Green Lantern

29 Jun

Title: Green Lantern
Year: 
2011
Director: 
Martin Campbell
Writers: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg, with story by Mr. Berlanti, Mr. Green and Mr. Guggenheim, based on the comic book by John Broome and Gil Kane
Starring: 
Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett, Tim Robbins, Geoffrey Rush, Michael Clarke Duncan, Clancy Brown
MPAA Rating: 
PG-13, intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action
Runtime: 
114 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
6.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 
26%

 

Ugh. That about sums up my overall experience with the Green Lantern movie. No, it’s not the worst film of the year, not even close, but as a comic book fan who’s extremely fond of this character, I sure as hell was thoroughly disappointed. Seriously, this is a character I adore, he might even be my favorite DC Comics staple, or at the very least right up there with Batman, and other than Spider-Man he may just be about my favorite comic book character ever. And yet what we got here is a film that had a huge budget but that did absolutely nothing with it, totally squandering the incredible opportunities embedded within the deep comic book mythology available in favor of just this very noisy and badly written spectacle in which you just know every penny available was spent in the effects and not to flesh out the story.

And look, even the effects with the $200 million budget and everything actually look very flat, add that to the fact that the writing was just plain bad, the direction totally uninvolved and the fact that Ryan Reynolds’ charm was just put to basically no use and you have a film that, while certainly more than fine to kill an afternoon with, still doesn’t even get close to achieving its full potential, and I was left feeling very disappointed by what they did to one of my favorite superheroes, and I want someone to reboot this franchise now. I won’t hate on it that much because there were still a couple of good things, but I just need to vent my frustration about those good things not being plain awesome, and not being nowhere near enough of them to begin with.

In the past I have talked a lot about my dislike of screenplays written by a team of more than two people, I generally dislike every single thing that comes out of such a conglomerate, and while there certainly have been some exceptions to that rule in the recent past (like last year’s Love and Other Drugs or How to Train Your Dragon, for instance), this one just isn’t. And what’s worse is that it’s not as though the four guys who contributed to this one are any bad, you have Greg Berlanti, known for his television work in quality shows he spearheaded like Eli Stone and Jack & Bobby, then you have Michael Green, a collaborator of Mr. Berlanti’s on some of his shows and a comic book writer, Marc Guggenheim, who much like Mr. Green has worked on those TV shows before and also writes comic books, and Michael Goldenberg, who adapted the fifth Harry Potter movie. So, you see, I had high hopes for this script, it had a blend of a guy who had successfully adapted a popular property before, two guys who had experience in the comic book world and certainly knew about the mythology, and a guy who had created TV shows that were all about character development. And yet they got together and created this thinly-written work that I just can’t see anyone liking. Again, a team of more than two to write a screenplay is usually not the brightest move.

On the one hand you have Hal Jordan here on Earth, the character played by Mr. Reynolds, who’s a pretty damn good test pilot for this crazy fighter jets who he flies next to Carol, played by Blake Lively, who’s actually the daughter of the man who makes these jets. But at first what happens on Earth really isn’t all that important, because the real critical stuff is happening in a whole other part of the universe, in which the Green Lantern Corps have been created to combat Parallax, the evil alien trying to envelop the universe in evil. A member of the Corps is then sent to Earth, so as to a find a worthy human of joining their group, but after a dangerous journey across the galaxy he barely makes it to Earth, and dies soon after entrusting Hal with the green ring and green lantern, which he’ll soon enough find out are tremendously powerful, but will have a hard time knowing to trust and trying to access that power.

And of course trying to really cram this all up in a two hour film would be difficult, because you obviously can’t buy Hal being so chill as he understands and takes in all the stuff the green lantern can do, but this is a movie that can’t afford him not getting it real fast, and it really does try its best to explain the logic behind it all, but you just know it’s only doing that so that it can then zoom ahead and create some expensive special effects sequence. And that’s really all that you get after that first part of the movie is done, a very expensive and green lights and sound show, but that’s not even nicely done because the stuff that Hal creates with his will and the ring just look silly a lot of the times, and you can’t really buy into all the supposed seriousness of the task at hand.

I won’t go on longer about this one, because I feel like we already should have known what to expect, and it’s on me feeling disappointed because I held out some hope for this character because I love him. But yeah, it’s not like we got world-class acting or dialogue with any real substance, we’ll get our villains, our PG-13 appropriate kisses and our special effects showcase, but not much more. But I don’t really know if I’ll recommend this one to you, probably not, I mean it would be somewhat recommendable for those initial scenes in deep space because the CGI there is pretty kickass, but once the CGI has to adapt itself to a bit more rules of logic when the movie gets back to Earth, the results aren’t even that great, no matter how immense its budget. And, again, this is a film with Ryan Reynolds that didn’t really let him turn on the charm like he has before, and that’s the guy’s greatest asset, so there’s that. I hear that Warner Bros. is already thinking about a sequel, even though they’re obviously seeing the results of this one, both critically and commercially, as a disappointment, and I would love for them to scratch that idea, but not give up on the character. This superhero deserves better, and so do we.

Grade: C+

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