Things I Learned From Movie X: Green Lantern
By Edwin Davies
January 26, 2012
The best part of awards season for most people is catching up on all the acclaimed dramas and "funny peculiar, not funny haha" comedies that they didn't watch months ago, despite glowing reviews, but which they decide to give a chance once a body of people they don't know decides that they might be worthy of a of a god-damned statue. (Incidentally, I'm writing this before the Oscar nominations come out, so just in case it doesn't get any nominations, can I just ask you all to stop being assholes and watch Beginners already? It's really, really good.) Since I try to watch everything that I can as soon as it comes out for the purpose of review and to generally be a smarmy prick, I don't have to catch up on the quality entertainment. Instead, I choose to spend my time exposing myself to the very worst films of the previous year, because that's totally normal and *not* soul-destroying.
In pursuit of this lofty, crazy dream, fate has drawn me to watch Green Lantern, the adaptation of the DC comic series about a green space acrobat who's allergic to yellow. (I *may* have not been emotionally invested enough in the film and its dumb story to pay attention to the minutiae.) Starring Ryan Reynolds' chest and a whole load of talented actors who should have known better, its crappiness proved to be the perfect counterbalance to the blockbuster season last year, setting the bar so low that merely okay fare like Rise of the Planet of the Apes couldn't help but look terrific in comparison. Shorn of its context as a really shitty yardstick, what can Green Lantern teach us (other than "no one, regardless of species, looks good in skin-tight, bright green bodysuits," which we all should have learned by now on our own anyway)?
Imagination is a powerful thing
I'll freely admit here and now that I know nothing about Green Lantern, either as a character or as a comic series. I only really got into comics in my late teens/early '20s and, with the exception of a few Superman and Batman runs, I quickly gravitated to the non-superhero side of the medium, so I never really had the chance to sample all the various different superbeings on offer. As such, this was my first exposure to the Green Lantern universe and the nature of Hal Jordan's (Ryan Reynolds) powers, which can best be summed up as the ability to give physical form to anything he can imagine. Given the potentially limitless capabilities of his powers (not to mention the wonders that CGI has to offer these days) the film decides that all Hal ever needs to conjure up are giant guns. Whilst they are impressive, they're hardly the sort of creations that you'd hope for, given that the magic ring Hal receives allows him to create literally anything.