Green Lantern Review

 Once again advertising has disappointed me. I remember more than 10 years ago being glued to a computer screen waiting what seemed like an eternity for a 56k dial up connection to stream a teaser trailer of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.  When I finally saw it I though it looked like the greatest movie in the world. I should have learnt my lesson. Whilst The Green Lantern isn’t Phantom Menace bad, the trailers and promo material lulled me into a false sense of anticipation for this movie and I was thoroughly disappointed
One ring to rule them all.
The trailers had me thinking The Green Lantern would be a space-opera themed affair focusing on human Green Lantern Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), but also prominently featuring the many extraterrestrial members of The Green Lantern Corps (think of them like intergalactic police with magic rings that give them superpowers). Sure enough the movie does attempt this – for about five minutes. Then it returns to cliché super hero stuff you’ve seen a dozen times before, and it’s a real shame. The movie wastes a mythology that has the potential to be really engaging, you know, once you get past the fact that the main character’s super power is “the ability to make green stuff”.

Now at this point in the review I’d usually give some sort of synopsis, but for this one I thought I’d do something a little different. Whilst watching The Green Lantern I noticed that this movie rips off other superhero movies left right and centre. So I thought I’d make a little game called spot the rip-off. The rules are simple: try and spot all the blatant thievery from other comic book movies.

Okay, after a brief outer space sequence the movie begins by introducing us to fighter pilot Hal Jordan. Whilst he seems cocky and secure in himself, Hal has some serious daddy issues, (Batman; Iron Man). His newest challenge is to go up against the latest unmanned fighter planes in an attempt to prove that a piloted aircraft is always superior to an unmanned drone. (Iron Man). How does Hal beat these drones?...By flying directly upwards until he reaches an altitude so great their engines stall, (Iron Man again). Once he’s finished Hal begins to freak out and have a fear induced flashback revealing just how badly childhood Hal is affected by his father’s death, (Batman). Get the idea?  

So, just when things are looking down for Hal, Abin-Sur, the strongest of all the Green Lanterns, crash lands on earth mortally wounded by the malevolent entity ‘Parallax’, the embodiment of the yellow emotion of fear (whilst Green is the color of ‘willpower’... obviously).
In need of a successor, the dying lantern sends his ring in search of a worthy wielder, and for some reason it chooses Hal, who by this point in the movie has done nothing particularly heroic and has already been paralysed by fear for seemingly no reason. Hal is then transported to Green Lantern HQ on the planet Oa. All the cool outer-spacey stuff in the trailer? This is the part where it happens...briefly, then Hal gives up and quits...Yeah.

The movie does introduce some potentially interesting characters like the humongous drill sergeant Kilowog (voiced Michael Clark Duncan) and the mentor-like fish creature Tomar-Re  (voiced by Geoffrey Rush), and leads you to believe they’ll play some bigger part in the film, but the only one who does anything more than “train” Hal for five minutes is the lanterns’ de facto leader Sinestro (Mark Strong). 

'Why am I in this terrible movie?'

Credit to Mark Strong here for doing well in such a bad movie. Sinestro is much more charismatic and immediately more likeable than Hal, making it all the more annoying when a post-credits scene shows him doing something which he literally has NO motivation for doing – besides set up a sequel.

Whist Hal’s busy training for a minute or so we see scientist Hector Hammond (Peter Sasgard) get infected by Parallax. Hammond gains some poorly explained telepathic/telekinetic power then kidnaps Hal Jordan’s girlfriend (Blake Lively) for some poorly explained reason. Now it’s personal. 

Those who’ve been following so far should predict both the inevitable climax and it’s resolution. Hal of course saves the day, defeating Hector and Parallax, getting the girl and the respect of the other lanterns in the process. I’d consider a spoiler tag if it wasn’t an inevitability.

Unfortunately even when you look past the predictable plot, atrocious character motivation and bland acting the look of the film isn’t good either. The action scenes feel stupid and contrived and whilst the special effects usually  do their job there are times when the CGI suit makes it look like Ryan Reynolds' head was floating in mid air. I was expecting more from a big budget summer blockbuster.

Seriously, just cut out a picture of Reynolds' head and paste
it over the comic book illustrations. It would look better.
The Green Lantern had the potential to be a big franchise for DC, Warner Brothers and Ryan Reynolds, but in the end is unoriginal, underwhelming and unenjoyable. You’re going to need a lot of will power to sit through this failure of a movie.