Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Review - Green Lantern (2011)

“How wonderful that all it took for you to grow is the end of the world!”

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard and Mark Strong
Director: Martin Campbell
Writers: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg

Before I begin I want to thank all the reviewers and critics out there who tore this film apart, who thought this movie destroyed the sacredness of the source material, who said that anyone who watched this movie and enjoyed it were idiots who were helping the studios destroy movies as art. The reason I thank you is that once again you’ve reinforced my thoughts on how far up their own asses some reviewers are. Thank you.

You see the reason for this little opening is that while Green Lantern is a flawed movie, it is competently put together and has enough fun parts that if I was to give it a grade it would be a C+. This means that it’s actually an average movie that’s better than some other movies that have been released this year. It’s funny. I’m a Green Lantern fan boy and if I was going according to script I should be roasting this movie to hell and back. Instead I’ll admit that the makers of this movie did screw up, but at least there is enough potential for a sequel to build on the movie mythos and hopefully make a better film as a follow up.

I’ll start with the positives. The acting isn’t that bad. It’s a shame the Ryan Reynolds has become the face of failure in this movie, as he’s not that bad. He might have been miscast, but he still does a fine enough job, manages to highlight the flaws of Hal Jordan and at the same time get the audience invested enough to care somewhat about him. Mark Strong makes for a strong (see what I did there) side character in Sinestro. He’s not on screen enough, but what he brings is decent and I would love to see more of this character in the future. Finally Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond plays the villain with both shades of creepiness and tragedy. There are some scenes between his father (Tim Robbins), that did make me feel sorry for him. Also as he transforms his screams did make me feel that he was in a tremendous amount of pain. Other actors vary in quality but I think a lot of the acting problems are thanks to the script and not the actors themselves.

The movie is also put together pretty solidly. If we take a movie like Jonah Hex, we can see the reason it failed was how bat shit crazy things were put together. Scenes don’t make sense, flow is disjointed and there are no themes that match scene to scene. It’s an ungodly mess. However with Green Lantern the audience should know where everything is headed. There are character arcs that work, there are reoccurring themes to bind the scenes, and there is always a focus on the end game with the big bad of Parallax. Sure there are problems with the story, but we are nowhere near the horrid levels of Catwoman, even though some reviewers would have you believe it’s on the same level of bad.

Now to the problems, which there are a few. The big one in my mind is the CGI, there are some effects that are pretty damn good and the 3D isn’t that bad. But when you’ve spent some of this money, there are some bits that just had me scratching my head in how bad they got. First of, yes the mask. It’s bad, it looks really bad on Ryan. The suit itself wasn’t to bad, and actually made the mask look worse. I don’t know why they just gave him a real mask, or better yet just scrapped it all together. Cause that little bit of material didn’t exactly hide his identity. They even point that out in the movie. There are also some flight scenes where the only thing real is Reynolds head. This is really bad as it just seems to float in this fake dreamscape. Yet shots that show him flying from further out don’t look bad. Makes you wonder if there was someone really paying attention to the CGI and how to work around the limitations. To sum up it’s just a case of there being some awesome CGI that makes the bad CGI stand out like a sore thumb and just seems a bit lazy that there wasn’t a work around.

CGI however is the smallest problem this film has; the thing that really brings it all down is the script. I can see why people were frustrated by this movie. There is a decent story that can lend itself to an epic space fantasy, something we haven’t seen in a while. Yet this potential is hampered by some bad dialogue which hampers the actors performances, and ham fisted catering for fan boys. I’m a comic collector, love the Green Lantern mythology, but damn it don’t worry about people like me. Make the movie good and even if it deviates from what we want, we will still go and see it.

There are some story choices that just had me scratching my head as to why they were included. Why include Hals brother and nephew when it amounts to nothing? Why have personnel connections between Hector and Hal when you didn’t need it? Why include a romance subplot when it too doesn’t add much to the overall story? I think you may note that it’s a lot of the earth bound story notes that drag this movie. They pad and slow things down when there is no need. Character development could have been done while still being in space. Maybe extend out Hal’s training on OA. I think the writers just didn’t go balls out enough. There was this huge potential to be just an out there science fiction space opera and yet the writers kept on pulling it back to the earthly connections. They hamstrung any potential greatness out of the movie.

So would I recommend this movie to people? Well despite its flaws there is still some fun to be had. The crowd I was with seemed to enjoy the movie. People laughed and seemed to at least go along with the ride. You look at something like Tranformers 3 that has an overly complicated plot that doesn’t seem to have any real focus, and you can’t help but think Green Lantern is a better movie than that. If you are hesitant about spending money of Green Lantern, I understand. This movie has attracted a hell of a lot of bad publicity. But if you don’t want to head to the cinema then rent it out when it comes to DVD. You may find a movie that’s not all that bad.

I remember when this fan made Green Lantern Trailer made me
giddy with excitement. As this is the Green Lantern review I knew
I had to put it here for your enjoyment.


  1. I'm sticking with my call of a solid 6/7, for all the same reasons that you said.

    And now, I want to go and buy a second Sinestro figure so I can paint him yellow.

  2. Great review Dan, and I share your sentiments exactly. GL wasn't a bad movie, but it will go down as a failure because it wasn't a Blockbuster and was flawed, much like Superman Returns which I also quite enjoyed. Hopefully DC & WB will continue their plans on making more because now that they've seen what they did wrong they can only improve in a sequal.