Film Review: Green Lantern

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Sam Bathe on 16 Jun 2011

With the summer of blockbusters quickly picking up pace, one or more of these tent pole releases is sure to end up a massive critical and box office flop, and sadly for Warner Bros., most people’s money had been on Green Lantern.

Scared of nothing but commitment and responsibility, there’s a great man inside Hal Jordan (Reynolds), but he just hasn’t quite found out how to let him out yet. That is until a little green ring drops into his life, and his priorities are changed forever.

With the universe protected by a team of mighty guardians – the Green Lantern Corps – empowered by the force of will, every Green Lantern has the ability to create in reality what they think in their mind, but when an enemy emerges, more formidable than anyone or anything they have ever faced before, their very existence is thrown into serious danger.

After Lantern Abin Sur is fatally injured while protecting his sector, his ship crash-lands on Earth, soon casting the Lantern power out to find a worthy successor. And for better or worse, it picks Hal Jordan.

At first bemused by his new abilities, then excited, and finally almost shirking the responsibility being a Green Lantern brings, when the evil Parallax turns his attention to Earth, it’s down to Jordan to save his home planet, and at the very start of his tenure, defeat an enemy that has left even vastly experienced Lanterns inadequate to its power.

There are two types of superhero movies; hose that try to be gritty and dark (The Dark Knight) and those that try to be silly and easy-going (Spider-Man). There’s little doubt that Green Lantern falls into the latter. Following the classic superhero movie structure, it’s a film that feels familiar and easy to get into, even if much of the action and plot is utter nonsense.

Also utter nonsense, is Jordan’s Green Lantern suit. Entirely CGI, when sitting on Ryan Reynolds’ toned up frame, the body and mask don’t feel at ease at all. Similarly with some of the all-CGI characters, the size and facial work are awkwardly out, really making you wonder why the filmmakers didn’t opt for a physical outfit when it was quite clearly the better option.

At least demi-villain Dr. Hector Hammond’s (Sarsgaard) expanding head is a success, while the Lanterns’ fictional planetary base, Oa, is done very well, putting Thor’s Asgard to shame.

Just about managing to carry the weight of expectation the lead role in such a behemoth franchise brings, Reynolds is amply good as Hal Jordan, bringing his natural charisma to the role and making the most of some of the cheesy and predictable dialogue. Blake lively is solid too, but nothing extraordinary; she just about pulls off her brunette, anti-Gossip Girl role as Jordan’s colleague and love interest. Tim Robbins also has a pleasing side role as a US Senator, while Peter Sarsgaard is strong too.

Behind the camera though, Green Lantern could have done with a bit more work. The direction and editing is a little slack and it certain could have been cut together in a much snappier fashion, while the third act flies by far too quickly. A lazy and drawn-out exposition sequence at the start and annoying flashback and back-story for Hal Jordan will serve to frustrate within the first five minutes too.

There’s not much depth to Green Lantern, to be honest, you’ll probably struggle to find  many more forgettable, flyby experiences all year, but it’s a fun movie that you can lose yourself in for a little over 100 minutes and get a thrill and laugh or two along the way.


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