The Green Lantern--A movie review

The Green Lantern doesn't shine very brightly


THE GREEN LANTERN (2 stars out of 5)

It’s not easy being green, especially when you don’t have a very good script to work with. This long-awaited adaptation of one of the most enduring and well-known comic-book heroes should have been a fun, rousing adventure, but instead it’s a disappointing bore. Director Martin Campbell has helmed films about other iconic characters, like James Bond and Zorro. Sadly, that experience hasn’t helped him create a compelling hero or a captivating movie.

The Green Lantern tries hard to capture the lite tone of superhero films like Superman: the Movie, Spider-Man or Iron Man, all of which found a nice balance of humor, characterization and action. However, Green Lantern never finds its balance, leaning too much toward humor, and suffering from weak character development and uninspired action sequences.

The film opens with a voice-over prologue which gives us the necessary back-story. Centuries ago, a group on little, blue Yoda-like wise men called the Guardians harnessed the “Green power of will” and created the Great Power Battery, which is the ultimate force for good. They use the energy of the green battery to empower their league of “space cops” known as the Green Lantern Corps. The GLC is something akin to the Jedi Knights; an inter-galactic peace-keeping force, made up of a multitude of species. Instead of light sabers, they wield Power Rings, which can manifest will power as physical, solid objects. “Whatever I think of, I can create” our hero, Hal Jordan tells us after getting his ring.

Before getting his ring, Hal (Ryan Reynolds of X-Men Origins: Wolverine) is a talented but wild test pilot, who feels the need for speed. But Hal sabotages himself at every turn with his recklessness and lack of commitment. “I’ve screwed up every other part of my life, but one thing I can do is fly!” Hal tells his adoring young nephew. Hal is much like Tony Stark from Iron Man--a womanizing, undisciplined, Peter Pan type—except without the wealth and genius. Hal is an under-achiever, obsessed with the death of his father, who was also a test pilot. (Hal has flashbacks to his dad’s death at the most inappropriate times, such as when he’s in a nose-dive in his jet.) Hal’s lovely love-interest is Carol Ferris (Blake Lively of Gossip Girl). Carol is one of those idealized, all-too-perfect women you often find in these films. She’s beautiful, rich, smart, brave, affectionate, a great pilot, helps run her father’s Aeronautics Company and to never lets Hal forget he’s a man. (If she can cook, she’s a keeper.)

Into Hal’s messed-up life comes Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison, who played Jango Fett in the Star Wars prequel trilogy), a Green Lantern mortally wounded in battle with an entity known as Parallax, (A big head with flailing tendrils for a body) the ancient enemy of the Guardians and the Green Lanterns. Parallax is the nemesis of the Lanterns because he eats fear. A key element for the Green lanterns to control their rings is to be fearless but Parallax can bring out the fear in anyone, no matter how deeply it’s been repressed. Parallax defeats Abin Sur who crash lands on Earth, and uses his ring to find a worthy, fearless successor to carry out his mission. No surprise, the ring chooses Hal.

Hal doesn’t know what to make of this gift at first, but soon he is whisked away to the planet Oa, where he meets the rest of the Green Lanterns, including the kindly Tomar-Re (A fish-like alien voiced by Geoffrey Rush) and the field-commander of the GLC, Sinestro (Mark Strong of Sherlock Holmes, Kick-Ass and Robin Hood) who doesn’t think Hal has what it takes to be part of the Corps. Hal goes through a brief training period, which you might expect to be a cross between training scenes in Rocky and in An Officer and a Gentlemen, but instead plays out like a magic wand duel between Harry Potter and Drago Malfoy.

Aside from Parallax, Hal also has to deal with Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), a scientist who is infected by the “Yellow fear power” and becomes a telekinetic, telepathic super-villain. Hector is motivated by more than his connection to Parallax. Hector also hates Hal because he’s in love with pretty Carol. As with the love interest of every good hero, she is kidnapped by the bad guys and our hero has to rush to the rescue. Can Hal save her? Can he save Oa from Parallax? Can he overcome his inner-demons and become worthy of the ring he wears?

Ryan Reynolds has a gift for comedy and he’s good at playing the screw-up aspects of Hal, but he doesn’t do a very good job conveying the deeper layers of the character. His journey from self-doubt to confidence isn’t very well done. Whenever he’s in his Green Lantern costume, his body is altered by CGI effects, which mean that for much of the film, we’re only seeing Reynolds’s head. (That makes him a good match for Parallax, who is also just a head.) Reynolds will be reprising his X-Men role as Wade in the upcoming X-Men Origins: Deadpool. Hopefully, he’ll have better material to work with.

Lively doesn’t have a whole lot to do here other than to look desirable, which she excels at. The evil, deformed Hammond is a creepy-looking villain and Sarsgaard does his best to inject some personality into an otherwise mediocre bad guy. Tim Robbins has an undemanding role as Hammond’s Senator father and Angela Bassett appears briefly as the mysterious Amanda Waller. (Waller was played by Pam Grier in Smallville.)

The underlying theme of the film is supposed to be Will versus Fear. “The will makes you do things; fear stops you!” Sinestro says. It’s a nice concept but it isn’t well realized here. It plays out as a typical good guys vs. bad guys scenario, with green and yellow substituting for the white hat and the black hat. The film tends to drag in spots, even though it’s not very long. The climactic fight scene is underwhelming.

The Green Lantern tries hard to be more than the sum of its parts but it doesn’t succeed, and the parts don’t add up to very much. This could have been so much better than it is. Very disappointing.


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Comments 33 comments

Fullerman5000 profile image

Fullerman5000 5 years ago from Louisiana, USA

I was so excited to see this film. then i saw a clip on conan and just that 20 second clip made me think that the rest of the movie would be cheesy. it sucks because i have yet to read a good review for this film. thanks for the review. i think ill wait for this one to come out on red box.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Fullerman; Don't waste your time or money going to the theater. Not worth it.

Rob


Kenneth Ray profile image

Kenneth Ray 5 years ago from Maple Ridge, BC

Thanks for the great review. You just saved me $30!


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Glad to help people save money, Kenneth. There's no reason to spend $30.00 on this.

Rob


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 5 years ago

Great Hub, thanks for the warning. Voted up, and useful


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England

Thanks for the review Rob. I can't remember the last time a superhero movie got so much drubbing, Spiderman 3? Fantastic Four? And I shamelessly admit I enjoyed those so I'll still go and see Green Lantern, if only for the visuals. There are too few space-based superhero movies. Voted Up.


Marlin 55 profile image

Marlin 55 5 years ago from USA

Thanks Rob. What a disappointment. I was really looking forward to seeing this movie on the big screen. Now I'll wait. It's too bad, Green Lantern was one of my favorite comic book heroes when I was a kid. Lots of rainy summer days in the clubhouse reading Green lantern comics--oh well.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Carl; Thanks for stopping by. I wish I could recommend this but I can't.

Rob.

.

Hi Steve; be warned that there is precious little space based stuff in this film, which is one of the major disappointments of it. But if you enjoy cheesy superhero fare, than you may enjoy this.

Rob

.

Hi Marlin; Green Lantern was one of my favorites, too. One of the first comic books I ever picked up was a Justice League of America comic and I liked Green Lantern immediately. Like you, I was really looking forward to this. What a disappointment.

As always, thanks for stopping by my hub to comment.

Peace,

Rob


gg.zaino profile image

gg.zaino 5 years ago from L'America

Thanks for the heads up Rob.

i had been wondering how well this did. now i know- i trust you know your lanterns; green or otherwise.

this week we're going to key west to see "Super 8" looks good- we'll see.

thanks again Rob- saved me some money. well done.

peace- greg


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Greg; Good to hear from you. Skip the film. I know my lanterns--green, yellow, red and all the others. Anyway, enjoy "Super 8". I liked it (hence the good review I gave it) and I hope you do, too.

Take care,

Rob


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I don't think I know the Green Lantern. When I heard about this movie, I thought of the Green Hornet, which I mostly remember from radio.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

There was a Green Hornet movie recently. I didn't see it but I've heard it was just as bad as the "Green Lantern". It's a shame. Both had so much potential.

Rob


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Nice review Rob, it does not sound like a movie I should rush out and see, it is hard to believe that a movie with this big of a budget would not take the time to make sure they had a great story to tell....I kept waiting for the trailers to get better, but even the most recent trailer for The Green Lantern seemed ok at best...voted up and useful.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Cogerson. It's an annoying trend that many of the big-budget films tend to skimp on things like plot or characterization or good dialogue. It's the Michael Bay formula of excess-over-substance. It's a bummer, becaue I was looking forward to this.

Rob


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Thank you,Robwrite for a good review. I haven't been to the ciniman for dacades.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi H.H.; I admire your ability to ignore the media and advertising. I'm addicted to films.

Rob


Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 5 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

I didn't like what I was seeing in the commercials for this film. Thanks for explaining what it's about. I may or may not end up seeing it.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Silver; I wouldn't bother with it if I were you. But who knows, you may like it.

Rob


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK

Thanks for the review. At least I have an idea of what to expect. Cheers.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

You're welcome, lady E. Thanks for coming by hub.

Rob


deblipp profile image

deblipp 5 years ago

That is such a shame. I had hopes.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi deblipp; so did I. Oh well. What can you do?


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 5 years ago

I would have to agree with all your merits, as this movie really didn't live up to expectations. it's kind of a shame too, as i always thought the green lantern would make a great film franchise if done right. I guess for now that won't happen. oh well. here's hoping the new superman reboot doesn't disappoint. cheers.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi; You're right. This movie could have made for the beginning of a great franchise. But I think this one is going to stop at one. The Superman re-boot has been in the making for a while and I hope it's better than "Superman Returns". I'm still holding out hope for "Captain America: the First Avenger".

Thanks for reading,

Rob


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Thanks for this review too Rob. Got someone that was going to see it this week-end. Oh, sorry about the link. Its gone.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Alastar; Tell your friend to keep his/her expectations low and maybe he won't be too disappointed.

Thanks for checking in;

Rob


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Hi Rob, I was already gonna tell em that after reading your review. Thanks and Nameste.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

I had never knew about this movie before. Thanks for share with us.

Prasetio


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi prasetio; Thanks for reading.

Rob


htodd profile image

htodd 5 years ago from United States

Thanks for the post...


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

You're welcome, htodd. Thanks for reading.

Rob


Juan 5 years ago

Totally disagree with this review, from beginning to end you seem wanting to destroy the movie even before you saw anything.

Green Lantern fights seem like Harry Potter? well, let me tell you this, this is not a Batman movie, if you don't like the Green Lantern myth then obviously you are not going to like the movie.

Your review is 0.5/5 on my eye.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

You've got it backwards, Juan. I did want the movie to be good and I was looking forward to it for a long time, which is why I was so disappointed in it. And I do like the comic book Green Lantern mythos, which is why I lament the fact that it was adapted so poorly onto the screen. I first read a Green Lantern comic in 1972 and as a long-time fan I can safely say that this trash did it no justice. The animated "Green Lantern" film that came out two years ago was far superior to this mess.

So I give your review of my review 0.05.

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