Yeah, I'm gonna ramble about that movie. SPOILERS, dummies!!
**Well, at least it wasn't Krona again...
**Why is it that, with kajillions of dollars for the best special effects money can buy, these wizards keep taking these horrifying villains...and turning them into big scary clouds?? Really, it was bad enough with Galactus...but Parallax?!? A big scary cloud with a face? That's the best you can do??
**You know the best way to deal with the awkward legacy of 1960s comics presenting Tom "Pieface" Kalmaku in an ethnically offensive way? Completely strip all vestiges of ethnic identity from the character! Yay!!
**When looking at reasons why the movie had a disappointing box office, this article does a pretty good job of critiquing the sucky way Warners marketed this film. It's directed by the man who directed two of the best James Bond films ever, not to mention the action-filled Zorro flicks. Was his name mentioned in a single ad? Was any attempt made to draw in action movie fans by saying, "From the director of Casino Royale and The Mask Of Zorro?"
You had some decent co-stars, but if you just watched the trailers, you probably had no idea Angela Basset was in it, or Tim Robbins. Yeah, their roles were small, but would it hurt mention they're in the movie, and attract some older viewers, or some women?
Nope, the trailers just emphasized CGI and CGI and, well, more CGI. Instead of trying to pitch creative credentials or quality, they made it look (to the uninitiated) like it was going to be Avatar-lite with super-heroes and much worse special effects, and no sexy cat ladies. Warners marketed the film strictly at the people who were already going to go see it, the Green Lantern fans. Surprisingly, that's all they got.
**As to why the movie was ripped so harshly by the critics, I have a suggestions: The CGI--not only the over-reliance on it, but how it was used structurally in the film.
The film heavily front-loaded itself with special effects. How much of the first 20 minutes *wasn't* CGI? We start with cartoon aliens in a cartoon planetoid unlocking a bigger cartoon; then two mostly CGI aliens hold conversations over the radio while standing in front of CGI ships; a CGI cloud attacks the CGI ship and alien; the alien flies off in a CGI escape pod. Then, after about 3 minutes of Ryan Reynolds not-particularly-witty expositional banter, it's back to a lengthy dogfight in computer generated planes, which the ground crew watches as uninteresting video game images on a status board.
I think a film, particularly one that requires more than the usual suspension of disbelief from the audience (and critics), works a lot better at connecting with the audience if it's grounded in the first scenes, if we get to know some of the human elements a bit better before you go all Electric Ladyland. Yes, all of you out there can come up with counter-examples, but none that go to the extreme this movie did in throwing viewers of the deep end and hoping they'll accept all the non-reality they're confronted with before we get to an actual human scene.
Again, like the marketing, this film was constructed with the fanboys view in mind, not the general public. Put the people first, and then bring in the cartoons--you're not Pixar, people...you're computer work isn't enough to enchant people on its own, and your writing certainly isn't.
**Parallax suffered from "villain fluctuating power syndrome." (see also Nero's ship in Star Trek (2009)). First, we're told that Abin Sur, by himself, initially captured and imprisoned Parallax (a former Guardian!!). After he escapes, he's seemingly all-powerful--he kills lots of Green Lanterns, lays waste to entire civilizations, is unstoppable. Then he gets to Earth, and Hal Jordan takes him down pretty easily. Seriously, Parallax is too stupid not to get sucked into the sun...and the rest of the GLC couldn't touch him?!?! (In fairness, I've heard that Sinestro, Kilowag and Tomar-Re show up to help Hal in the final battle, but it's on the cutting room floor).
**OK, big SPOILER here, seriously--
The post credits "ooh, look, Sinestro took the yellow ring!!" scene is completely unsupported by the character as shown in the movie and by the story. Sorry, it's just fanboy gratification.
Obviously, Sinestro is underdeveloped in the film--unless I missed a line, they never even mentioned his name on screen during the whole film!!
Yet, there's no reason for him to rebel, is there? The Guardians give in to his every desire in the movie!! He wants a meeting, he gets it. He wants a task force, they say yes. He wants the full story, they tell it. He says he needs a yellow ring, they make him one. Why, exactly, is he abandoning the green for the yellow by grabbing that ring at the end?
Furthermore, it seems like Hal Jordan proved conclusively that willpower could beet fear, that the green could beat the yellow. So if Sinestro is seeking more power, the movie has shown him he's barking up the wrong tree. And he's lecturing the troops at the end--we're united now, nothing's more powerful than will, blah blah. So why grab the yellow ring?
There is nothing--NOTHING--in the movie to hint that Sinestro is disgruntled, is dissatisfied with the Guardians or feeling constrained by the Corps; nothing to suggest he's jealous of Jordan, or power hungry, or believes willpower is no longer enough.
Now, if you want to use this as your plotline for your second movie, great--but introduce it there, develop the idea--don't just plop down this revelation at the tail end of the first movie with absolutely no foundation.
But Marvel has those really cool post-credit scenes that build so much buzz...so we've got to do it, too, says DC. Sigh...
**Speaking of the way Marvel does things...would it hurt to give us just the tiniest bit of DC Universe fan service? Yes, I know, they don't plan any crossovers now, and they're kind of...impaired...when it comes to coordinating franchises. But still, would it hurt you to have a reporter say at the end of a story, "In other news, in Gotham City today..."?? Namedrop Metropolis or LexCorp somewhere? Have a Lantern casually mention that humans look like that race on Rann? Some tiny indication that this film is taking place in a wider universe? Please??
**Hector Hammond is just M.O.D.O.K. with poor fashion sense and lower self-esteem. I'm just saying. And having him get his powers and turn evil because he's infected by Parallax gunk left on Abin's corpse a) is pretty silly, and b) means that Hammond was pretty much the worst "exo-biologist" in the world. Again, just sayin'.
**I would critique Ryan Reynolds performance as kind of slight and lethargic...but then again, he's playing Hal Jordan, so--nailed it.
**I liked the variety and imagination shown in the ring constructs. Much better than, say, the Justice League animated series.
**So--serviceable super-hero movie, certainly not bad, marred by some structural problems and a post-credit scene that makes no sense given the movie we've just seen. Thor and X-Men FC were better...