Mid-summer Film Follow-up.

Do you like movies, both good and terrible? Do you often feel that some movie adaptations, despite their poor film-making, feature interesting concepts and characters that you would like to see more of, in the format for which those characters were made? Scroll down to indulge in TdotComics’ reviews of some of this season’s comic book movies, along with some suggestions of source material you should check out.

Green Lantern:

It’s like a movie on fast-forward. It’s Hal Jordan, he loves his family, but this movie tells this to you so quickly that it has as much emotional impact as if Hal just said “Boy I love my family!” on his way to space. Then he goes through the motions of saving the day. It left me feeling like the movie was 30 minutes long.

Hal’s pointy mask at least looks better on Ryan Reynolds than in all the promotional artwork I’ve seen (including, regrettably, the cover of every DC comic), but it still looks pretty silly. The movie’s CGI is gorgeous, but also completely unrealistic. The movie feels less like Star Wars and more like Star Tours.

Rumours on the internet suggest that studio executives got their claws into the film and cut it up pretty intensely, similar to the way Golden Compass and Highlander 2 were treated. Perhaps if we’re lucky a director’s cut will be available on home media.

One out of five.

If you’re in the mood for some classic Green Lantern material, Green Lantern Showcase vol.1 is a great pick.
You can find the start of the modern era of Green Lantern in Green Lantern Rebirth.
If you need a jumping-on there’s a new Green Lantern #1 coming out from DC in a couple months.

Thor.

Going into Thor, I was hoping for a giant mythical war movie – something like Lord of The Rings, except for boys. Instead, it was basically an action/comedy like Ironman. Thor is not Ironman and the Lord Of Asguard requires a different tone than a billionaire playboy. Still, Thor was an entertaining movie which was enough to leave me smiling.

Anthony Hopkins as Odin and Natalie Portman as Jane Foster are qualified thespians, though they were totally overshadowed by Tom Hiddleston as Loki (villains are awesome). The Warriors Three are Thor’s god buddies who bicker and joke to make any scene funny and friendly, but in this movie they were stuck with little purpose.

This was good, but skeptical audiences understand that a lot of the big plot elements were held back for the upcoming Avengers film and Thor sequels.

Three out of five.

If you want some classic Thor, Essential Thor is excellent.

If you’re looking for a self-contained story, Blood Oath is a side-story as well as a pretty good self-contained mantasy (sic).

Also check out the wonderful start of Thor’s modern era by John Michael Strazynski, who also wrote episodes of the old Ghostbusters cartoon.

X-Men First Class.

The first half of this movie is fun. The characters interact with each other differently depending on their backgrounds and circumstances and some of them grow and change, which is cool. Emma Frost (January Jones) isn’t one of those characters, which is disappointing considering her prominence in the modern comics. But Michael Fassbender is wonderful as a young Magneto.

In the last third of the movie things start to decline – in the first half characters live for themselves, but as the movie progresses the evil antagonist emerges to bring the film to a climax, meaning that all the protagonists are caught with no objective but to stop him. This movie didn’t need a villain, the good guys here are interesting enough without them.

Four out of five.

If you’d like some classic material you can take a look at The Dark Phoenix Saga, which has been referenced in roughly a half of X-Men comics published afterwards.

For getting into the modern era of X-Men the best bet is to go with Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men, which is both polished and accessible.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

This movie is technically based on a toy line rather than a comic book, but the comic was a huge part of the toy line becoming a landmark in every Toys R Us.

I have trouble evaluating this movie without comparing it to its immediate predecessor, Revenge Of The Fallen, which was an incoherent and inane mess. Dark of the Moon feels like they took the same basic outline of the plot, and improved everything except the most crucial element: The pacing.

The action is now in a city, which is more interesting than being in a desert. The titular robots now look like characters rather than formless clouds of shiny metal and blackness. The plot has an actual twist. The girl is now blonde and has an accent that’s soft on the ears.

Everything is better, except, as I said, for the pacing. Each scene goes on too long. Action sequences are entertaining for two or three minutes, but then they repeat the same material for longer than they should while I’m stuck wondering whatever happened to all the characters outside the scene.

Two out of five.

The first Transformers story-line, before the show, was the Marvel Comic book series. It’s over now but there’s a movement to get Simon Furman to continue it.

IDW now has the license to publish Transformer comics, and starting with Infiltration they’ve built up a run about 125 issues long. However, after Megatron’s attempt to devastate Earth in All Hail Megatron, they started a new ongoing series two years ago.

Priest 3D.

This was based on a Korean comic series. I didn’t seen this movie.

-Michael Ryan spends a lot of time at the local theater, affectionately known as “El Cheapo Gigante”.

Edited by a pillow.

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