PG Cooper: Green Lantern Review

Posted: October 16, 2011 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Release date: June 7th, 2011

Running time: 114 minutes

Written by: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, and Michael Goldenberg

Based on: The character “Green Lantern”, created by John Broome and Gil Kane

Directed by: Martin Campbell

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, and Tim Robbins

I remember way back when I first started hearing about a Green Lantern film, I got really excited. I’ve been wanting more DC characters to be adapted, and Green Lantern looked like a character who’s world lent itself to movies well (granted, my biggest exposure was to the John Stewart character on the Justice League show). Then when I found out Martin Campbell would be directing, I got really excited. Martin Campbell made two of the best Bond films with GoldenEye and especially Casino Royale. I was expecting Green Lantern to be as good as the first Iron Man. Those expectations were dashed and shattered when the first trailer came out. It looked terrible, and I was really disappointed. Then the movie came out and just got blasted by critics. I ended up avoiding it in theaters knowing that I would inevitably see it when came out on DVD. So now that I’ve seen Green Lantern was I smart for avoiding it in theaters, or should I have had more faith in Martin Campbell.

Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a reckless test pilot for Ferris Aircraft. He finds himself chosen by a dying alien to bare a ring of power. He then finds himself amongst a society of  ring wielding aliens known as the Green Lanterns. The Green Lanterns are facing a powerful threat in the form of Parallax (Clancy Brown), an entity that feeds on fear. On earth, Hal is trying to mend his relationship with his old friend Carol (Blake Lively) while dealing with his old friend Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) being infected by Parallax.

That plot description I just gave is far more coherent than the actual plot of the film. The plot is such a jumbled mess that it’s hard to focus and actually irritating to watch. The film jumps around a lot and there isn’t enough time to get attached to anything. There’s a seen early on where Hal is with is family and there’s some drama, and then those characters never come back at all. Then there’s the Hector Hammond character. The film tries to act like him, Hal, and Carol had been longtime friends since they were kids. But you never really feel a friendship and there’s no scenes where we see their friendship, we just hear people talk about it. Then there’s Parallax, who the entire film is dedicated to making this ultimate villain. Problem is Parallax is a boring villain. He’s pretty much just a big cloud that goes around smashing things. Also, despite being in the film from the very beginning, he never feels like a genuine threat.

Another thing that really grinds my gears about this film is the theme at the center of it. The movie revolves around fear and overcoming it. This is reflected in it’s villain who preys on fear. For the hero, that fear stems from seeing death when they were a child. That description sound interesting? It should, Green Lantern stole it from Batman Begins. It’s bad enough that they ripped off the theme and the way it’s used from another film, but they also stole it from one of the best comic book films of all time, one all comic book fans have seen. Did they really think nobody would pick up on the connection? Green Lanern was bad enough on it’s own, but for it to constantly remind it’s audience of Batman Begins didn’t help.

A great super hero can make the film though. Unfortunately Ryan Reynolds isn’t really acting in this, he’s just being himself. I don’t mind Reynolds’ usual schtick but in this he was pretty annoying. I’m especially disappointed with Reynolds because in Buried, he proved he was a pretty good actor. So for him to fall back on just being  himself was lackluster. The rest of the cast isn’t any better. Blake Lively is playing generic love interest number seven and Peter Sarsgaard got on my nerves pretty much every time he was on screen. The only actors who were alright were some of the Lanterns, particularly Geoffrey Rush, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Mark Strong. But overall, this cast was really weak. Oh and why the hell is Tim Robbins in this? I hope he was paid well.

This movie has a budget of $200 million dollars and I wanna know where the hell that money went. Is there a lot of special effects in the film? Oh yeah, tons, but not $200 million dollar value special effects. In fact, a lot of the effects are pretty distracting. Rise of the Planet of the Apes had a budget of less than half what Green Lantern had and looks a million times better. The action scenes aren’t very good in this either and the editing is horrible. The music was also pretty bad, and it’s rare that I’ll complain about a films score.

There’s a lot about Green Lantern that pisses me off. There’s the fact that it’s a horrible film on every level and is painful to sit through. There’s the fact that it’s a horrible DC adaptation, meaning they still haven’t had a good non-Batman film since Superman II. But what pisses me off the most is that this comes from a director I have great respect for. It baffles me that a director like Martin Campbell could put something out this bad. I know almost every director has a few weaker films in their career, but this was just so horrid on every conceivable level. I think I have to watch Casino Royale again just so I can remind myself that Campbell can actually direct. Regardless, Green Lantern is one of the worst films I’ve seen all year and the black sheep in a year where all the other comic book films have been good.

Rating: F

  1. ianthecool says:

    I like your introductory paragraph. I also came to the conclusion to see this on DVD, but maybe I won’t even do that. Too bad the villain is boring; great villains make great movies.

  2. Ipodman says:

    Wooh that’s harsh! I agree that the cast is horrible, and the rest of the movie is just a huge waste. It’s a shame that DC cannot produce any good movies outside Batman…

  3. CMrok93 says:

    The mythology is nonsensical and the plot takes forever to get going. But once it does, the movie takes advantage of a strong cast and a director who knows what he’s doing. Good review PG.

  4. 3guys1movie says:

    Just more confirmation that I should not even waste my time watching this on DVD. Thanks for the heads up and way to take one for the team. :-)

  5. brikhaus says:

    I haven’t seen this yet, and I have no plans to now…

    Thanks for the review. Remember, we bloggers do this kind of thing to help each other. If one of us endures a shitty movie, it’s a good idea to get the word out so others won’t suffer as we did.

  6. I actually liked Green Lantern, on the balance, but I definitely see where you’re coming from on all of this. There’s a lot to be disappointed in here. For me, the cardinal sin here though was the portrayal of Hal. “A Green Lantern is supposed to be fearless, and I’m just not that guy.” Uh… yes you are. That’s the defining trait of Hal in the comics, that he’s fearless, even reckless, compared even to other Green Lanterns. It’s like they lifted one of Kyle Rayner’s key traits (the GL who knows fear and overcomes it) and transplanted it for drama. And I get that, to a certain extent; the idea of a hero who isn’t 100% self-assured is one that isn’t explored much in the movies. But this wasn’t the film for that. It’d be exactly like taking Daredevil, “the man without fear”, and making him afraid; it’s missing the key point.

    I enjoyed this as a big dumb popcorn flick, but I shouldn’t have had to qualify it as such.

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