My Sunday morning started with my seven-year-old son trying to make his dad a father's day sandwich with smoked salmon and peanut butter. Luckily for his father, he couldn't find the peanut butter. While he made another breakfast combo, my son asked, "So, do you still want the Green Lantern?"
Honestly having no idea what he was saying I paused and said, "Can you explain?"
"Do you still want him for your favorite super hero after seeing the movie?" he asked. Well, the answer I told him was, "Yes".
But I know why he's asking.
First of all, he got to see the movie, sort of. Unfortunately, he only saw about half of it because his dad and I spent most of it covering his eyes from the horribly violent scenes. And yes, you could argue good parents would pre-screen a movie like this. In our haste to see it and our familiarity with the characters, we thought it would be OK.
Secondly, I, his mother, have been building it up for a year in all of our minds. We are a Justice League family after all. I don't mean we're secret super heroes like The Incredibles. My husband and I and our three kids just love the Justice League. The animated series really does justice to all of the DC Comic heroes. It's got humor, imagination, love, lust, failed relationships and successful ones. I admit, some of it can be dark, but it's still pretty much age-appropriate for kids seven and above.
Honestly, even though I'm happily married, I was thrilled at the idea of the understated and sexy Ryan Reynolds playing the understated and sexy Green Lantern. In fact, he did not disappoint. But the script did.
What's the best, most awesome, crazy-cool aspect of Green Lantern's Ring? IMAGINATION! Without his wonderful imagination, he has no defense. In The Justice League episodes he surprises and delights constantly with his choice of weapons. He has giant hammers, machine walkers, fancy gargantuan guns, even a dozen green hands throwing snowballs in a snowball fight. He rocks.
Green Lantern is not super funny, but he is somewhat. He's always putting his heart into everything, even when he has a lot of macho underpinnings.
In the movie script there wasn't much humor and there weren't many great weapons or heart-felt moments. The earthly villain was a physically hideous creature that didn't compel anyone to care. He starts out full of self pity and loathing and ends up that way. And the man's actions are dark, very dark.
Our youngest son left the theater angry... angry that he couldn't watch most of the movie and very unhappy about the parts he saw. My husband and I felt the same, angry we had to think so hard while watching it, about when to cover his eyes and what the hell was going on with the plot. I go to a movie to escape and become involved. It sounds silly to say about a superhero movie, but there were parts I just didn't believe. The movie is an outline of the original series, but the subplots were complex and unbelievable. The main character, Hal Jordan, is the man who becomes Green Lantern. But some of his struggles with flying a jet don't seem to ring true to his character in the movie.
Additionally, they really left Green Lantern with little to do with his big green ring and all its powers of imagination. The weapons he used just weren't that clever. Green Lantern recites an oath to a green lantern to re-charge his ring. I hope the director, producers and writers recite one if there's a sequel.
I'm thinking something like:
In tightest budget, in pressure from execs,
We'll keep in more humor, and cool green weapons,
And make it good for kids, what the heck
In brightest day and darkest night
We'll get Ryan Reynolds in green tights
But the villains will have imagination powers too
Then the fights with the rings will be fun for you