[Review] Green Lantern (2011) by Dan McIntosh

Director: Martin Campbell
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard and Mark Strong.

The Film:
Green Lantern is another film in what is coming to be a long line of comic book to movie adaptation films. It tells the origin story of the most familiar of the Green Lantern characters, Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds). The movie also introduces us to the Green Lantern Corps, a society of alien beings charged with protecting their respective sectors of the galaxy who all have access to the green power of will. The movie uses the silver age origin story of Green Lantern which makes a little more sense and is more acceptable than the golden age version of the character. The golden age version of the character was named Alan Scott and his weakness was wood… Yeah, you can see how well that would have gone down with people today. Not. The basic premise of the Green Lanterns is that their power rings enable them to will anything into existence that they can think of. They can use that power to battle the forces of evil. The evil guys use the power of fear which is yellow to battle the Green Lanterns.

The movie begins by telling us of an evil that uses the power of fear to conquer planets that was finally entombed by one of the most powerful of the Green Lantern Corp, Abin Sur. After several years the evil breaks free and seeks out his old enemy Abin Sur who is critically injured in a fight. Abin Sur makes his escape and heads for Earth. Meanwhile we are introduced to Hal Jordan, a test pilot for a private company. Hal is the stereo typical fighter pilot jock, womaniser and reckless fly by the seat of his pants type person. We see Hal crash his plane in an accident whilst proofing a prototype un-maned aerial vehicle. At this point I thought that this is where both Hal and Abin Sur would meet and Hal would receive the ring as per the comic. No…Why would you do that?? Abin Sur crash-lands his space pod on earth and realising he is dying instructs his ring to find a worthy candidate to take on the mantle of the next Green Lantern and guardian of this sector. This turns out to be Hal for no obvious reason other than Hal has something inside him. We never find out what it is really. The ring transports him to Abin Sur where he receives the ring and the charging lantern that powers the ring. What follows is a bunch of comical situations where Jordan discovers how to charge the ring and use his power. Once this happens he is then transported by the ring to the home world of the Green Lantern Corps where all is explained to him and he is instructed in how to use the power. This part is very much played for laughs. Jordan after being told by Sinestro (Mark Strong) a fellow Green Lantern that is not worthy further begins to doubt himself and the selection of him to be his sector’s protector. What ensues is a period of self-doubt along with some forced comedic antics which really don’t come off that entire well. I love Reynolds’s comedic timing and personality, but the movie’s comedic aspects come across as forced rather than spontaneous or situational. It isn’t really received as campiness. The writers would have been better keeping the comedy to a bare minimum and keep a more serious tone to the movie. The subject matter itself would balance itself out a more serious tone with a touch of light hearted humour.

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After a heroic debut where he saves his true love and some further interaction with his friends our hero finds his feet and comes to the realisation that he must help defend his home and battle the evil force of fear. The movie is a fairly straight forward origin tale with some. The seed is subtly planted for sequel. For people who are somewhat familiar with the comics will know that Sinestro is the enemy of the Green Lantern corps and is sources his yellow power from the Yellow power ring that was forged for the guardians to fight the evil introduced in this movie.

Ultimately this movie was enjoyable; however it fails in its forced use of comedy and underwhelming and brief action sequences. The script felt that it was rushed on account of earlier rumours that were spread that Green Lantern would make the movies before another Superman movie post Superman Returns. I am confident enough to place most of the failings on the script writers rather than director Martin Campbell as Campbell has repeatedly demonstrated his ability to make a good movie with a decent script. Alan Horn has already indicated that a sequel has been green lit for this franchise and I feel with the right writers, possibly Geoff Johns who wrote the Green Lantern Re-birth series, they could turn this franchise around and make GL one of the more popular characters. Warner Bros needs this franchise to work if it has any hope of rekindling a potential justice league feature film. One could almost think of the Thor movie as Star Wars and Green Lantern being its Star Trek where it is more based in science rather than mythology. All we need are decent writers who understand the character better and can write a decent story with decent dialogue. I don’t believe the movie deserves the bashing it received, but it certainly has room for improvement as there is so much potential there.

Rating:

Review written by Dan McIntosh

One thought on “[Review] Green Lantern (2011) by Dan McIntosh

  1. Pingback: Your Questions About Green Lantern Corps

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