Starring Ryan Reynolds, Mark Strong, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Robbins, Temuera Morrison
Directed by Martin Campbell
This reviewer went into the latest comic book blockbuster-hopeful with basement-level expectations and only a passing knowledge of DC‘s Green Lantern and the universe of ring-wielding, color-coded space cops. Slightly underwhelmed by Marvel Studios‘ Thor, and absolutely disenchanted and disappointed by X-Men: First Class, both of which I had high hopes for, as the lights dimmed for the 12:01 showing of Green Lantern, considering the depths with which my expectations had sunk, I had this overwhelming feeling that I might just enjoy it.
Ryan Reynolds, previously known for his stints as the hot, cocky, funny guy in movies featuring eclairs filled with bulldog ejaculate, has grown into somewhat of a genre star thanks to promising turns in terrible movies like Blade: Trinity and Wolverine: Origins. Much was made of the seeming miscasting of Reynolds as Hal Jordan, many claiming that Reynolds’ comedic-timing and lack of range would have been better suited for The Flash than Green Lantern. However, I have to admit, while still clinging to his adorable-scamp persona, Ryan Reynolds takes Hal Jordan somewhat seriously, and carries Green Lantern when many of his scenes were acted opposite a tennis ball on a C-stand.
The remainder of the “ensemble” is varied, yet, suprisingly adequate. Blake Lively plays Carol Ferris somewhere between Megan Fox in Transformers and Natalie Portman in Thor, all the while, looking damn smooth. No amazing feat, admittedly. Peter Sarsgaard is fun to watch as the fallen Hector Hammond, with what little screen time he is allowed. Once he makes his transformation into the Rodriguez-ian monster he would become, you can’t help but hope that his sweaty, pussy boil of a head gets popped by a giant green thumb-and-forefinger construct. Above all (certainly, even Reynolds), Mark Strong kills it as Sinestro, just as Mark Strong tends to kill it in almost any film he’s in. I could honestly watch Strong in pink makeup, Slingblade hair, and Spock ears all day long.
Leading up to the film’s release, the most talked about and shat-upon aspects of Green Lantern were the terrible-looking CGI effects for Hal’s costume and the majority of Oa and it’s Corps denizens. Believe you me, often times I was pulled out of the movie because I was paying too much attention to whether or not Hal’s masked looked fake. For the most part, the effects were decent, and much better than shown in the trailers. Hal’s suit and mask are the biggest problems, but when not coursing with green-lit energy, the costume, which wasn’t actually there, does tend to look legitimately real. Even Reynold’s CGI costars, including Tomar-Re (voiced by Geoffrey Rush), Kilowog (voiced by Michael Clarke-Duncan), and the Guardians of Oa look better than anything we’ve seen prior to the film’s release, and on top of that, better than most of the CGI creations in the oft-compared Star Wars prequels.
I must admit, for as much as I ragged on the effects previously, the effects were easily the best part of the movie. The numerous legitimate or otherwise goofy ring-constructs make this film worth seeing. The training sequences between Hal and Kilowog and Sinestro are very creative and innovative in their use of the Lanterns’ constructs. And for as much as I hated the Galactus cloud in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the Parallax imagery was captivating, and, at times, downright frightening.
As far as the rest of the brighter spots of the film, the orchestral/rock score from veteran James Newton Howard gives Green Lantern a feel that was missing from Thor, while the directing choices of Martin Campbell showed glimpses of a want to stray from the superhero movie norm. All that being said, the low expectations certainly helped my enjoyment of the film, which in and of itself, isn’t anything revolutionary, memorable, or particularly well written. It feels a lot like a pre-Iron Man pre-Dark Knight superhero film in the same vain as the Fantastic Four series, Superman Returns, or the original Spider-Man. Green Lantern is far from great, but well North of terrible. Despite most of the film consisting of computer-generated characters and ethereal green energy, I’d go as far to say that Green Lantern is a solid foundation for what might someday become a great franchise.
3/5 Black Snakes
Final note: Yes, there is a secret scene hidden within the end credits (thanks for nothing, First Class), but even more interesting is an actual ADVERTISEMENT for Green Lantern comic books at the very end of the credit scroll. I hope this is a step in the right direction to encourage these throngs of moviegoers that plunk down their paychecks for comic book movies to eventually pick up an honest-to-goodness comic book, from, preferably, a great comics retailer like our very own Superfly Comics and Games.