The story focuses on Hal Jordan, a brash and arrogant pilot (played by Ryan Reynolds) who is bestowed great powers by a group of galaxy protectors called the Green Lanterns. This is about as much as I knew, prior to watching the movie. It’s gotten some horrible reviews (and a 24% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) so I wanted to see for myself. I remembered last summer when I saw The Last Airbender and enjoyed it (again, being an outsider to the source material). Maybe the same is true for Green Lantern?
“So, Adam, get to the point.”
The movie is enjoyable. The effects are cool (though his CG suit is kind of … horrible) and the fight scenes are pretty innovative. His powers are unique so we’re able to see new kinds of fight scenes, as opposed to the classic superpowers we’re used to. Ryan Reynolds is exactly like he’s always been but it works. He’s witty, charming, and badass enough to pull the role off. Blake Lively is… there. I didn’t feel much chemistry. She could have been replaced by a broomstick and had the same effect.
Here’s what the movie did right:
It exposed us to the whole galaxy of races that exist and it did so in a way that is mostly accessible to non-fans. It succeeded in the same way Thor did. We saw the world beyond Earth but yet we didn’t feel like aliens. This was probably easier to do in Green Lantern because Hal Jordan was also an alien, so he could ask the questions that the audience likely would also have. In Thor, this was a much harder task, as Thor himself was an alien in the community of Asgard.
The main villain of the film was Parallax, an alien being that feeds on people’s fear (yellow energy, opposite of the green energy of Willpower that the Green Lanterns use). He grows as the film progresses until the final climax when he attacks Earth (spoiler?). In theory, it’s a good choice of villains. Since the movie is trying to acclimate us to alien culture, it makes sense that the villain is something from another world, and something that ties in Earth, Hal, and the caretakers of the Green Lanterns, the Guardians. The villain serves as a plot point which gives us a lot of backstory in a short amount of time. There were scenes that didn’t succeed with Parallax and I’ll talk about them in the “what didn’t work” section.
What else worked? Like I mentioned towards the beginning, the effects are pretty cool. Anything that Hal Jordan can imagine, he can create. It’s fun and kind of silly at times, but he also whips up some pretty menacing weapons. And it all looks pretty cool. My biggest complaint is that flying looks super fake and his outfit really distracts me. Everything else they pretty much nailed (even most of the aliens look pretty cool).
What didn’t work?
Okay, it was a ridiculous idea to include Hector Hammond (Peter Skarsgaard) in the movie. Reason 1.) He is not cool at all. 2.) I wiki’d what he’s supposed to be like and they massacred his origin story. And 3.) He is disgusting to look at and annoying every single time he’s on camera. And really, he’s just there to waste time until Parallax shows up. The acting was over the top, the effects weren’t spectacular, and he was just generally a detriment to the film. I don’t blame Skarsgaard, I blame whoever watched the scenes in post-production and thought, “Man, this is fantastic.”
When Parallax shows up, it’s pretty hit or miss. In theory it was a solid villain choice. But I laughed when it started talking. And the effects are kind of… cartoony. When it attacks the city, it looks fantastic, but as it’s flying around space, it looks horrible.
The most interesting part of the movie was what took place on Oa (the homeworld of the Lanterns) but we spend very little time there, so that’s another disappointment. There was tons of potential but we’re only granted a little peak.
I had low expectations, so maybe that’s why I was okay with the film. Those of you that have been looking forward to this movie may have a very different experience (probably similar to my reaction to X-Men: First Class, which many are hailing as fantastic and I’m kind of “eh” about).
Ryan Reynolds is the best part of this movie, but you could rent Blade: Trinity if you wanted to see him kick some ass. Green Lantern is entertaining though far from spectacular. X-Men will probably leave a better taste in your mouth, if you’re hesitant to drop $10 on a film you’re unsure about.
And there is something in the credits, but it’s not that awesome.