A Tale of Two Superheroes

I recently watched two superhero movies, “Captain America” and “Green Lantern.” I much prefer the former, although “Green Lantern” is not without some merit. In fact, I think it could have been done better and been a good movie. It had quite a bit of potential.

I liked “Captain America” better because the main character had a good character. He was a good, chivalrous, brave person, won’t shy away from a fight even though he knows he’s not a physically strong kind of person—in other words, Steve Rogers is the kind of guy you want as a friend. Sure, the movie doesn’t really focus on his background: all we know about him is that he is a physically puny man who tries to enlist countless times and gets turned away, until he gets accepted into a scientific experiment. But, you don’t see the emphasis that Dr. Erskine puts on being a “good man” in most superhero movies. And most superheroes we see today are brooding men or have tons of drama in their lives (Batman and Spiderman, for one). It’s refreshing to have the hero be an average joe who has “greatness thrust upon [him],” to see virtue exalted instead of trammeled. The main downside is that Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull seems a bit of weak villain. We know he wants to take over the world (I suppose that’s enough in a villain), and he is sufficiently evil, but there just seems to be something lacking in his character/background/etc. However, overall, I quite enjoyed the movie. 4 out of 5 stars.

Now to “Green Lantern.” Hal Jordan is what seems to be the typical kind of superhero nowadays–a philanderer who has some good qualities and may or may not be as jerk-ish as he seems. My main complaint is that the story seems so rushed, and the fighting scenes rather anti-climactic. Hal’s interaction with the rest of the corps is minimal, and so is his training. For the most part the corps takes an instant dislike to and expresses disdain for him, Sinestro in particular. This is somewhat understandable, as they are the elite fighting corps in the universe and much stronger than humans. Especially in view of this fact, it seems more a kind of wishful thinking on the part of the writers when they had Hal convince the Council to save mankind. Why would they listen to someone they look down on? His short ‘speech’ wasn’t even that convincing. All he says is, and I quote, courtesy of imdb.com, :  “I know that humans aren’t as strong as other species, or the smartest. We’re young, we have a lot to learn. But we’re worth saving.” He could’ve at least said something like “we may not be the smartest or the strongest, and we’re young, but we’ve got some good qualities (love, courage, perseverance, etc.) and if you give us the chance we can make use of them and be an asset to the universe. So we’re worth saving.” Or something along those lines. Another point: if, as one of the corps says, the Council created everything, they why don’t they have the power to stop Parallax??

As for the fighting scenes, Parallax just seems like such an amorphous mass of whatever that is at the same time all-powerful and easily beaten. One was able to sympathize with Hector Hammond to a certain point, but when he let himself really be taken over by Parallax, well, that was the end of it. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but nothing in this movie really clicked. I felt like it could have been done much better. Perhaps that’s just because I’m used to books where there’s more time to develop everything.

Fun flick to see when there’s nothing else on, but nothing I’d particularly recommend or want to watch again. 3 out of 5 stars.

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