And we have our first front page review of Green Lantern. Is it a hit or a flop? Click to find out!
Mammon and I saw a free 3D showing of Green Lantern, the latest superhero movie and first of a hopeful smorgasbord of DC-centric movies to be released by Warner Bros. in the coming months. In the hours preceding the screening, it was easy to say that our expectations were low. A 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a string of unsteady trailers and commercials had done little to think that this would be anything other than a mitigated disaster.
However, Green Lantern isn't nearly as terrible as the early reviews would lead you to think. It's actually a pretty good, if standard, superhero origin movie, crafted to appeal to fans of the character and various younger demographics. The protagonist, Hal Jordan, comfortably played by Ryan Reynolds, is as deep as he is in the comics, with everything you need to know about the character revealed in his first five minutes on screen. He's chosen by a Green Lantern ring to replace the fallen Abin Sur from the universal threat of Parallax. Also, Hal has a love interest, Carol Ferris, played by Blake Lively, who makes goo-goo eyes at Hal at appropriate times. Through the course of the movie, Hal travels to Oa to meet his fellow Green Lanterns, learns to face his own fears and insecurities and ultimately saves the day through superior willpower.
The biggest strengths of the movie are the largely solid CGI and the strong acting by the secondary characters. The constructs are pretty cool and Hal's costume isn't nearly as distracting as the still images leave you to believe. Green Lantern's special effects are at its strongest when the movie utilizes the full range of what a power ring can do and at its weakest when faced with a standard flying scene, a problem shared by the movie Thor and just about every other movie featuring a character flying by his or her on volition. Also, Geoffrey Rush, Michael Clarke Duncan and Mark Strong all do admirable jobs in their respective roles as fellow Green Lanterns. All three steal the spotlight away from Reynolds (which admittedly isn't that hard to do) in every scene they appear, leading one to hope that the trio will play a greater role in potential sequels.
Peter Sarsgaard also turns in a very enjoyable performance as Hector Hammond who, while slightly underdeveloped, serves as a credible threat for the newly recruited Green Lantern. Sarsgaard plays Hammond as a tragic, creepy character, whose flaws and descent into evil is mired in sympathetic tones. Parallax, voiced by Clancy Brown, provides a galactic level threat, eating planets and killing multiple Green Lanterns throughout the movie. I was pleasantly surprised by how easily the movie sidestepped Parallax's yellow buggy origin and pursued a much simpler path.
The biggest weakness of the story is Blake Lively's performance as Carol Ferris. Every scene with Lively drags to the point of boredom as she monotones her lines with all the inflection and emotion of a bored teenager. Ferris' character serves little purpose other than to showcase Hal Jordan's inability to commit and personal character flaws. To be completely honest, the movie would be at least 56% better if Carol Ferris hadn't been added to the movie at all. Lively's acting drags down the movie down to the point where it becomes incredibly easy to point out the various flaws in the script and acting. Also, the third act of the movie is a bit of a letdown, with all the plot points wrapping up almost too cleanly and quickly.
I enjoyed Green Lantern as much as I enjoyed Iron Man 2 or the first Spider-Man movie. In fact, Green Lantern is comparable to the first Spider-Man movies in many ways. Both are origin stories with heavy CGI sequences that largely hold up but have a few clunky parts, both have protagonists portrayed serviceably by an unexpected casting choice and both feature a female love interest that needless drags the story down with weak acting. While the movie is no Iron Man, it's no Catwoman either. If you're a fan of superheroes, flashy action or the Green Lantern mythology, you'll enjoy the movie.
Written or Contributed by: Christian Hoffer
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