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The ‘Green Lantern’ Movie: What Went Right and What Went Wrong


‘Green Lantern’ cleared 50 million bucks on its opening weekend, and while others will undoubtedly discuss what that means for the movie, a possible franchise and DC Comics, what’s vastly more interesting is talking about the movie itself. It was entertaining, but flawed. After the jump, we’re going to sit down and discuss five things about ‘Green Lantern’ — four things it got wrong and one thing it got right. SPOILERS FOLLOW.

WRONG: Damsels in distress are passe.

Endangered loved ones are a common trope of action cinema, but let’s be honest here: We’ve seen it so often that it’s clichéd and lazy. ‘Spider-Man,’ ‘The Dark Knight,’ ‘Iron Man’ and plenty of others have all had scenes where the hero’s love interest or lady friend gets in trouble and needs to be rescued. It’s usually followed by a scene where she shows that she is just as capable as the hero, either by attacking the villain or by performing some other action to make up for being kidnapped. ‘Green Lantern’ features a scene where Blake Lively, as Carol Ferris, gets kidnapped and used against Green Lantern. It goes exactly how you would expect: The hero frees her, drops a quick quip, and later needs her help.

The problem is that these scenes are always, always predictable. She isn’t going to die, because then the hero is a failure and the movie is depressing. So, if it’s perfectly predictable, the five or 10 minutes spent on revealing how much danger the female lead is in is essentially wasted. The audience doesn’t learn anything new. The most we can hope for is a neat bit of action. These days, that just isn’t enough.

WRONG: Hook us, don’t bore us.

‘Green Lantern’ opens on a voice-over explaining the role of the Green Lantern Corps. This is valuable backstory and gives the film sort of a Star Wars feel. It feels like a space epic, with flybys of stars and galaxies. The problem is, all of that stuff the narrator is explaining? It sounds really fascinating; space cops imprisoning galactic-level threats, patrolling the cosmos, and more. It sounds like the sort of thing that you would want to see rather than have someone explain to you. The fact that the movie opens with a voice-over that explains the plot and then moves on to a minor action sequence, instead of a slam-bang action sequence, is a mistake. I’m theoretically part of the target audience for this movie, and bland narration doesn’t cut it.

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