Reports are coming in that Green Lantern will clock in with $52.7 Million as its box office gross for the weekend. While that’s pretty modest, the number begins to look pretty bleak when it’ll likely end up being the forth biggest superhero opening for the year (behind three Marvel films, as Captain America looks poised to do gangbusters.) Unfortunately the word-of-mouth for Lantern ranges from “boy that sure sucked” to “well, it wasn’t too bad,” which in today’s society is not necessarily good for a film that was a tough sell to begin with.
What’re my thoughts? Well as a die-hard film and Green Lantern fan, I think there are moments of the film that are absolutely good, sometimes great, but on the whole it’s disappointment city. The blame doesn’t fall on the cast; as for the most part they’re good (especially Ryan Reynolds and Peter Sarsgaard.) The biggest problem falls on the screenwriters, and all four had no idea what movie to make. I also fault Martin Campbell and Stuart Baird’s editing to a degree, as there are some very poor shot selections and editing in certain sequences in this thing. Also disappointing is James Newton Howard, whose soundtrack feels like it belongs in a crummy Saturday morning kids show.
But that’s Green Lantern’s biggest flaw and turn-off: it has no identity of its own. It certainly won’t sway those who are on the fence about going to the film. It wants to be a sci-fi epic, and when it is, the film is shining bright, and they were wise to use this in the marketing. I’ll even say the stuff where he’s being the Green Lantern is actually very good as well. The problems with the movie come in when you have to focus on what makes Hal a character. It’s too by the numbers, and is at war with itself whether it wants to be Iron Man or Spider-Man.
The bottom line is there’s no care that went into the handling of this property. True, Oa is represented very, very well and I applaud them for keeping most of the mythology in tact. The filmmakers seem interested in “just making a Green Lantern movie” rather than making something memorable. While Thor had a multitude of problems (some of which are the same as Lantern,) there was a genuine sense of care that Kenneth Branagh and his team brought to the property. It had an identity, and for better or worse, it connected with an audience who spread the word that it was worth seeing.
When I saw the picture, I was with a classmate of mine who is just as die-hard about the character and mythos as I am. Both of us had on our Green Lantern shirts, and were asked by a couple when we left how the film was, as they had opted not to see it on that night. We both informed them that while there are golden nuggets spread throughout; the sum of the movie is disappointing. They thanked us, and said they’d wait for Blu-ray. We wished them well with seeing Midnight in Paris.
Look, I’m not some fanboy who was dreading a Green Lantern picture and wanted it to fail. In fact, I’d hoped to direct or at least be a grip on one. My fear now is that the film won’t have any legs at all and we won’t get a sequel that would atone for this one’s sins. There’s a lot of potential in this mythology for a tremendous science fiction story, which sadly, Martin Campbell and his team chose not to give us. Instead we’re left with a paint-by-the-numbers movie that getting very mixed to negative reactions from it’s audience.
At the end of the day, the film likely won’t cross $300M, which is what I’m sure Warner Brothers wasn’t expecting. Instead, they’ll get what they put out: a mediocre return for a mediocre film that had all the potential in the world.