I've been a fan of Green Lantern in his various incarnations in DC comics since I was a kid, although I've often been frustrated by how the power ring was used. (Giant green mallets, come on--.) As with a lot of the comics out there, the incessant reboots of the DC Universe have put me off reading them, but I still have a fondness for the character.
We thought that what was done with the character and the milieu was far from perfect, but still pretty good. The 1960's Hal Jordan was of course an "All American hero". Eventually, he evolved into rather a jerk in the famous "Green Lantern/Green Arrow" series, which has kind of been part of the character ever since. The movie starts off with a reasonable modicum of jerkiness which is intended to make the character (played by Ryan Reynolds) more human and likeable. At least he acknowleges that he is an "asshole" and shows some self-knowlege of his collection of issues.
The movie follows the classic origin, wherein Jordan receives the Power Ring from the dying alien, not knowing what it is. However, he soon recieves an initiation notice from the Green Lantern Corps, which is, in my opinion, one of the weakest parts of the picture. I don't know why an ancient and galaxy-spanning group like the Corps should have to rely on Marine boot-camp movie cliches as a training regimen, but apparently the writers couldn't come up with anything better.
Much more interesting is the development of the local villain character, Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), who goes from being a friend to a monster, and seems actually to be getting "high" on his alien inspired power, despite the grotesque transformation it causes. The big-bad boogeyman of the film, Parallax, is largely devoid of character or sensible motivation, and exists only to be defeated. I really question the judgement of introducing and so cavalierly destroying one of the major villains of the Green Lantern canon so early on, which would make one wonder what they will do for a sequel, were that not telegraphed at the end.
The visualization of the planet Oa, home of the Green Lantern Corps and the Guardians of the Galaxy, was nicely done as were the many alien members of the Corps, in particular well-known characters such as Sinestro (Mark Strong), Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan), Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush) and Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison). It was also a bit interesting to see the character of Amanda Waller (Angela Basset--I would have cast Queen Latifa, myself) introduced into the Green Lantern canon as the front woman for a "man-in-black" agency. In the comics, Waller is one of the DC Universe's master manipulators and back-room-dealers, which makes me wonder if Warner Brothers has a role in mind for her similar to the Samuel Jackson "Nick Fury" character in the Marvel movies leading up to "The Avengers"--. "Justice League," anyone?
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