Green Lantern Movie Review
Green Lantern Movie - Beware His Power, Green Lantern's Light!!
Just to preface, I grew up a fan of "Green Lantern," from both the comics and his Saturday morning appearances on "The Superfriends," so I really wanted the "Green Lantern" movie to fire on all cylinders. My feeling after seeing it was that it was not as good as I'd hoped, but much better than I expected.
I know, not the most glowing recommendation for a movie you've ever heard. However, going into this movie I had read and heard so many awful reviews that I went in half expecting something along the lines of Joel Schumacher's "Batman & Robin," but thankfully there were no ice skating bad guys or costume nipples to be found anywhere. While "Green Lantern" will definitely never be mentioned in the same breath as "The Dark Knight," and it is the weakest of the three comic book movies released so far this summer ("Thor" and "X-Men: First Class" being the other two), it was far from horrible, and in fact, for the most part, was enjoyable and really entertaining.
"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." . . . Green Lantern Oath
Green Lantern Movie Info - Credits
Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan / Green Lantern
Blake Lively as Carol Ferris
Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond
Mark Strong as Thal Sinestro
Angela Bassett as Dr. Amanda Waller
Tim Robbins as Robert Hammond
Geoffry Rush as the voice of Tomar-Re
Michael Clarke Duncan as the voice of Kilowog
Written By: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim
Directed By: Martin Campbell
Studio: DC Entertainment
Run Time: 114 minutes
"Green Lantern" Movie - Official Trailer
Were You A "Green Lantern" Fan Before or After Seeing The Movie?
Green Lantern Movie - The Review
* * SPOILER WARNING * *
The film begins with a helpful narration explaining, for viewers unfamiliar with the "Green Lantern" mythos, that the Green Lantern Corps is an interstellar police force created by an ancient race of immortals, called the Guardians of the Universe. It goes on to explain that the Guardians harnessed the power of will (which fuels a Central Battery and the Green Lantern Corps' power rings), and that from their planet Oa (which lies at the center of the universe) they split the universe up into 3600 sectors, and chose and appointed one Green Lantern to protect each sector of space. Further, it is explained that an entity, named Parallax, which thrives on fear, was imprisoned on a desolate planet many years ago by one of the Corps' greatest Lanterns, named Abin Sur.
In the opening scene, Parallax is accidentally freed by unsuspecting aliens, who crash land on the planet in which the entity was imprisoned by Abin Sur. Parallax subsequently tracks down and attacks Abin Sur, who narrowly escapes but is mortally wounded, causing Abin Sur to travel to Earth (the nearest inhabited planet) to locate his successor. On Earth, Hal Jordan is introduced as a cocky and fast talking test pilot, who screws up during a combat simulation, nearly costing his employer, Ferris Aircraft, a large military contract. We learn during the simulation, when Jordan freezes up, through his memories, that his father was also a pilot, who died in front of him during a test flight, causing Jordan to have some fears and doubts about his own abilities. We are also introduced to the Vice-President of Ferris Aircraft, and daughter of the owner, Carol Ferris, who is also a pilot and an ex-girlfriend of Jordan.
Following Jordan's accident, and Abin Sur's crash landing on Earth, the ring brings Jordan before Abin Sur, who informs Jordan that he has been chosen and gives him the power ring and lantern to recharge it. Following an amusing scene in which Jordan tries to figure out the oath he needed to recite to recharge his ring, he is whisked away to Oa, where he is introduced to, and indoctrinated into the Green Lantern Corps, and learns from fellow Lantern, Tomar Re, that he is the first human to ever be recruited. After a few frustrating training sessions and beatings at the hands of Corps trainer, Kilowog, and Abin Sur's best friend, Sinestro, who informs him that Green Lanterns are chosen for their fearlessness, Jordan believes that the ring made a mistake in choosing him and decides to quit and go home.
The Story (continued)
Meanwhile, back on Earth, Abin Sur's body has been discovered by the U.S. government, who have recruited xenobiologist, Dr. Hector Hammond, to inspect and dissect the body, during which time Hammond is infected by a remnant of Parallax's energy left in Abin Sur's wound. As a result of being infected by Parallax, Hammond begins demonstrating telepathic and telekinetic abilities, as well as psychopathic tendencies. When Hammond uses his telekinetic abilities in an attempt to crash the helicopter of his father, who is a U.S. Senator (and doesn't hold his son in high regards), while leaving a party put on by Ferris aircraft, Jordan dons his G.L. garb, and swoops in and saves both the Senator and Carol Ferris, who is caught in the crossfire.
Subsequently, Jordan engages in a prolonged battle with Hammond, during which time Parallax, through his connection to Hammond, learns that Jordan inherited Abin Sur's ring, and decides to make his way to Earth to destroy him and his planet. Jordan later reveals his identity to Carol (who, in an amusing scene, actually realizes that it is him, despite the mask), and following his initial battle with Hammond, Carol helps Jordan realize that while he is not without fear, he is courageous and has the power to overcome great fear, which is what the ring saw in him, and allows him to overcome his doubts about being chosen as "Green Lantern."
Back on Oa, following a failed attempt by Sinestro and a squadron of other Lanterns to subdue Parallax, Sinestro learns from the Guardians that Parallax was actually a former Guardian who was taken over by the energy of fear, which the Guardians had also once tried to harness. Sinestro proposes that the Guardians make a power ring that harnesses the energy of fear, so that they can essentially fight fire with fire to defeat Parallax.
After the yellow power ring is constructed, but before the Guardians agree to utilize it, Jordan interrupts the Guardians and Sinestro and asks them to give him a chance to save his planet and stop Parallax using the power of will, and urges them not to give in to fear. With the Guardians' consent, Jordan returns to Earth, and during a climactic battle with both Hammond and then Parallax, Jordan is able to overcome his fears, and find a way to defeat Parallax. In a post credits scene, we see that Sinestro, having been tempted by the power of fear, decides to put on the yellow power ring transforming himself into the bad guy Sinestro that we all know and love, and setting up the already planned sequel.
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Green Lantern Movie - Review - In Brightest Day!!
When I first heard that Ryan Reynolds had been cast as "Green Lantern," I was not overly enthused. Given his usual wise cracking demeanor, I always thought he would have made a much better "Flash," than "Green Lantern." However, while he does bring some of his smart-ass humor to Hal Jordan's character, he does not go overboard and turn the film into "Van Wilder" in space. In fact, Ryan brings a lot of energy to the role, and does a fine job delivering the brash and arrogant, but still vulnerable test pilot, Hal Jordan.
Mark Strong was perfect as Sinestro, but was simply not given enough screen time, and the same goes for Kilowog and Tomar-Re, who were perfectly voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan and Geoffry Rush, respectively. While there were no real stand out or screen stealing performances, the rest of the cast (including Blake Lively, despite rumors to the contrary) performed adequately in their respective roles.
The real strength of this film is no doubt the visual effects, which were incredible, especially those utilized to bring the planet Oa, the many alien Lanterns, and the various Lantern light constructs to life. I would venture to guess that as little as ten years ago, making this film would probably not have been possible (at least not without making a completely cheese-ball version). However, now, the technology and effects have reached a level where the makers of "Green Lantern," were actually able to successfully make a movie with believable looking hard-light constructs being created out of thin air. The scenes on Oa, especially Jordan's training sequences with Kilowog and Sinestro look incredible, and G.L.'s initial battle with the telekinetic and telepathic Hector Hammond, was also impressive.
There were also some great details included for the hardcore "Green Lantern" fans, which I enjoyed, including Jordan flying over the Hall of Fallen Lanterns on Oa, and seeing many of the various Corps members beyond just Kilowog, Sinestro, and Tomar-Re, during a large Lantern gathering scene (including G.L. fan favorites Stel and Bzzd). There were probably some other cameos in that scene that I missed, and will have to be left for a second viewing. I also liked the inclusion of Amanda Waller as the government liason that recruits Hammond, and it would be great if DC continued to include and utilize her similar to Nick Fury's inclusion in the various Marvel films. Also, the fact that Carol's call sign was "Sapphire" was a nice touch foreshadowing her eventual transformation into the villainous "Star Sapphire," in any potential sequels. Finally, I loved the post credits scene where Sinestro finally dons the yellow power ring, and we see his G.L. costume transform into his Sinestro Corps uniform.
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Green Lantern Movie - In Blackest Night!!
The failures of "Green Lantern" have to start with the somewhat disappointing direction by Martin Campbell. Given his past resume, having directed two of my favorite James Bond movies ("Goldeneye" and "Casino Royale"), and the gritty revenge film "Edge of Darkness," I would have thought him capable of bringing more depth and character development to the movie. The story itself seemed choppy at times, like some exposition elements and plot points may have been left on the cutting room floor (hopefully the DVD will include an improved and extended uncut version).
Mark Strong's Sinestro, who could (and should) have been the movie's strength, was extremely underutilized. Further, Sinestro was not provided with enough character development to make his final decision to put on the yellow power ring, make much sense in the context of the film (beyond that he was simply tempted by the power of fear). It would have been nice to have some scenes demonstrating Sinestro's obsession with bringing order to the universe (by any means), and his conflict and frustration with the Guardians' methods. I actually think it would have been a much better movie had Sinestro made his transformation during the movie (instead of after the credits), and that he should have been the featured villain, rather than Parallax.
Speaking of Parallax, who looks like a cross between the smoke monster from "Lost," and the Beast from "Krull" (I probably just dated myself with the "Krull" reference), while not as hokey as the gigantic smoke cloud "Galactus" from the "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" movie, he was not overly impressive. Given that a super hero movie is usually only as great as its villain, I felt Parallax was a poor choice as the main villain for G.L.'s first film. Further, given how easily Parallax defeated numerous experienced Lanterns, it seemed a bit far-fetched that Jordan would be able to defeat him with just a few days of training under his belt.
While on the subject of far-fetched, although I didn't mind her acting, I did not find a 24 year old Blake Lively to be very believable as both a crack pilot and VP of Ferris Aircraft (while not as bad, I could not help thinking of a too young Kate Bosworth playing a Pulitzer Prize winning Lois Lane in "Superman Returns").
Finally, while I thought the visual effects were fantastic, it would have been nice to see more action and training with the Corps, and additional scenes on Oa, rather than wasting time on Earth. I also expected a few more Easter eggs for the hardcore fans, like the rumored cameo appearances of backup Earth G.L.s Guy Gardner and John Stewart, as well as any mentioning of, or alluding to the existence of other DC universe heroes.
Overall, "Green Lantern" had enough action and visual special effects to make it an extremely fun and entertaining Summer pop-corn flick, and Ryan Reynolds is a much better Hal Jordan than I expected. However, given the great characters, emotional complexities and depth involved in the Green Lantern mythos, this film had the potential to be so much more. Unfortunately, it appeared that Campbell, and the powers that be, were content to simply provide a flashy glossed over super hero origin film that probably spent too much time setting up a potential sequel, rather than concentrating on making what could have been a great initial film in itself. Being a "Green Lantern" fan, I truly hope that the film is financially successful enough to justify a sequel being made, because with Mark Strong's Sinestro as the clear featured bad guy for the next film, this is definitely an example of a good, but not great film, that should be easily surpassed by its sequel.
3 out of 5 stars
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