“The Green Lantern” is the latest superhero movie that followed “Thor” and the latest “X-Men” film. While not bad, “The Green Lantern” is weaker than “Thor” because it lacks the human story.
Nearly every superhero movie is more than just about the superhero fighting a villain. Instead, it’s about the superhero fighting a villain and falling in love. In many cases, superhero movies are romantic comedies in a comic book disguise.
In “Thor,” we clearly get to see the flawed hero change and slowly win the heart of the girl. In “The Green Lantern,” the hero is also flawed and also wins the heart of a girl, but somehow this emotional connection between the hero and the girl is lacking and the hero’s flaw is much weaker. Here’s why.
In “Thor,” we see Thor’s arrogance getting him into trouble in a mini-story where Thor charges into a villain’s world and starts bashing people around. In “The Green Lantern,” the hero’s flaw is revealed to us as a flashback when the hero was a child. Not only does this flashback yank us out of the current story, but we’re observing the hero feeling bad about seeing his dad die, but we don’t feel it because there’s no story about seeing his dad die.
Think of it this way. If you saw a perfect stranger get run over by a car, would you feel any emotion? You might, just because you’re seeing a person die before your eyes, but now imagine you stood in line with this person, chatted briefly about his kids and his goals, and then saw this person get run over by a car. Now you’d likely feel more emotional over the person’s death because you took the time to get to know him before he died.
That’s why “Thor” works because we get emotionally involved in seeing Thor’s arrogance. In “The Green Lantern,” we don’t get emotionally involved in seeing the hero’s dad die, so his flaw is less compelling and less effective.
In “Thor,” we get to see the hero win the heart of the girl and fight to save her. In “The Green Lantern,” the hero and the girl have some history that’s hinted at, but we never get to experience their back story. As a result, watching the hero and the girl fall in love in “The Green Lantern” is about as emotionally involving as watching two strangers kiss in public. To get emotionally involved, we need to know more about each character, which “The Green Lantern” fails to give us. As a result, when the hero and girl fall in love, it means much less to us.
“The Green Lantern” isn’t bad, but it’s definitely less involving emotionally than “Thor” or some of the better superhero movies. “The Green Lantern” has the handicap of dealing with a foreign world that’s unfamiliar to us, but it doesn’t offer as compelling a story as “Thor” does.
In “Thor,” we’re immersed in the world of gods and goddesses right from the start. In “The Green Lantern,” we get thrown into this world and it’s not really that interesting beyond being just different.
“The Green Lantern” misses the emotional connection needed to make us care about the main characters. Even the villain in “The Green Lantern” is less intimidating even though it’s a super powerful being that covers an entire city. In “Thor,” Thor’s half-brother is the villain and it’s easy to see a villain as a person. In “The Green Lantern,” the main villain is a space being that floats through the air. It’s easy to see Thor punching a villain since we can understand hitting someone in the face. It’s harder to get emotionally involved in watching the Green Lantern fight against a villain that looks like a black cloud.
“The Green Lantern” misses the mark by missing the emotional connection with its main characters. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not a great one either, and this lack of emotional connection is “The Green Lantern’s” downfall.