I finally saw Captain America: The First Avenger and Green Lantern this week. Surprise, surprise: I didn't like either one of them. At least they were bad in different ways. Captain America fails because it's boring. Green Lantern, on the other hand, is stupid.

Captain America is a by-the-numbers action film as made by film students too young to remember the first Iraq War, much less World War II. Note to filmmakers: using spotlights or fireworks at night in New York City in 1943 would have been the equivalent of calling Adolf Hitler and begging him to "please bomb here." Halfway through the film, America even forgot who the Axis was and focused its resources on a man who built weapons without ever teaching his army how to use them.

The "period" styling of the movie looks like someone had based their interpretation of the War period by searching "retro" on target.com. Note to filmmakers: suspension of disbelief is impossible when you are constantly reminded that you are watching a movie. Yes, I understand that the movie is science fiction, but Captain America's "realistic" 1943 uniform shouldn't look like it came off the rack of REI in 2010.

The biggest problem with the movie is the complete lack of characterization. Note to filmmakers: populating your film with stereotypes -- commonly called the Michael Bay Method -- is not the same as developing characters. Did Cap's teammates even have names, or does the script just call them Bloke, Bluster, Brutus, Frenchie, Hotlips, Playboy, and Chink-Chink?

As boring as Captain America is, Green Lantern is far worse. Maybe I've read too many comic books, but the events are so predictable it's laughable. The opening scenes of Hal Jordan sacrificing his own job to demonstrate that he is an asshole have more in common with Hot Shots than the intended Top Gun. Note to filmmakers: if the audience is laughing at the character-establishing scene of a child watching his father's death, you've done something really, really wrong.

As bad as the art direction is for Captain America, Green Lantern is again far worse. The costumes are awful, the energy constructs are a mess, and the cgi looks particularly rushed. Note to filmmakers: no one is paying you to test whether ADD can be acquired while watching a single movie.

I had hoped for more from a movie made by a comic book company, but I should have known better when I heard who was involved in the creation of this film. The movie was directed by Martin Campbell, the man who directed Casino Royale and Goldeneye. I'm not especially pleased to say that he still hasn't made a single movie I like.

So that's two of the super hero movies of 2011 down. Next up: X-Men: First Class. If it's half as good as the other X-Men movies, my eyes will be bleeding too much to blog about it.

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To be continued...

 

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