I saw Martin Campbell’s “Green Lantern” a few days ago. On first note I can say this: “Green Lantern” was an okay superhero movie. There have been quite a few much better ones, but also a quite few worse ones as well. The special effects were great, despite the 3D being horrible. The Actors (Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Saarsgord etc.) did pretty well. And the character development of the protagonist is done well. But the presentation of women was problematic.
The film tells about the origin of “Green Lantern”, whose real name is Hal Jordan. Hal is a test pilot, and despite being good at his job is sloppy with his schedules and can be reckless at times. Hal has a bit of a different sense for danger and rarely feels fear when he should. It is perhaps for that very characteristic he is granted a mystical ring with unbelievable powers, and finds himself as the newest member of an intergalactic squadron, “The Green Lanterns”. They are powered by will, which the color green represents. Hal is the first human to be granted a green lanterns ring, and therefore not very welcomed by the leader of the leader of the Green Lanterns, Sinestro, since he believes humans are vulnerable to fear. Hal takes Sinestro’s critic seriously and informs he will not join the squadron. However, he uses his powers to save lives on Earth. As he soon finds out his whole home planet is in danger, he must reconsider his choice of not joining the Green Lanterns…
Even if I found this film entertaining and the characters somewhat interesting, I have to say that my biggest complaint of the film is the lack of female green lanterns. During the film, we are told that the squadron consists of many different alien species from many different planets. Despite some of the posters of the film presenting female aliens among the green lanterns, we never get to hear a single word or fighting sequence from a female alien. The film gives us a glimpse of some female aliens cheering as the leader gives the gang inspirational speeches, but otherwise than that the film concentrates solely on the male aliens. When I saw the advertisements and posters for the film which featured a group of Green Lanterns, I recognized more than one female alien that was portrayed as heroically as the males. I was utterly disappointed in the film maker’s decision to neglect showing any of the female warriors, since it gave a certain feel that even if they know women can be good warriors, they just aren’t as important or as good as men.
The female human characters weren’t that good either. Carol, the love interest of the film, is shown in the beginning of the film as a competent and smart woman, but at the middle and end of the film she becomes more of a distressed damsel and muse. The first time Hal has to use his powers on earth to save the day, he not only has to save a senator, but Carol, who gets knocked out and is positioned laying unconscious where something big is bound to hit her. So Hal, dressed up as a Green Lantern, first must save an important politician and then the damsel. The scene was bit overkill with Hal having to worry about Carol as well; the scene would have been fine without Carol being knocked out. Also, Hal mentions at the beginning of the film that Carol is a good pilot and should not hold herself back as just a “secretary”. Having Carol become a pilot and allow herself to go further than she has would have been an interesting subplot that could have been dealt with very lightly in the film. But as soon as Hal mentions this aspect it is forgotten. Carol does fire some missiles at the villain towards the end of the film, which was nice. But despite that one minute of awesomeness Carol became very passive person and mostly a prize to be won by the hero.
“Green Lantern” was a letdown when it came to the portrayal of women. But Hal Jordan, as the protagonist, was written in a sympathetic and touching way. He is shown to be a bit of a screw up in the beginning. But after getting his new powers, he learns to take responsibility and grows up at the end of the film. A major theme of the film was that even a tough person must admit that sometimes they are afraid, and instead of denying it or letting it control oneself, even the strongest warrior has to learn to face fear and defeat ones fears by courage. It was great to see a film which specifically is targeted at men which major moral was: “It’s okay to be scared. Just don’t let it get the best of you”. At times, our society demands men to be strong, without fear or sorrow or other strong feelings. So “Green Lantern” was a refreshing it it’s portrayal of manliness: admit your feelings and learn to deal with them in a good way. Brilliant moral!
“Green Lantern” is an okay superhero movie one can watch once for the fun of it. That’s about it.