Green Lantern: actually doesn’t suck
The money I paid to see Green Lantern would have been well-spent just for the character of Carol Ferris, who is probably the best female character I’ve seen in a superhero movie in quite a while.
The rest of the movie is, contrary to what I’d been led to expect, not terrible. Yes, the central idea is goofy (glowing space cops who use the green energy of willpower!), and yes, the “good guys” make one monumentally stupid decision partway through the movie, and there are smaller details in the story and script I would have tweaked. But Hal Jordan, the main character, is not nearly the “dur, I’m a man-child who can’t take anything seriously” disaster the first trailer seemed determined to advertise him as, and the central theme is better than some I’ve seen lately.
And Carol Ferris. She is smart, and competent, and not terribly interested in Hal’s bullshit (though she’s interested in him sans bullshit), and she does actual useful things. Not the best actress in the world, and there’s one thirty-second scene where I would have rewritten all of her dialogue, but it was the only sour note; the rest of what they did with her, I liked a great deal. Spoiler cut:
It started with the argument after the plane crashed, when Carol said she didn’t have to choose between being a pilot and a businesswoman. The earlier argument between them had danced close to the line of “strident perfectionist woman chides man-child for his stupidity,” but this was Carol standing up for her own life, rather than being obsessed with Hal’s. Then two things at the party: first, her interpreting Hal’s compliment as being about the plane rather than her dress, and second — the moment where I really started liking her — when she called for emergency aid even before the helicopter crashed. Actual clear thinking in a crisis, holy shit. Instead of standing there and screaming.
Then, oh my god. The balcony scene. “I’ve known you since I was a kid! Did you think I wouldn’t recognize you because I can’t see your cheekbones?” I had already leaned over to kniedzw and made my usual sarcastic comment about a tiny fig-leaf of a mask “hiding” somebody’s identity, so I burst into delighted cackles when she saw right through it.
And finally, the confrontation with Hector. I kind of wish the “why don’t we swap and let her choose?” idea had gone through, though I see why it didn’t; at least the line nodded toward her agency, rather than leaving her as bait in the air. Once she was on the ground, she actually got to do something useful, with the missiles and then retrieving the ring. She was not left to play Damsel In Distress all through the final confrontation. Thank god.
What would I have changed? The dialogue on the roof right after that, when she inexplicably fell into “but you’re going to die!!!” right after being the one to tell him he needs to be couragous. (Maybe it was her cunning plan to amp up that whole “overcoming fear” thing?) It was cheesy and out of place. But there was enough success with her character that I can get past it.
So yeah. It is not the best superhero movie I’ve seen in the last five years, but it was entertaining, and far better than some of the dreck they’ve been putting out lately.