Released in 2011 Green Lantern was a DC superhero film that starred Ryan Reynolds, Tim Robbins, Blake Lively and Angela Bassett. This film does not have any links to the recently created DC Expanded Universe that started with Man of Steel in 2013. Reynolds appeared in the Marvel film X-Men Origins: Wolverine as Wade Williams and Hannibal King in Blade Trinity so he was no stranger to appearing in film adaptations of comic books and at the time was one of the few actors to appear in a Marvel and also a DC film.
As I have said before I am a fan of Ryan Reynolds, he is good looking, funny, charming, a good actor so he seems perfect for a tongue-in-cheek superhero…the upcoming film in which he stars as Deadpool should be perfect for him. However in this review we are going to look at Green Lantern in which he took on the titular role of Hal Jordan who would later become part of the Green Lantern Corps.
Still before we look at that, let’s jump into the world of the Green Lanterns…
Billions of years ago the Guardians of the Universe (over compensating do we think??) harness the green power of Will to create an intergalactic police force known as the Green Lantern Corps. The Guardians divide the universe up into 3600 sectors with one Lantern assigned to protect each sector. One of these Lanterns named Abin Sur, of sector 2814, battled an evil being named Parallax and defeated him, unable to kill him he instead traps Parallax in the Lost Sector on a planet called Ryut.
In the present day a group of aliens stumble across Parallax and unwittingly free him. As the only one to defeat him Parallax goes after Abin Sur, during the battle Abin Sur is injured and flees, before crashing on Earth. Knowing that he is dying he instructs his ring to find the next one worthy to become a Green Lantern.
Meanwhile we cut to Hal Jordan (Reynolds), a fighter pilot that has been hired to out fly two automated drones in an aerial battle. He is able to do it but at the cost of his plane, and almost destroying the contract to create more drones. Naturally this doesn’t please his bosses too much. Jordan is suddenly scooped up by the ring and taken to Abin Sur, the dying alien tells Jordan that he has been chosen by the ring to be the next Green Lantern and he needs to put on the ring and speak the oath.
As the authorities arrive Jordan flees with the ring and a lantern leaving Abin Sur’s body to be taken away for examination. Hector Hammond (played by Peter Sarsgaard) is summoned by this father Senator Robert Hammond (Robbins) to examine the corpse, unfortunately during the autopsy a piece of Parallax left in Abin Sur’s wounds jumps into Hector that eventually gives him telekinetic and telepathic powers, but ultimately drives him insane.
Jordan eventually speaks the Green Lantern Oath and is transported to Oa, the home planet of the Green Lantern Corps, to complete his transformation into a true Green Lantern. Naturally the other Green Lanterns, including their leader Sinestro, do not believe Jordan to be worthy to wear Abin Sur’s ring and take his place as one of them.
Struggling with his own doubts and feelings of if he should become a Green Lantern, Jordan is finally forced to face his fears, square off against Hector and Parallax, who has become so powerful that the entire Green Lantern Corps have been unable to stop him…
I know that I am starting to sound like a broken record stuck on repeat but DC really didn’t give a shit about big screen adaptations of their comic books. In the past it was passionate directors that managed to bring comic book characters to the big screen and it could succeed, Tim Burton’s Batman is a good example of what a good director can do. Unfortunately this film does not seem to have been made by anyone who has passion for the character or the world they are living in.
Allow me to explain…
First off the casting of Reynolds as Hal Jordan, now bear in mind that Reynolds is handsome, talented, charming and seems to ooze charisma…(and before you ask when my people invade he is one of the few humans that will be spared and placed in a museum for my people’s children to go and see)…and yet we are supposed to believe that this guy, this guy, the man who is a fighter pilot and wakes up with beautiful nameless women every morning struggles with feeling inadequate, unworthy and being afraid…
He has the world at his fucking feet for Christ sake so how exactly are we supposed to believe that he has got any kind of problems. I’m not saying that beautiful people can’t have problems but his issues throughout the film just don’t seem to bear any resemblance to a man struggling with his own insecurities and fears. I am not familiar with the comics, and honestly a fighter pilot being chosen could have worked but surely a washed out pilot would have worked better, you know one who made a bad call and resulted in the deaths of friends or innocent lives or something?? Wouldn’t that have given him legitimate feelings of getting innocent people killed again if he makes a bad call. Plus when have films featuring reluctant heroes ever not ultimately realised they are worthy and manage to save the day??
This leads me on to my next point…
Yes this is the origin story of how Hal Jordan became a Green Lantern, and yet the story is so generic that there is absolutely nothing new to the story. Hal becomes a Green Lantern and initially thinks it is cool, but then he realises what a responsibility it means, so decides to shirk his new responsibility, only to ultimately embrace his new role to fight and defeat the bad guy.
How many times have we seen that??
Does it sound like Neo’s story arc in The Matrix? A man convinced he is not the One finally realises that he is so saves the day. Or how about Hellboy, a demon that must battle his personal demons in order to fight the good fight and save humanity. Spider-Man anyone?? A guy tries to use his powers for his own ends that must step up to the plate to help innocent people from larger-than-life enemies.
I get the origin story thing, but why do the origin stories always have to be so generic??
The Ring itself also seems to be MASSIVELY underused, this is a weapon that can create anything the wearer can think up into a real construct, I read that in the comics Hal Jordan once defeated the entire Justice League because his will was that strong. It has been established in the comics that Batman has an iron will so why wasn’t he chosen to become the next Green Lantern. There is nothing about Hal Jordan that demonstrated why he, on a planet with over 7 billion people, was the one that the ring chose. There must be Zen Masters out there who can control their will and fears, why wasn’t one of them chosen to have the ring’s formidable power??
Now I am aware that this next point might have been explained in the comics but why did the Guardians only create Green Rings of Will? During the events of Green Lantern they create a Yellow Ring of Fear but why are there no other rings out there?? Apparently Will is the strongest force (second to Fear) but why isn’t Passion or…[okay I am shuddering a little as I say this but]…what about Love?? Jekyll ran with the idea that Hyde was the embodiment of Love because he was willing to do anything to protect the ones he cared about...so why isn’t there a Ring which creates such a fundamental Love of one of the Universe’s Sectors that the Lantern will do anything to protect it?? They don’t have to create flowers or anything stupid but if someone threatened someone I loved and I had the power to create something out of my emotions then I’d make…I dunno…Godzilla or something to squash the fucker. Why is the Green Power of Will so strong?? Honestly I have absolutely no idea and naturally it is not something that is discussed in the film at all.
It has to be said that the film does boast some pretty impressive cast members, but they are entirely wasted. Why cast someone like Tim Robbins if all he does is wander around in a suit and spout the same tired dialogue that could have come from any generic politician in any film?? Plus the character of Hector is also entirely pointless. He is Hal’s enemy but when Parallax arrives on Earth he promptly kills Hector so it is up to Hal to face Parallax, so it makes him completely irrelevant. Why even have him if he is just going to die so the climax can feature Parallax who has had very little screen time.
Parallax is basically a giant cloud with an angry face…seriously that it what it looks like…
You know what, that picture looks scarier than Parallax.
I don’t get how a big cloud is supposed to be frightening, why are the Green Lantern Corps unable to beat him?? If the Guardians harnessed the Green Power of Will, surely all they need to do is create the Purple Power of Laughter get everyone to crack up when they see Parallax and job done.
In addition Parallax was a Guardian that tried to harness the Power of Fear but was consumed by it, now when he attacks Earth he allows Jordan to lead him away before murdering the entire human race…again why do the villains always allow the hero to lead them away from the sight of innocent people?? There is nothing that Jordan can do to fight him on Earth so why doesn’t Parallax consume everyone on Earth, or does he simply think that he is invincible so can return at his leisure to destroy Jordan’s home planet??
The CGI effects are also pretty tired, nothing looks real, and whilst Reynolds seems to be trying to give us something decent even he cannot save this film.
Basically Green Lantern is a boring film, full of clichés, tired characters which adds nothing to the superhero genre or comic-book-film adaptations. It was yet another poor effort from DC that was created to give Reynolds the opportunity to play a comic book character that would serve his personality but it sadly just doesn’t work.
I am really struggling to find anything to recommend this film on…wait the way he wraps a present for his nephew is pretty funny…so there is that…Reynolds is clearly desperate to play a comic book superhero which must be why he keeps trying his hand at it, unfortunately you need a superhero that fits him, or more accurately him to fit the superhero…I have high hopes for Deadpool. But here the truth is that he is just miscast as Green Lantern, the film completely misses its mark, and not surprisingly sequels were canned after its poor box office performance
Considering I have done pretty much nothing but bitch about how lame this film it should come as no surprise that my Thumb is squarely Down. This is just a lazy effort, the effects are tired, the story is weak and considering the possibilities of the ring that create anything out of will it should have kicked-ass.
3/10 – Green Lantern is definitely below average film, it had potential but ended up just being a boring origin story with tired characters, lame CGI effects that fails to live up to the potential that having a ring that can make anything you can imagine become reality.