Saw Green Lantern tonight. It was pretty good. I have only a cursory knowledge of the character and Green Lantern universe, so if there were inconsistencies, which there always are, I wasn’t aware of them. Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal, Chaos Theory, Van Wilder, Definitely Maybe and the upcoming Deadpool!) did just fine. He’s pretty easy to look at but sometimes his snarky humor, which seems to be a part of every character I’ve seen him play, can grate on the nerves. However, this worked to his advantage in the role of Hal Jordan, though perhaps not as well as it may suit Deadpool in 2014. I’m not a fan of Blake Lively (The Town, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) but she did ok as the female lead. Kept trying to figure out who Sinestro was and finally realized it was Mark Strong (Babylon AD, RocknRolla, Young Victoria, Sherlock Holms, Kick-Ass, Robin Hood, The Eagle).
The story is this: a screw up guy who’s been gifted with all kinds of talent but no real stick-to-it-ness is chosen by ‘the ring’ to be the next Green Lantern and to be in a fighting force of Green Lanterns that act sort of like policemen patrolling their little corner of the universe. Trouble ensues. He tries to reject this calling—the ring made the wrong choice!—but it becomes obvious that, even though he doubts himself, his being chosen was no mistake. [spoiler ahead—in case you don’t already know the outcome] He over comes his shortcomings, integrates some of his tragic flaw into the new person and overcomes the villain. Says goodbye-for-now to the girl and goes off to fight evil wherever it may be.
There weren’t a good deal of memorable scenes. There was a collective sound of recognition in the theater when one of the other Green Lanterns who had come to train Hal spoke with the unmistakable and impressive voice of Michael Clarke Duncan (Green Mile, Spider Man, Planet of the Apes, The Scorpion King). I was surprised at the voice of Jeffrey Rush (Shine, Pirates of the Caribbean, Shakespeare In Love, and so many more I’m not bothering to list!) as the voice of another of the Lanterns sent to introduce Hal to his new status, but it was a good fit with the character. ‘We’re going to fly now,’ he tells Hal, almost like he’s telling a child that it is naptime.
I think the reason stories like this work is because the story is about us. I love the superhero genre, as I’ve said before. There are several approaches to this kind of character that fulfill a need in the viewer/reader. This particular approach is one with which I connect pretty well. It’s the Who Me?/ It’s Me!/ Not Me!/ Oh, Maybe It Is Me! kind of story. Anyone who has struggled with who they are supposed to be in life can connect with this. Anyone who has felt like they were too much of a screw up to get it right when it counts can relate. Anyone who has been afraid of what might happen can relate.
There are times I screw up. A lot of times, actually. And sometimes I’m afraid of screwing up, of things going wrong, of not being who I need to be. I needed….I think sometimes we all need….to hear a story about someone who makes stupid mistakes just like we do and still manages to do the right thing. About feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Super hero stories are either about God or about us. This one was about us; about who we are and who we have the potential to be. Screw ups, fears and all.
Will it win an Academy Award? Nope. It isn’t The English Patient, that’s for sure. But I don’t think they were going for that and as far as I’m concerned, it was just fine. It was the story I needed to hear right now. It is worth seeing.