Of all the superheroes coming out this spring and summer, the one I’ve been excited about the most is Green Lantern. I don’t generally read reviews, but just before the movie came out, I was seeing advanced word on Twitter that was discouraging me. Green Lantern just wasn’t getting very good advanced reviews or a good rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I went to the theater with lowered expectations and crossed fingers. The fact that I was seeing it in 3-D didn’t help, since I don’t generally like movies in 3-D and think the recent 3-D movement is nothing more than a cheap ploy to raise ticket prices.
And then the movie started and I was immediately captivated. By the end of the credits, I was exhilarated. As I told my friend Jeff, who I’d gone to the movie with, I felt like I was 10 years old all over again. I honestly don’t know why the movie isn’t getting rave reviews, because I loved it. (Well, truthfully, I do understand, because I realize not everyone likes what I like.) Also, the 3-D is really well done, which pleasantly surprised me.
This afternoon, I finally got around to seeing Thor, another movie I was excited to see, a movie that has gotten generally good reviews. And again, I felt like I was a little kid, enthralled and inspired by the movie. I don’t really understand why Thor has gotten good reviews while Green Lantern hasn’t, especially since the movies seem really similar to me. But the important thing is that I loved them both and they pushed the same Gee Whiz buttons inside of me.
Both movies move back and forth between epic, cosmic fantasy and terrestrial, personal drama. Both movies embrace the colorful melodrama of superhero comics, without veering into camp. (Both movies also feature heroes and villains with serious daddy issues. That doesn’t push my Gee Whiz buttons, but I’m amused by the similarity.) They both tell the kind of superhero story I’ve been wanting to see more of: huge, bright, trippy, thrilling, cheeky and earnest, with heroes who aren’t perfect but who honestly want to do good and struggle to be the best they can be. Neither Green Lantern nor Thor are particularly nuanced or subtle films, but both are solidly fun, entertaining and visually spectacular.
I want more of this. I want more fun, epic, cosmic stories that make me feel like a kid, wide-eyed and grinning. I want more movies, TV shows, books and comics that make me breathlessly exclaim, “Gee whiz!” Give me more mad, beautiful stories of gods and monsters and worlds in crisis.