Action Movie Fanatix Review: Green Lantern

In Brightest Day.  In Blackest Night.

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett, Tim Robbins, Geoffrey Rush, Michael Clarke Duncan

Director: Martin Campbell

2011  |  123 Minutes  |  PG-13

“Let me go fight for my world and I’ll show you that will is stronger than fear.” – Hal Jordan

I really expected to enjoy Green Lantern more than I did.  Most reviews were pretty bad so I went in with very low expectations.  Usually when I go in with low expectations I walk out with a smile on my face.  When the Green Lantern end credits ran I was neither smiling nor frowning.  I was just meh.

Green Lantern tells the story of Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a jet fighter pilot who finds a crashed alien ship.  The alien, Abin Sur, gives Hal a green ring of power which turns Hal Jordan into the first human Green Lantern.  Hal is flown the planet Oa to be trained in the ways of the Green Lantern Corps by Killawog (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan), Tomar-Re (voiced by Geoffrey Rush) and Sinestro (Mark Strong).  Hal ultimately quits the Corps. and heads back to earth.  Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) is chosen by the U.S. government to perform an autopsy on Abin Sur’s body.  A piece of Parallax, a powerful alien being whose power comes from fear, inserts itself into Hammond causing him to mutate and giving him telekinetic powers.  Green Lantern must save his girlfriend, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) from Hector Hammond and the world from Parallax.

I feel that I should say that I am not a huge fan of DC Comics’ characters other than Batman.  I don’t know a whole ton about Green Lantern going into this movie so I can’t say whether or not it was accurate to the comic books or not.

Green Lantern is truly an origin story.  Hal Jordan is immature and afraid but by the end of the movie he has learned to overcome fear and proves himself to the Guardians of the Universe who thought that the fact that humans even had any fear at all was proof that they were not worthy to be Green Lanterns.  Hal goes from a selfish son-of-a-bitch to a true super hero.

Its no wonder Hal Jordan starts off as a cocky, snarky, womanizing jerk, his dad was a complete douche.  In an early scene Hal asks his dad “You’re not scared are you dad?”.  Hal’s dad responds with “Lets just say, its my job not to be.”  DOUCHE!  Blake Lively doesn’t really have to do much in her role of Carol Ferris but she definitely plays hot very well.  Peter Sarsgaard’s Hector Hammond is extremely creepy but looks really dumb with his swollen cranium.  I realize this is sort of how he looked in the comic books but it doesn’t make it look any less stupid.  These are the types of things that have always pushed me away from DC’s universe.

There is a certain TV quality to the filming and the way the camera pans.  And this doesn’t even address the enormous amount of CGI throughout the movie.  Green Lantern attempts some amazing special effects but mostly falls short of its target.  Much of the alien planets look like they are in an all CG movie rather than simply being made of CGI for a live action movie.  Hal’s Green Lantern suit is pure CGI.  Every plane in flight looks unnatural.  The pilots are obviously filmed in front of a green screen.  Even scenes where no CGI should be needed appear to have backgrounds altered by CGI.  Green Lantern would have benefitted greatly from some practical effects so that the instant reaction for every scene isn’t “that looks fake.”

Once I was able to move past the sub par special effects I actually did enjoy Green Lantern.  There is nothing exceptional here but I was still able to enjoy it.  The story is ok, acting is passable and action is entertaining enough.  I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it again but I don’t regret the one viewing.