Green Lantern (2011)
Plot: A race of beings known as the Guardians harnessed the green energy of will power millions of years ago. The power is given to hundreds of rings that choose different warriors throughout the universe in order to protect it. They are known as the Green Lantern Corp. When Parallax (an old enemy of the Guardians) returns and destroys the Green Lantern’s greatest warrior, Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), his ring is given to the Corps’ first human, a reckless test pilot named Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds).
Green Lantern is one of the most disappointing superhero movies ever made. The concept and story of Green Lantern is so bad ass, but what we get instead is an underwhelming ‘going through the motions’ story that just seems to have a lack of energy. Now Green Lantern isn’t terrible. It’s okay. There’s a lot to like here. The acting is pretty damn good all around. Ryan Reynolds puts his heart and soul into this movie. Reynolds brings his usual Reynolds charm to Hal Jordan, but when he has to be a serious superhero, he delivers. I also like Blake Lively as Carol Ferris, whose character is so underwritten, yet she’s able to elevate the material significantly. She and Reynolds have great chemistry. I like their quiet moments when they are just at a bar talking. The romantic angle usually fails in superhero movies, but here, it’s actually one of the highlights. One of the best moments in the film that I won’t spoil is when Hal as Green Lantern flies outside Carol’s office and they call out one of the suspensions of disbeliefs we always accept in superhero movies. I also enjoyed the other Lanterns, such as Mark Strong as Sinestro, and the voice acting of Geoffrey Rush (Tomar-Re) and Michael Clarke Duncan (Kilowog). Tomar-Re was especially great, and I love when he explains the way the ring works. But the film needed more of this! The Green Lantern training and Hal’s interactions with the other Lanterns is clearly the most intriguing element to the film, yet this lasts all of maybe ten minutes. That’s bull shit. The one performance I didn’t like was Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond. I get he’s supposed to be weird and creepy, but it was over done to the point of camp. They went too far. And he’s completely underdeveloped as a villain. This leads to the editing, which is just terrible. It’s clunky and awkward. The worst is when Hal is about to say the Green Lantern oath at the same time Hector is getting infected by the alien body. They keep transitioning back and forth between these two important scenes, and ultimately, the emotion of each moment is lost because of it. The villains in general just sucked. Parallax (the embodiment of fear) is nothing more than a puff of smoke. Come on! A floating cloud?! That’s your big villain! Parallax is born because one of the blue Guardian guys is infused with the yellow light of fear. Parallax should have looked more like the Guardian, in other words, more like a living being rather than a cloud of smoke. This just doesn’t work as a central antagonist. And he didn’t even look cool. The special effects in general are poor. The space scenes especially looked horrible. In the opening moments, they flash a still photograph of Abin Sur in space…Wow. And Oa (the planet home of the Green Lantern Corp) is so uninspired. It looks like a random mess. And it’s not helped by the fact that this came out in the wake of Thor, in which Asgard looked absolutely gorgeous. The best special effects in the movie are the Green Lantern constructs Hal makes with his ring…those are awesome. I also liked the look of Hal’s Green Lantern costume, especially with the green energy flowing inside his chest symbol. That was pretty nice. But honestly, the absolute worst part about this film is the score. It hurts the movie significantly. It sounds like it belongs in some C-level action flick they release in February. I’m surprised, because James Newton Howard did the score. I don’t know what the hell happened here, but it’s atrocious. At the end of the day, I blame the director (Martin Campbell). If the actors are giving good performances and elevating the material written on the page, then why does the movie feel so lack luster? That’s on the director. Like I said, this isn’t bad, and I would give Green Lantern another chance in a sequel, but definitely with a different director. I was really pumped for this movie when it came out, but when the credits rolled on, the first word that came to mind was ‘meh.’
Rating: 6 out of 10 (‘meh’)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):
Best Performance: Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern
-He practically carries the whole movie. He’s funny, serious, and commands the screen. If he wasn’t in this, I think this movie could have been a lot worse.
Worst Performance: Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond
-I get the character is supposed to be odd, but it was just too strange. There are these little moments where he slightly dips his tongue into a drink, and it just feels like they are over doing it with the weird factor. He’s got a few good moments, but this just didn’t work for me.
Best Line: “Have you concluded admiring yourself?” –Tomar-Re after Hal struts in his new suit
-Hal strutting around in his Green Lantern suit was bad, but they totally made up for it with this line. It’s delivered perfectly by Geoffrey Rush. I wish we could have seen more of this character.
Worst Line: “You’re a superhero.” –Tom to Hal after he reveals the suit
-I just hate self-referential lines like this. Does he really have to refer to him as an actual superhero in a superhero movie?
-When Green Lantern fights Parallax on the streets ofCoastCity, it’s pretty good. There’s just a lot of cool constructs. When they get into space though, it’s really lame. When Green Lantern flies around the asteroids, it’s just cringe-worthy. There was one cool shot when he levitates in front of the sun though.
-Hal goes off to fight Parallax by himself, and no one goes to help him! What a bunch of dicks! Especially the all righteous Sinestro, who just days earlier gave Hal shit about being afraid. But he’s just like, ‘Yea, good luck dude.’ What an ass bag.
-When Hal reveals himself as Green Lantern on Earth. I really liked how he saves the helicopter. The race track construct looked pretty slick, and the determination and concentration on Reynold’s face was great to see.
-I don’t know what the hell they were thinking here, but the flashback scene of Hal’s dad dying was embarrassing. Its horrible acting all around, but the worst is when Hal’s dad gives him thumbs up right as his plane blows up. A thumbs up…ugh.
Bob: Watch your back.
Hal: That’s impossible, Bob.
Haha. That’s only a line Ryan Reynolds could deliver with such perfection.
Bad Ass Moment:
–Green Lantern flicks a truck into Parallax and then creates a gatling gun to blow it up…awesome.