Is "Green Lantern" comparable to "Star Wars"?
Director: Martin Campbell
Conflicted would-be hero: Ryan Reynolds
Confidant female love interest: Blake Lively
Weirdo who becomes a bad guy: Peter Sarsgaard
Intense guy who is good but is awfully intense for a good guy: Mark Strong
Wait they're in this movie too?: Tim Robbins, Angela Bassett
Voices you may recognize on faces you won't: Geoffrey Rush, Michael Clarke Duncan
Reynolds did not say Lantern will trump A New Hope. So you can't compare characters or plot. But we will.
Green Lantern has no Darth Vader.
One could view Reynolds as an amalgamation of Luke and Han (the hero and the anti-hero pilot).
Looks-wise, I like Lively over Leia. But Leia, as a character, had more depth than Lively (but that's not Lively's fault; fault the script). Leia was a princess and Lively is the daughter of the president of Ferris Aircraft and heir-apparent to the company.
There is a giant, other-world weapons expert...but he's no Chewy.
The main villain, Parallax, is an anthropomorphized Death Star.
No lightsabers. But a cool ring that makes (among other things) a light-green saber.
Well, the film kind of has a Vader. Sarsgaard's character becomes infected by Parallax and Parallax is eventually like "kill the Green Lantern" and Sarsgaard is an evil crony for a few minutes. Sarsgaard doesn't end up getting the girl, so, despite being a villain, he and Luke have that in common.
If we're looking at what Reynolds really meant, he's right. Lantern has a rich mythology and the film introduces us to the tip of the iceberg. The potential for a compelling three story arc (or six) is definitely present. But Green Lantern is obviously not Star Wars, we don't need to equate the two.
If we're taking what he said out of context: Green Lantern is very similar to Star Wars.
Both have an empowering force of Good (Will/Light-side) and corrupting force of Evil (Fear/Dark-side).
Both involve outer space and alien races. But Lantern doesn't make use of alien races. There's no cantina scene. There's no clever interaction between races. Lantern is very human-centric. Aside from the green ring, and the lantern, Lantern barely introduces us to other-world equipment. No AT-AT Walkers. No speeder bikes. Lantern may have a grand mythology, but it doesn't make much use of it.
Where Lantern and Star Wars are the most similar is the awkward decisions in the realms of direction, dialogue, and plot. Some examples...
Odd shot selections:
Pick any episode, I-III, and you'll see George Lucas do stupid shit. The worst is the lack of perspective in the light saber fights. Almost all the shots are medium close-up. Two guys are fighting with swords made of burning light. And they're masters. They're fucking awesome. And Lucas doesn't show us the fight. He shows us Anakin's sneering face or Obi Wan's grimacing or Dooku staring expressionless. Dumb. While Campbell gives us great action scenes, he absolutely ruins some plot points. LIke the scene where Reynolds gets his Lantern costume. It's almost a sexual sadism-fantasy. Reynolds is in his boxers, suspended mid-air, and the camera moves around him as wires poke and prod his body, burn him, shock him (and when they shock him the camera reverts to a long shot so we can see Reynolds' muscles flex...). Then the camera cuts and we have an extreme close-up of a body part covered in green. Reynolds sits up (close-up) with his ridiculous CGI mask on. And then he starts to strut. The entire thing is strange.
"George, you can type this shit, but you sure as hell can't say it." -Harrison Ford. Lantern oscillates between real dialogue, campy/self-referential dialogue ("Doesn't the hero always get the girl?"), clunky/Star Wars-esque dialogue, Reynolds-ian jokes and sarcasm, and completely overblown/cheesy/dramatic statements.
Star Wars introduced Darth Maul, under-utilized him, and then stupidly discarded him. Luke becomes a Jedi Master but never REALLY does anything...jaw-dropping. Utterly failed on the introduction of Vader in Episode III by terrible shots and the pathetic NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (it should have been the most powerful scene in movie history). ...Ewoks... ...Digitally installing the image of Hayden Christensen at the end of Return of the Jedi... Lantern's plot, for a wannabe epic, rarely has group interaction. It's Reynolds. Or Reynolds and Lively. Or Reynolds and his friend. Or Reynolds and Strong. Or Reynolds and Sarsgaard. Or Lively and Sarsgaard. Or Sarsgaard and Bassett. Or Sarsgaard and his dad. There's one scene with Reynolds, Lively and Sarsgaard...and Lively is unconscious. There are some scenes with the entirety of the Green Lantern Corps...but no interesting action amongst them. Also, the flashback of Reynolds' dad dying in a plane crash is forced into the film when Reynolds, flying a fighter jet, is in a free fall after a dog fight. The death of the father is central to the character. But Campbell didn't NEED to show it. Not showing it would have added a tad of mystery to the plot/character, and allowed us to imagine what had happened (the crash is discussed enough). There was no reason for the backstory of Angela Bassett's character right before she's flung head first into a window.
As crazy as it sounds, Green Lantern and Star Wars have more in common than you would first think.
Did I Like It:
Not really. It was okay. I'm not a huge Green Lantern fan. So I wasn't disappointed from a fan perspective. (X-Men disappointed me--how can you have Wolverine and Sabertooth not know one another????????).
It was a mistake to make an origin story. There are enough origin stories. Superhero movies should knock it off. I want to see someone establish the character at the height of power, then if people demand an origin story, give us an origin story.
I want more Blake Lively. She surprised me
What it's good for:
-watching "the ring" in action
-Sarsgaard's constant screaming is hilarious.
-a lesson in cross-cutting/parallel development (Reynolds and Sarsgaard as hero and villain).
-looking at Lively
-the "courage" speech (for personal reasons).
-I don't think 3D is a necessity.
-there are sequences I thought were awful.
-one of those movies that makes you want to laugh at it
% Character / % Actor's personality or previous roles
Campbell: Casino Royale (I can't believe it's the same guy...)
Reynolds: Van Wilder; Adventureland; Blade: Trinity; Waiting...; Just Friends; Smokin' Aces
Lively: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants; Accepted; The Town
Sarsgaard: An Education
Strong: Kick-Ass; Sherlock Holmes; RocknRolla; Robin Hood;