I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with super hero movies. I love the concepts of each hero, but sometimes I just hate the way the execution comes off as cheesy. There’s the perfect blend for me though which includes movies like BATMAN BEGINS, THE DARK KNIGHT and even IRON MAN to an extent that I love both concept and execution. GREEN LANTERN is none of those three previously mentioned movies and for me is the bottom rung of the ladder for super hero movies released in 2011. It wins on concept, but the script acting and even effects at time unravel the overall product to something that’s stripped of everything that makes it interesting.
Ryan Reynolds stars as Hal Jordan, a conflicted but cocky fighter pilot that is chosen by the powerful ring of a dying alien. As it turns out the alien was part of a league of beings chosen to protect their specific sectors of the universe as Green Lanterns. Hal must overcome the perceptions that he is not worthy of wearing the ring and his own fear as a vengeful cloud of fear threatens to destroy Earth all of its inhabitants.
That’s the simple version, if I were to start talking about the colors of will and fear and other specifics I feel I’d be wielding a double edged sword that on one side is interesting and on the other is painfully boring and weird. From a pure aesthetic perspective the film is very colorful and visually interesting, but there are extreme and jarring visual effects issues with choppy CGI and other moments of lazy animation. Even with the abundance of lifeless CGI characters I found the film tolerable on a visual standpoint flaws and all.
Sub standard CGI is one thing, but the characters in GREEN LANTERN are dull and completely one dimensional. Ryan Reynolds I usually find to be a decent actor especially in a movie like BURIED, at times seems indifferent to the fact that he’s even in the movie. Most of the side characters seem to have more invested in the film aside from Blake Lively, who is anything but lively throughout. Mark Strong is great given his extremely limited screen time and I even liked Peter Sarsgaard up until he started belting out an extremely bizarre scream- plus I found his character almost completely worthless.
Scattered, incomplete and unfocused is that best way I can describe GREEN LANTERN- which is pitiful for a movie that carries such a hefty price tag. Each scene feels forced, rushed and the script just isn’t strong enough to save something so scatterbrained. There’s moments that make no sense, such as when Hal quits being a Green Lantern, but is not forced to give over his ring. The biggest story flaw however is the fact that this giant cloud of fear, Paralax, is a huge looming threat to the Green Lanterns and intends to destroy their planet of Oa after Earth but not a single Lantern steps up to help Hal when he asks for help or when he’s fighting it on Earth.
GREEN LANTERN is a wealth of half baked ideas that instead of being a delicious batch of cookies is a cinematic salmonella risk. It seemed almost everyone involved just did not give the material their full commitment which is evident in the shaky special effects and lackluster acting. The writing isn’t near as sharp or clever as we’ve seen in far superior superhero movies which for a film hero such as Green Lantern it desperately needed. While I wouldn’t recommend the film to most, there are small glimpses of hope in the overall visual scope and acting from Mark Strong as Sinestro. As a whole though GREEN LANTERN is a colorful mess that should have been given more time to tweak the jarring flaws that are on display.