clearly meant to be meaningful. People booed at the end.

    The only person who wasn’t abysmal was Sarsgaard.

  16. Just got home from a midnight showing, and I was not impressed, and a co-worker whose also a comic fan, was even less impressed than I was. I thought that a lot of the characters were cast OK, but it just seemed that the script was lacking in places, yet they still tried to cram 20 years worth of story into 2 hours. And what a waste of Parallax! Compared to the comic version, this was a joke. His fate reminded me of Boba fett’s fate.

    And for a movie, they broke a major rule (at least in my mind). Show me the movie, don’t have a narrator telling me the story. Show, don’t tell. Movie need to quit relying on effects and just focus on telling a decent story.

    Adapt Emerald Dawn & Emerald Dawn II as the first movie, develop the characters and their relationships, then do Hector Hammond or Parallax in the sequel. Don’t force so much into 1 movie.

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