Friday, April 6, 2012
Bored of the Rings
The Green Lanterns are space-faring policemen gifted with green rings that can make anything the bearer thinks of, so long as his, her or its will power is strong enough. An angry yellow cloud -- perhaps the cloud Grampa Simpson was yelling at -- threatens the universe. New GL recruit Hal Jordan of Earth turns out to be the only Green Lantern plucky enough to defeat the cloud, actually a fear-eating being named Parallax.
There`s a lot of flying around and space vistas and scenes that look like video-game cut scenes, and surprisingly little superheroing. The overstuffed, undercooked plot doesn`t give Hal any room to fly around saving people from things more mundane than a talking, planet-sized cloud. Instead, we get endless exposition about things that are, frankly, often very silly once removed from their comic-book context.
One of the problems is that this isn`t Lord of the Rings -- which is to say, the Green Lantern mythology isn`t a coherent one shaped by one mind, but rather an accretion of ideas from six decades and counting.
Comic-book writers often hold onto inherently stupid ideas because those stupid ideas are part of a character`s continuity, and thus sacrosanct (and, possibly, copyrighted). Here, one such long-standing bit of nonsense -- the idea that 3600 Green Lanterns patrol a universe divided into 3600 sectors by the Guardians, one GL per sector -- gets trotted out again. I don`t even want to begin calculating how many solar systems that would encompass for each GL. Trillions. They must accumulate a lot of frequent flyer miles.
Another bit of nonsense -- the cloud`s name is Parallax -- also gets trotted out. Why is a giant cloud named Parallax? Well, there`s a convoluted explanation that unfolded over decades in the comic book; here it`s just tossed out, another clunker. That fascist GL Sinestro is named, um, Sinestro was fine for a comic book aimed at children in which names can be glaringly descriptive of character. In something ostensibly aimed at adults, it's stupid.
And don`t get me started on the age gaps among the actors playing supposed childhood playmates Hal, Carol Ferris, and Hector Hammond. There's a 17-year spread, a detail that wouldn't be as much of a problem if the actors (Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, and Peter Sarsgard, respectively) didn't pretty much look as mismatched as their actual ages. So it goes. Not recommended.