It is probably not worth very much to have me, as a big Green Lantern fan for decades, tell you that the Green Lantern movie is really good. Or maybe it is, because you might expect I'm coming at it from a pickyshit fan angle.
We even had to see it in 3D and enjoyed it.
It seems to me there are several vectors out there sabotaging this movie. You've got the hardline Marvel fans out to thumbs-down anything coming from DC. Nothing unusual about that. Not that most movie-goers have any clue about which char acts are Marvel and which are DC, but the endless partisan venom does hurt GL inside the fan community that Warners is banking on coming to see over and over again.
There's super-hero genre fatigue. We have already had Thor and X-Men: First Class rise and fall... and the marketing for Green Lantern is so continuous and so perversive it almost makes you sick of it before ever hitting a theater. Thor had 7-11 cups and X-Men had nothing. GL is everywhere.
Then there's the tricky one: the Green Lantern subject matter itself. Here's where I can fly my fan flag. Much of the plot complaints I see being tossed about by reviewers who have plainly been dying to trash a big-budget film all year are lifted exactly from the comics. It's stuff that has been part of the story for so long, it's like suddenly pointing out how weird it is that we call a fly a fly. Yes, "fly" is a completely useless name for such a creature, but it's what we came up with so that's what it is.
Like the Guardians. All they do is sit there, these supposed all-powerful cosmic entities. Why do they do nothing when faced with Parallax's re-emergence, something the movie makes pretty clear is their fault? Why even include them in the film, I saw one reviewer note.
Because that's all the Guardians have done for generations of comics. They are, as I should think is highly obvious, an allegory for the slow-moving, ineffective, over-traditional, afraid-of-action, very human government.
Or the lack of serious space action from the Corps. Many reviews have expressed a desire to see all those aliens do something other than stand assembled at Sinestro's weekly town hall pep talk.
OK, I'd like to see the GLC get into some stuff. The movie has, like, one scene with the Corps in space using the rings, and most of them get cacked. I'd say this is more of a fault of the compressed movie timeline, the same reality that puts Hal in Kilowog's boot camp for about three minutes. I'd hope that we get a sequel that gives the Corps more to do, but this first film is chiefly Hal's story outside of Oa.
I suspect it is easy for people to dismiss a movie with such a patently silly set-up: bizarre aliens in space with magic rings. It's tough to dial that down to make it seem like something that could actually happen, even if it is no less impossible than what Tony Stark does in a cave in Afghanistan. Thor may have had human super-gods, but GL has the cast of an animated series at the core of the Corps.
And what about Hal? The movie nails something that has been part of Hal Jordan since forever: he is not especially weighed down by being a super-hero, he has fun with it. This is common with many of DC's lineup, and it is owed in large part to the time frame in which those characters were created, and the simpler stories DC was telling in those days.
Now, when Marvel arrived half-a-decade later, Stan and Jack put the company on the map by adding real-world issues to their super-heroes. Which certainly is a talking point, but if you go back to the early Marvels it usually just means that the hero has to worry about holding down a job in addition to being impossibly handsome, in love with two or three beautiful women, and defeating the bad guys with then-current pop cultural references.
On today's comics racks, both companies are telling the same stories, more or less. Both make an effort to have the characters seem they like could exist in our world, both try to make sense of age-old foibles of the genre so they can seem relevant and modern without losing the merchandising investment.
In the Green Lantern movie, there is an attempt to make Hal seem contemporarily insecure, but it doesn't last longer than it takes Carol Ferris to give him a good stern talking-to. Then he is back to laughing, charging in without thinking and just generally having a good time.
I've seen reviews complain that the movie tries to fit in too much stuff, and reviews that say the movie doesn't do enough. It certainly pulls few punches when it comes to presenting the comics stories as written. The origin of Parallax is just about the only swing from the books. Whenever a book (comic or otherwise) is made into a movie, the refrain typically turns to whining about what was changed. In this case, very very little substance was changed, and that is a rare treat.