Review: ‘Green Lantern’

Green Lantern

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 StudiosThor, 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-ManGreen 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.

–Knize

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Jason Knize, K-Nice if you're nasty, is a co-founder of PanelsOnPages.com, resident News Editor, and one-half of the World Tag Team Champions, The 11th Hour. You can usually find him in the most wretched hive of scum and villainy...The PoP!ulation Forums.

   

Comments (30)

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  1. Lulu says:

    I don’t care for this,saw it and it sucked. You do have pretty bad taste in movies though

  2. matt (shark) says:

    I saw this last night and my only complaint was the mask. Besides the mask I thought it was a very solid film. The other people I went with enjoyed it but I am not sure if they enjoyed the midnight showing of it. One complained there was too much back story because we got it in spiderman, not sure if she knew what movie we were at.

    I did not hate the cgi of the movie. It was almost like avatar. I thought it was a well paced movie that was enjoyable. Then again I do not know a lot about the corps. My fiance has already said she wants to see a movie with the different color corps.

    Last note, the best thing I saw last night was a dad and son leaving the film happy and talking about the movie. Now isn’t that the main idea.

  3. GL was considerably better than I was prepared for it to be. The comparison to Superman Returns feels fairly apt.

    Overall, I felt the parts that struggled the most were the pacing and the direction – virtually every part of it felt rushed, and certain parts (relatively spoiler-free eg: the return to Oa & the second recitation of the Oath) felt genuinely forced and didn’t really seem to serve the plot at all outside of a reminder that ‘this exists.’

    The CGI, I thought, was actually really really good compared to what all the trailers made it seem like it would be – they did actually feel really polished.

    My fear is that the movie may come across as inaccessible to main-stream audiences who may not have the patience to put up with the plot inconsistencies and the story jumps that seem to take us from plotpoint to plotpoint with barely adequate transitions.

    Did I think it was a terrible movie? Yes. Yes I did.
    Did it make the die-hard GL fanboy in me squeal with delight anyway? Yes. Yes it did.

  4. Mary Staggs says:

    “My fear is that the movie may come across as inaccessible to main-stream audiences who may not have the patience to put up with the plot inconsistencies and the story jumps that seem to take us from plotpoint to plotpoint with barely adequate transitions.”

    A thousand times yes, Tony. I was very disappointed in the plot. Every character just totally accepted the situations around them. Nobody once seemed to think, “Ok, this is weird.” I didn’t feel like anyone had a truly realistic reaction to Hal as GL, or to Hector’s transformation. They all just seemed to go along with it. Because of this, it jumped around a lot with no real emotion, just snapshots of moments leading up to the big battle.

    There could have been a great development in Hal’s character as he struggled with the responsibilities brought along by his new powers. The filmmakers tried to do that, but it was so rushed that it came across without any real emotion. Instead we got, “Look, bro, I totally have a sweet green suit. I just wanna play with the sweet green suit. Ok, I guess it’s time for me to grow up now and save the girl.”

    Parallax was great up close, but in the flying through space scenes looked like a mass of dirty dreadlocks. It was downright goofy.

    Worst of all, like First Class, it doesn’t make me want to read the comics. At all. :(

    • “I didn’t feel like anyone had a truly realistic reaction to Hal as GL, or to Hector’s transformation.”

      Yeah, like when the reporter was talking about the first ‘big save’ and was all “The big question is: Who is that masked man?” And not “Holy fucking shit! Did you see that racetrack made out of green light? How the shit did THAT happen??” Apparently superheroics are accepted as commonplace in this world – which I can accept as a moviegoer IF they address it in the text of the movie – which they didn’t.

      • D-Rock says:

        After seeing it for a second time, I don’t really agree with the comment regarding people’s reactions. Let’s look at those who actually interacted with Hal as GL..

        Hector Hammond – found out Hal was GL when he read his mind. And let’s face it, at that point Hector was damn near crazy so who’s to say what the proper reaction should have been.

        Tom – Hal’s best friend, who I think showed plenty of reaction, which happened to be him diggin’ it

        Carol – Who was shocked and confused when she realized it was Hal under the mask

        The Crowd – he saved at the party. After seeing it again, I realized their lack of reaction was actually shock. And the reporter is just giving the news based on eye-witness accounts, and hearing a big green racetrack appeared out of thin air probably sounded crazy. So they simply kept it to “who is this masked man?”

        Just my thoughts on that..

  5. Mary Staggs says:

    I would like to say, though, that Blake Lively is hot and she can run circles around Megan Fox.

  6. It was okay. REALLY okay. Pretty unremarkable,honestly, but definitely not bad and not deserving of the insanely bad reviews it’s getting elsewhere.

  7. If it does well enough to merit a sequel, it could be great now that the mountains of exposition are over with.

  8. HERE THERE BE SPOILERS

    Yeah, it is as mediocre as Spider-Man 1 & X-Men 1 (and even X-Men: FC). Decent enough movies but lacking real punch and power and a thought out exploration of the concept and characters could be.

    As much as I thought she would be the Katie Holmes of the movie, Blake Lively’s Carol Ferris pulled off two things we haven’t seen in a comic book movie love interest in a very long while: actively help the hero out of a jam and recognize him at first real close look, since he is only wearing a domino mask. Those aspects kind of blew me away.

    The exposition at the beginning of the movie was mostly unnecessary. They could’ve had the Guardians fill that in during their final scene, but I’m betting they were prodded to front load more exposition from the suits after test screening audiences were “confused” or something. Fact: Most test screening audience people are morons and not people that would actually be interested in seeing the film in question.

    An extra ten or fifteen minutes really could’ve added some much needed character moments, training sequences and longer conflicts with the two villains.

  9. Robert Eddleman says:

    My two word review: staggeringly mediocre.

  10. John-Michael (Batman25JM) says:

    I saw it today and I thought it was decent. I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would, but I far from loved it. I’d put it on par with Superman Returns or the Fantastic Four movies.

    I didn’t like it anywhere near as much as X-Men: First Class, and I didn’t even like it as much as Thor (which is sad since I’m a much bigger GL fan than I am a Thor fan).

    The movie had some okay spots, but I thought it dragged a lot. Something was just off with it. The pacing wasn’t the best and some things felt forced.

    I thought Sinestro, Kilowog, and Tomar-Re were wasted. Sure, Mark Strong was great as Sinestro, but he barely did anything. I also enjoyed Michael Clarke Duncan as Kilowog and Geoffrey Rush as Tomar-Re, but as with Sinestro they had little to do.

    Blake Lively was better than I thought she’d be. She wasn’t great, but she wasn’t god awful. I did think she was really hot. I prefer her as a brunette than as a blonde.

    I ended up kind of liking Ryan Reynolds as Hal. He’s not exactly the comic version of Hal, but he did well with the direction they went.

    Hector Hammond was completely unneeded. I was bored out of my mind whenever the story shifted to him. I was just waiting until it went back to Hal.

    ***SPOILERS***

    I thought the movie lacked action. It just didn’t feel like there was a whole lot. I wanted more ring slinging. Also, a villain that wasn’t a huge monstrous cloud would have been fun. I could have dealt with the lack of action if I was more invested in the story, but sadly I wasn’t.

    I thought the final battle was kind of lackluster. Sure, the constructs were cool, but it just wasn’t super exciting.

    Hal’s training was entirely too short. He got what? 5 or so minutes. Really? I’d have preferred it if it just skipped ahead a week or two (or more) and told us he’d been training for that period of time. At the end when Kilowog is congratulating himself for training Hal it just seemed so silly. He barely trained him.

    How did Hal know there was a problem at the lab? He just busts in to save the day. If there was a reason he went there I must have zoned out and missed it.

    I was thoroughly disappointed that Sinestro put on the yellow ring during the mid credits scene. I was hoping that in the sequel we’d see Sinestro’s downfall with him getting kicked out of the GLC and then he’d go get the yellow ring to take revenge.

    I could have done without Parallax. I think it would have been more enjoyable to just see Hal interacting with the GLC and do the whole thing with Sinestro’s downfall. They could have had some other minor alien threat to deal with as well.

    I did like the scene with Carol recognizing Hal. I was thinking that there was no way she wouldn’t recognize him, so I’m glad she did.

    The CGI was better than I thought it would be. I still had some problems with it (like the mask), but it wasn’t horrible. Some shots looked really cool.

    • Tito says:

      I would have been PISSED had Sinestro not put the ring on. At the end was a good way to set up the next movie…if there is one.

      • D-Rock says:

        Agreed

      • John-Michael (Batman25JM) says:

        See, I don’t think he really had reason to put it on. Prior to Parallax being defeated he did, but there really wasn’t any reason for him to do it after.

        • Jason Knize says:

          Like I said to Thacher, I felt that Sinestro had alterior motives all along, and might have sacrificed that troop of Lanterns just so that he could hammer home the point with the Guardians to create the yellow ring.

          And as far as Hal knowing there was trouble at the lab, they explained that the ring pages him whenever there’s evil afoot, kinda like a Spidey-sense. You would think there would have to be some way to alert a space cop that there’s some shit going down 10 lightyears away.

          • John-Michael (Batman25JM) says:

            Yeah, I too felt that Sinestro had ulterior motives, but I don’t think it was handled that well. I know they couldn’t make it obvious, but the way they did it just didn’t feel genuine.

            Yeah, his ring alerting him was my thought, but they said it warned him of imminent danger and I took it like it only warned him if he was in close proximity to it. Either way it just seemed odd the way he busts into the lab out of nowhere.

            • D-Rock says:

              I thought they handled Sinestro putting on the ring just fine. Remember, this is the movie world. They’re not going to get into the Weaponer’s or the Anti-Matter universe, so he had to get the ring from SOMEwhere. Plus, you could kind of see his disappointment when Hal convinced the Guardian’s not to use it. And his expression after putting it on says it all, he craves power.

              So he’s not out of the Corps yet which I think is good since we can see their relationship grow and have more meaning when he finally is exiled. That’s what I hope/expect the sequel will show.. Hal & his friendship building, his eventual exile and leaving with the yellow ring thus fulfilling his role in the comics.

              • John-Michael (Batman25JM) says:

                Oh, I’m fine with not having the Weaponer or the Anti-Matter universe. I had no problem with where the ring came from. I just didn’t like that Sinestro put it on the way he did. Like I said, I’d have preferred him putting it on after he got kicked out of the GLC.

                • Tito says:

                  I liked how they handle it. They can still show him getting kicked out of the GLC (although I don’t think they have to) This moves the story forward and means there is less set up in the next movie.

  11. Tito says:

    I enjoyed it. was I blown away no. But I wasn’t blown away by Thor or First Class. I would like to see a sequel and I think they can pull it off.

    I heard a few non comic book readers talking after the movie and they really wanted to pick up some GL books. I pointed them to the nearest comic shop and some went into the Boarders across from the theater to pick up some trades.

    I thought it was a good idea to promote the comics but I think it was in a bad place. Why at the end of the credits? Not everyone sticks around.

    • John-Michael (Batman25JM) says:

      I really agree about it being a bad place to advertise the comics. It’s nice that they did advertise them, but they did it in the worst possible place. If the extra scene with Sinestro had been after all of the credits then putting the ad there wouldn’t have been as bad. A lot of people stick around to see if there is something after the credits these days, but when you put the extra scene (less than) halfway through the credits people assume that’s it and then leave.

  12. D-Rock says:

    I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it. I thought the effects came out pretty well and I really had no complaints over Hal’s costume, which seemed to draw the most negativity previously. Even Blake Lively did better than I was expecting.

    The pacing did seem off to me though, and the Parallax effects towards the end fell apart abit. I was also hoping for more interaction from the Corps, but I have a feeling that’s something we’ll see from the next installment.

    Overall, I thought it was a decent enough first installment. There were alot of things I was hoping to see that didn’t happen, but probably will happen in the next movie. So at the very least I’m jazzed for what’s to come :mrgreen:

    BTW, the last scene.. HELL YES!

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