Sunday, February 5, 2012

Daddy Issues

OK, so we watched Green Lantern. Not really as bad as everyone says, its just that recent superhero movies have really raised the bar.

Ryan Reynolds plays hotshot pilot Hal Jordan. He is headstrong, cocky, irresponsible and reckless. His job for DefenseCo is to be the human fighter pilot that DefenseCo drones can beat in test flights. But he defeats them by outclimbing their ceiling, even though it results in his fighter going into a stall and flat spin. He chooses this moment to flash back to his father, another fighter pilot, dying in a fiery crash. And so he freezes up, just barely able to eject.

This brings down the wrath of DefenseCo, including his ex-girlfriend (Blake Lively) and her father, the CEO. But things pick up for him when he founds a crashed UFO, and the alien being within bequeaths upon him a strange green ring and lantern.

But while he is learning to use the ring, sad-sack biologist Peter Sarsgaard is recruited by government agent Angela Bassett to autopsy the dead alien. Unfortunately, he is infected by the deadly yellow energy that killed the alien, and starts to go evil crazy.

By the way, it turns out that Sarsgaard's dad, Tim Robbins, is a senator who used his influence to get Sarsaard the autopsy gig. Notice the theme yet? Reynolds traumatized by his father's death, Lively dominated by her corporate dad, Sarsgaard unable to win the respect of his father? What is it with the daddy issues in these movies? I couldn't buy Ang Lee's interjection of a paternal backstory in the Hulk. I was surprised to see so much of Tony Stark's dad in Captain America. What next, Bruce Wayne's dad's ghost? Don't scriptwriters have mothers? Don't any of them have happy families, or can't they think up any other source of conflict?

Fathers aside, the action part of the movie is kind of mixed. The CGI is assured, but can be a bit dark. The cosmic scenery is good-looking without, perhaps, being memorable. The underlyng philosophy of Will conquering Fear is a bit silly reflections of the cult of Self-Esteem (unless you prefer to interpret them as quasi-fascistic).

But a perfectly servicable popcorn movie. I'll watch the next one, too, even if it's about Aquaman.

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