Green Lantern ReviewJuly 16, 2011
This review may contain some spoilers.
DC Comics’ Green Lantern makes his long awaited debut on the big screen. So how did it pan out?
Not too great. I went into this movie with very low expectations based on the bad word of mouth it had been receiving. The movie never blew away those low expectations, either.
Hal is a reckless, cocky pilot when the movie starts, and he seems to have pissed off most of the people in his life who care about him. Shortly after an accident causes him to lose his job, Hal encounters a dying alien named Abin Sur, who passes the Green Lantern torch to him before he dies, saying that the ring chose him as his successor. A Green Lantern must be responsible and fearless, and so Hal thinks that the ring has made a big mistake in choosing him.
After the ring is bonded to him, Hal is sent to the Lantern’s home world of Oa. It is there that he meets Sinestro, a great warrior who is resentful of Hal, whom he believes is unworthy of the legendary Abin Sur’s ring. He is also greeted by Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan), a giant beast of a drill instructor, and the intellectual Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush). He is beaten down by Kilowog’s harsh training and Sinestro’s down-talking, and after being pushed too far, he quits, saying that the ring made a mistake in choosing him.
Back on Earth, Hector Hammond (played by a nigh-unrecognizable Peter Skarsgaard), a highly intelligent professor and son of a senator (Tim Robbins), is visited by the government, who wants him to study the alien Abin Sur’s body. While examining the body, he is infected by the fear energy that killed Abin Sur, by way of Parallax, a dumb looking Galactus ripoff, fueled by terrible CGI. Hal must overcome his fears of the past, his memories of his dead father’s terrible plane crash, and now Hector and Galactus… erm, Parallax, if he’s to make Sinestro proud and live up to his hype as a Lantern.
The movie itself, however, far from lives up to its hype. With a director like Martin Campbell, who revitalized the aging James Bond franchise, you would think the movie was in good hands. However, this movie is just one more in the long line of 3-D driven special effects spectacles that try to cover up the film’s lack of true substance and story. As you could probably tell from my long winded retelling of the film’s setup, the story is terribly confusing, with too much going on, too many characters and too much CGI to distract you. This is DC’s version of X-Men: The Last Stand (an arguably better movie).
The CGI in the movie ranges from terrible to amazing. The time spent on the planet Oa, home of the Lanterns, is arguably the most well done, with thousands of cool looking alien species serving as Corps members and a beautiful skyline. Hal’s training on Oa is by far the most interesting visually and story-wise. It’s a shame Hal’s time on Oa only accounts for about 15 minutes of this movie.
Once Hector Hammond makes his debut as a dumb looking giant-headed, ugly ass guy in a wheelchair, the film becomes plain laughable. His character is far from intimidating, and I can’t understand why they decided to put him in the movie. Near the end of the film he reveals his feelings for Hal’s girl Carol (Blake Lively) and how he’s despised Hal since they were kids- which seems thrown in at the last minute since the film makes no mention that they all grew up together. Sarsgaard’s performance is hammy and terrible, and you just want his character to die a horrible death form the moment you see him. You’ll understand once you see the film- he pretty much just wastes all the time he was onscreen, which could have been much better served on the awesome looking planet Oa.
Likewise, the main villain, Parallax, is dumb, stupid looking, and not as intimidating as everyone in the movie makes him out to be. The final confrontation between Hal and this absurd looking villain could have been a great opportunity to showcase the cool looking ranks of the Green Lantern Corps, but I guess they ran out of CGI money there or something, because even Parallax himself looks like he was created by a budget, basement CGI team normally used for Sy-Fi channel garbage.
Some people were complaining about Ryan Reynolds being cast in the role of Hal Jordan, but he is bar none the best thing in the movie. He is the only character you actually care about, and his acting ability and charisma are the only thing keeping this film from being totally unwatchable. Blake Lively is pretty good in her role, which doesn’t give her much to do besides look pretty and have one cool Top-Gun style flight sequence in the beginning of the film.
There are so many things wrong with this movie that I can’t detail them all, even in this now close to 1000 word review. It isn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen, however Hal Jordan, one of DC’s few well-respected characters, deserved much better. As it stands, Batman is still the only DC character with movies worthy of his comic pedigree, and that’s a real shame.