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Green Lantern (2011)

Updated on October 12, 2013

Green Lantern

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer(s): Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, and Michael Goldenberg

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Tim Robbins, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Temuera Morrison, Jon Tenney, Angela Bassett, Geoffrey Rush, Michael Clarke Duncan, Clancy Brown, Jay O. Sanders, Taika Waititi

Synopsis: A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

PG-13: Intense Sequences of Science Fiction Violence and Action

1960's Green Lantern Intro

Kilowog | Source

In Brightest Day. In Blackest Night. No Evil Shall Escape My Sight. Let Those Who Worship Evil's Might, Beware My Power. Green Lantern's Light

Over the years, there have been many superheroes that had the potential of making a great film if Hollywood ever gave them the chance, yet most of them often fail to reach said potential. Most of them often straddling the line between mediocrity to just plain awful. Sure, every once in a while, you'll get a diamond in the rough like "The Dark Knight", "Superman: The Movie", "Kick-Ass" and others. However, for every "Dark Knight" film out there, we get a "Catwoman", "Steel", "Meteor Man", and others. The list goes on and on with mediocre superhero films. Although I had such high hopes for the "Green Lantern", I have to say that I was severely disappointed with it.

Don't get me wrong, it had nothing to do with the special effects, as I think it's worth noting that out of all the superhero films ever conceived, "Green Lantern" has probably some of the best visuals you'll ever find within it's own genre. Seriously, if you're a Green Lantern fan that's always had doubts about how realistic some of these characters can look on the big screen, then let me be the first to tell you that the visuals for this movie will blow you're mind away. Not only did they manage to create a visually impressive world of the Green Lantern's universe, it'll definitely put all your fears to rest about how plausible these characters can look on the big screen. Trust me, you won't find better visuals in any other superhero film than this movie, as it was that damn good.

Hell, I would even credit the 3-D cinematography for being executed perfectly, as the visuals will literally almost pop out of the screen at you. Therefore, if you plan to see this in 3-D, then I can definitely tell you that you'll get you're money's worth in eye candy galore.

As for the acting, I know many fans were skeptical about the casting of Ryan Reynolds as the main protagonist, Hal Jordan, but they needn't worry. No, the worse part about this film really had nothing to do with Ryan Reynolds, as he actually played his part quite well. Sure, there were a few scenes where I thought he needed to be more conflicted and emotional, whenever the movie talked about the death of Hal's father. But for the most part, I thought Ryan Reynolds did a good job considering how poorly edited, written and directed this movie was to begin with. As for the rest of the cast, I thought they all played their roles well. Geoffrey Rush is rather charming as the voice of Tomar-Re, and Michael Clarke Duncan is almost a natural as the voice of Kilowog.

Unfortunately, I would've liked to have seen more character development from Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), Sinestro (Mark Strong) and Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), as each of these characters play a key role in the film. Yet, very little screen time is used to develop their characters or establish more of a concreted relationship for the audience to feel the connection. Sure, with Carol and Hal, the audience could obviously feels there's an attraction between them. A kind of love hate sort of relationship if you will, but their relationship is rarely fleshed out in the movie as one would hope. At the beginning, Blake's character starts off as a strong female love interest that carries a great combination of sexiness, feminism, independence, toughness, compassion and wit. Yet in the later part of the film, she becomes reduced to a mere damsel in distress. One that desperately yearns for her "knight and shining armor" to save her. Gee, so much for that great combination she had earlier. Of course, I probably wouldn't have minded as much about her being reduced to a damsel in distress figure if more screen time was used to establish more of a relationship between Hal Jordan and Carol.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this should have been a full blown love story instead of a superhero film. No, I simply mean that screen time could have been used to establish more of a relationship between the characters. Take the last two "Batman" films for instance, I doubt seriously anyone would confuse those movies for love stories, yet Rachel Dawes plays the love interest in both films. Although we don't see too much of a love story between Bruce Wayne and Rachel, there's still enough screen time to establish a relationship with the characters, so the audience can feel even more empathy for Bruce, when they grow further apart in the franchise. In the "Green Lantern", there really isn't much screen time dedicated to establishing a connection between Hal and Carol outside of a few short scenes; which makes it rather sad, as you'd almost wish they had established it more.

Then we look at someone like Sinestro. Another wasted opportunity here, as the film does hardly anything to establish who he is. No, the only thing we ever learn about Sinestro is that he basically thinks Hal Jordan is a moron, and sees him as a disgrace to the Green Lantern least at first. Oh and he keeps wanting to pass onto the guardians about the possibility of using yellow rings instead of green ones to combat this new Parallax threat, who happens to be possibly the greatest threat that the universe has ever known. I guess out of all the wasted potential here, I think Sinestro definitely was the most disappointing. Again, it has nothing to do with Mark Strong, as he played his part quite well. No, it was the script, and screen time devoted to his character that was the problem. Outside of the one scene where Sinestro beats the crap out of Hal Jordan during a training session, you really don't get much of a sense of who he really is. If anything, you really don't find out much about his character at all; other than he hates Hal, and he was best friends with his predecessor, Abin Sur before he died. (Warning Possible Spoiler for the rest of this paragraph) Personally, I think that's rather sad, as one would think that with a bit of creative writing, then Sinestro could have probably been set up to be one of the best comic book villains ever adapted into a film. Yet, this half a** portrayal botches up the possibility completely, as even his reasons to go rogue aren't that great around the ending. Yes, I'm aware he's not the villain for this movie, but they do have it set up around the ending to where you'll see how Sinestro goes rogue, and it's very freaking stupid.

Of course, lets not forget Hector Hammond. Another wasted character that could have been developed more. Sure, there's plenty of story ideas to work with that could have made Hector a great antagonist for this film. Both Hal and Hector were affected immensely by the arrival of Abin Sur in different ways obviously. They both happen to be in love with the same girl, yet Carol only has eyes for Hal. To make matters more interesting, Hector suffers from living up to his father's image too...just like Hal does in this movie. Seriously, you'd think with all these story elements to work with that Warner Bros. would be able to make Hector come off as one bad a** villain, and not some hapless stooge being used by Parallax. All I can say is, this is very sad.

Unfortunately, I haven't even gotten to the worst parts about the movie yet. Of course, where to even begin would be a bigger question for me to ponder. I guess for starters, we'll have to talk about the editing issues. Granted, I know creating CGI characters can be rather expensive to produce in any live action film, but it should never be so freaking obvious that the studio purposely recycles the same CGI scenes to save a few bucks, as it kind of comes off as cheap. Granted, I doubt most casual viewers will notice this, but it does tend to get annoying when you watch the movie play out.

Another gripe that I had was the sound effects for this movie. Although I usually don't critique sound in any of my reviews; unless it's obviously that good or bad. However, "Green Lantern" is one of those rare films where sound effects does make impact on my review, and it's not in a good way either. If anything, the sound effects were so loud at times that you could barely hear some of the dialogue during the film. Granted, "Green Lantern" isn't one of those overly complex films where you have to pay attention to every single second in order to understand what's going on. However, when the sound effects in the background are so loud that you can barely hear the beginning where the guardians explain the origin of the Lantern corpse, then that's not a good sign. Fortunately, it was only during a few scenes where the sound effects were distracting, as most of it came off just fine during the rest of the movie.

Unfortunately, the biggest problems that I had with this movie was the story and lack of direction. At times, the movie seemed to be story driven where the plot was so overly complex (or at least it tried to be) that it engulfed the main characters into a epic space adventure unlike any that most audiences may have seen before. Which works fine by me, as there's a lot of stories you can portray with the "Green Lantern" character, as his stories aren't limited necessarily to Earth unlike other superheroes. However, this is where the problem lies with the lack of a strong direction. Whenever the movie shifts back on Earth, the movie suddenly becomes more of a character driven one versus being story driven one like before. Which again is fine, as character driven movies often work best for superhero films, as it allows for a deeper insight into the character. Unfortunately, since very little screen time is ever used to develop Hal's relationships with other key characters like Carol, Sinestro and Hector, then the character driven theme tends to get shoddy and lost. Sure, Martin Campbell and his team of writers do a great job establishing who Hal is, and the brief flashbacks of him being haunted by his father's death was a nice touch. Unfortunately, it never gets explored outside of a couple of scenes, and they weren't even that long either.

To be honest, I wouldn't necessarily call this movie a bad film by any means, as it's definitely better than a lot of superhero films out there. No, the word "mediocre" would probably fit this movie best if you ask me. In the end, I would have to give this movie a two out of four. It's a decent film if you want to rent it once it's on DVD/Blue Ray, but it's not worth seeing in a theater. Sure, the 3-D effects are great if you want to see it in 3-D, but the story is so weak that it just isn't worth the time or money.

Green Lantern Animated Series

All the Lantern Oaths part 1

All the Lantern Oaths part 2

Abin Sur
Abin Sur


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    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      Yeah, it's kind of a shame too, as this had the potential to be so much more than it actually was. However, what surprises me the most was that even though the film only made about a little over 50 million it's first weekend, poor critical reviews and looks to barely break even with the foreign box office and dvd sales helping out, it's still getting green lighted for sequel. No pun intended. Oh well. Here's hoping the next film turns out better. Thanks Satomko again for stopping by. :)

    • satomko profile image

      Seth Tomko 6 years ago from Macon, GA

      Another good review. I've read several reviews that are conflicted as to what went wrong with this movie, but they all seem to agree that it didn't turn out well.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      @Bucket Lister

      Yeah, I agree. Plus, why rush into explaining how Sinestro becomes a villain during the post credits? They could've easily have went by the comic book origin, and given it a "Training Day" theme in the sequel where Hal is the straight good cop figure; while Sinestro plays the corrupt cop that does things his way operating outside the law. I think that would've worked much better than the way it was explained in the film. Oh well. I know this more than likely means we won't see another "Green Lantern" film for a while, but i hope this doesn't cause Warner Bros. to give up on making superhero films completely outside of Superman and Batman. That would be sad. :( Oh well. Anyways, thanks for stopping by to check out my review. :)


      Wow, I never heard of that old saying before. I guess that would explain why the movie turned out the way it did then. Thanks for the heads up, and I hope you don't mind if I use that saying sometime in a future review. :) Anyways, it's kind of a shame this movie could've been another epic 3-D masterpiece like "Avatar" if it was planned out better. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case here, but it's still pretty decent for what it is though. Anyways, thanks again for stopping by RedElf, as its always a pleasure seeing you. :)

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

      Great hub Stevennix - thoughtful. too many people brush off comics/graphic novels as juvenile, but I have generally found more juvenile plotting in the droves of mediocre and just plain bad films that are cranked out each year. Too bad, I was looking forward - will see the movie anyway, but expect much less now - thanks!

      There is a (really foolish) saying in TV and movies: "It will come right on the floor." By this they mean that the script may be bad, but the project will be made wonderful when they start filming ("on the floor") by the talents of the actors and cinematographers - and special effects. It's a foolish attitude because, as you so rightly point out, if the writing is poor, it will pull down the whole project.

      Thanks for the link :D:D :D

    • The Bucket Lister profile image

      The Bucket Lister 6 years ago

      Very thorough review! You raise excellent points about the character development of both Hector and Sinestro. The post-credit scene made no sense whatsoever given what we had seen of Sinestro earlier in the movie.

      Great review; I voted up.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      Thanks Carl. I'm glad you found this review useful. It's kind of sad if you ask me, as one would think this would've been a great movie had more creative effort went into the script.

    • CarltheCritic1291 profile image

      Carl 6 years ago

      Wow, no one likes this movie! Great review it's very useful! Voted up and useful.