Green Lantern: My Review


The Good

I thought I’d start with the positive aspects of the film, though be warned there are few and I’m struggling for positive angles.

The casting is overall quite good. Ryan Reynolds is a decent Hal Jordan (though I would’ve preferred Nathan Fillion). Blake Lively does an acceptable job as Carol Ferris, though nothing special. Peter Sarsgaard does a fine Hector Hammond. Michael Clarke Duncan and Geoffrey Rush are near enough peferect voices for Kilowog and Tomar-Re respectively. Mark Strong has an excellent self superior sneer and air as Sinestro. And the other cast members pretty much provide performances commensurate with the level of quality observed in this film overall.

I can’t really fault the acting. It was ok. Mostly bland, especially Blake Lively, but acceptable.

The special effects are for the most part very good. Though I imagine in 3D they would’ve packed more of a punch (pun intended for those classical GL fans). Hal’s constructs (and particularly Tomar-Re’s one and only construct) are excellent.

The Bad

I’ll start with the effects:

The suit is ridiculous. It’s utterly annoying to look at and defies any sensible explanation whatsoever. The suggestion in the movie that it’s made of energy is just one deviation from the comic books in a long and frustrating list. At one point while Hal is flying over Oa the CGI suit and his head haven’t been computer-stitched together very well, and if you have an eye like mine it’ll bug you too. Parallax looks great and all, but we’ve seen something very, very similar in Fantastic 4: Rise Of The Silver Surfer with the big cloudy Galactus. A pointless and wasted effect. What little we saw of Oa was designed very well, but we were given very little time to appreciate it. A lot of money was wasted in this department on what essentially became the background. Not an interesting or stunning environment (see Blade Runner, or more importantly Avatar).

The script:

Even though I thought some of the casting was good, some of them weren’t given anything interesting to do, and even less to say. The inclusion of Kilowog and Tomar-Re was utterly pointless, and a waste of time. Their limited screen time and lack of contribution played more like a requirement that they be in the movie rather than convey the importance and role the characters actually have to the story. Mark Strong strutted about like the King Peacock, and did nothing except to throw in the following lines (paraphrasing/mocking):

  • “We loved Abin Sur, let’s all shout for The Corps.”
  • “You are not Abin Sur. You suck human.”
  • “Let’s make an evil yellow ring, for the inevitable sequel.”
  • “Hey Human, you’re ok.”
  • “Let’s all shout for The Corps… again.”

I’m not joking, that pretty much sums up his contribution.

The dialogue was full of exposition and laced with disappointment.

The story:

Where to start… Green Lantern tried to tell several different stories, and failed one each one. Typically most films have one story with overtones and undertones and suggestions of ideas of possibilities. Not Green Lantern, oh no. Here we got a training story which lasted about three minutes and involved the beating up of Hal Jordan. Always nice to know the minimum requirements know no lower limit. We got the Hector Hammond story, which was just a story about a guy who didn’t get the girl and who hates his dad. There was the forming of the Yellow Power Ring, which rather than be an important plot element was just a way to introduce the bad guy in the sequel. There was the without fear/overcoming fear plot, which lasted the entire movie and was shockingly bad. Then was the Parallax story, who was this films “big bad,” and which was pitiful. Let’s not forget the family issues side story that was introduced and forgotten, or the required love story element with the age old will they/won’t they/they did progression.

The most important of these plots is about overcoming fear. It is the most important element of any Green Lantern story and in this movie it is stated very plainly in a scene rife with exposition, but it is never conveyed to the audience through action or empathy. We do not share, ever, Hal Jordan’s sense of trepidation or fear. We do not share, with excitement, his desperate attempts to conquer that fear. Indeed after watching the film I couldn’t quite tell you exactly what he was afraid of, or why.

The deviation from the comic books:

Maybe I shouldn’t include this as a “bad” element but I can’t help myself. I’m not even going to attempt to list the deviations. There were so many differences, both small and enormous, that I spent a lot of the movie being irritated. I suppose this point is only really important if you’re a fan of the comics.

In Conclusion

It’s watchable. I think children will love it, for all the excitement and wonder. But for a character whose mind, whose imagination is the limitation of his abilities it felt like this movie came from the mind of a splintered 2×4. Dull and unrewarding.

I recently watched an animated DC feature called Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. It has an exceptional cast, a great story, plenty of action and it’s entertaining from start to finish. Plus it has Mogo. That’s right, a Green Lantern who’s a planet, YEAH! Save yourself the money of a cinema trip and get Emerald Knights instead. you’ll thank me later.

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