Release Date: June 17, 2011 (3D/2D theaters)
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Martin Campbell
Screenwriter: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett, Tim Robbins, Temuera Morrison, Jay O. Sanders, Taika Waititi, Jon Tenney, Geoffrey Rush, Michael Clarke Duncan
Genre: Action, Adventure
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action)
Official Website: GreenLantern.com
The Concept Was Nice….
When you think back to all the comic book films that have come out within the last decade, they all put on the same façade…the difference between good and evil always seem to be questionably unclear, never leaving much room for certainty in who the bad guy and good guy is. That or the notion of good and evil is left in this grey area where only the audience knows the truth, while the movie’s characters stay ignorant. The X-Men are hated by those they protect, Batman glides on very thin ice with his vigilante ways, Jonah Hex goes around slinging his pistol in the name of good, The Punisher takes fighting crime to a whole new violent level, and the Watchmen decide that the only way to stop nuclear war is by blowing up an entire city…I ask, when does good have no grey area?
Thanks to modern television, shows like Lost, Dexter, Battlestar Galactica, and Heroes, the critics rely on films to be so overthought and analytical that they hurt and ache to be meaningful. Martin Campbell attempts something which hasn’t been done since the first Spider-Man. Within the Green Lantern film we find a good guy with no real tarnished past, has no extra baggage lugging behind him, is sanctioned by a legitimate and legal intergalactic police force, isn’t fighting some physcho murderous clown, and ends up being a good man defending the galaxy against terrifyingly monstrous evil. Green Lantern on screen ended up being exactly what the comic book is, where good and evil are clearly defined and the characters within the storyline have a set and clear purpose. Very few comic book films allow for this type of cinematic prose and I applaud such a daring move on Campbell’s part.
I found myself a little underwhelmed with the entire film, as fantastic as it is. The world of Oa took me back to my childhood when films like The Never Ending Story were hibernating in the VCR. The Green Lantern mythos in and of itself personifies the greatest mythological aspect that defines DC Comics’ core. But the meat that makes Green Lantern so unique and interesting was missing within this film.
The problem exists with the lack of substance and the “plotty” nature of the film’s progression. An overabundance of character additions and plot devices make it hard for the editors to give the film a fluid two hour flow, causing the character relationships to feel forced and confusing at times. The film never stood firm on any foundation to give the story much to work with and, at times, I wondered if the film was designed to be more of a bed time story rather than an action movie because, well, I wanted to fall asleep a few times.
The film took a very strange turn somewhere in the middle of it all as Hal Jordan seemed to take a great deal of time in personal reflection and boring one on one dialog with certain characters. But even more so, the way the film was edited made me feel like I was missing bits and pieces of the storyline in order for it to make sense. His time on Oa was very brief, and his “training” was so short that the final climactic battle scene between him and Parallax seemed very out of place. There wasn’t enough buildup of this concept that will is stronger than fear to make the last bit of oratory by Jordan strong enough to feel riveting, (that and Reynolds just didn’t deliver it very well) and so much of the plot relied on this touchy feely mojo crap that was way over played. To be honest, this film’s weakest and most daunting flaw lied within the script and the editing.
The cast itself was strong. Ryan Reynolds played a superb Hal Jordan. I’ve always believed he’d be a fantastic Green Lantern, but the majority of film viewers out there had trouble believing that Van Wilder would pull off a successful Superhero. Believe it everyone, Reynolds rocked it! As for the rest of the crew, Mark Strong was the perfect choice to play Sinestro and Peter Sarsgaard freaked me out as Hector Hammond. I could have lived without Blake Lively playing the part of Carol Ferris, but she wasn’t terrible either. I could have believed in Angela Bassett’s Amanda Waller if the script didn’t make her out to be some push over government agent, but I certainly believed in Michael Clarke Duncan’s Kilowog.
For comic book readers such as myself, this film will satisfy that fanboyish need to see cool constructs and clever little shout outs to certain Green Lantern and DC Comics events that have already happened. But even with that, the film itself doesn’t provide enough excitement and made me very groggy-eyed in the process. With that being said, it’s only going to be worse for the non-comic book reader. I guess this goes to show that certain superheroes need to remain in the comic and never transcend onto the big screen. The story itself is, a stated, a simple one and very much a traditional superhero story. But the potential of this film was shot down the tube when all is said and done and delivered a film very unworthy of one of DC’s most compelling and exciting superheroes.
4 out of 10 stars