Green Lantern Movie Review

Ryan Reynolds and Tomar Re in Green Lantern
Ryan Reynolds and Tomar Re (voiced by Geoffrey Rush) in 'Green Lantern' - © Warner Bros Pictures
Reviewed by Ian Forbes, Sobering Conclusion

Those who read my X-Men: First Class review know that I can be passionate about comic book films. Like with books, graphic novels, and the like, it’s important to me that if you’re going to adapt something for the silver screen, you either stay extremely faithful to the source material or you find some intriguing approach that makes it your own and acknowledge that you’ve gone a different direction.

Well, none of that matters for Green Lantern because I really couldn’t care less after watching it.

The film sees Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern, whom comic book aficionados know was the rebirth of the franchise in 1959 when DC relaunched the series (Alan Scott was the original in 1940). There have been multiple ‘Green Lanterns’, and the more hardcore fans can debate if they chose the right one for a film (or for Ryan Reynolds to depict). They did stick fairly closely to the actual origin elements of Jordan – though the villain is a nod to much more recent events. (Also, super fans may realize one of the alternate Green Lanterns is also in the film, albeit in his normal self, but I noticed that more from looking at the cast listing than the movie itself.)

But just as important as it is to get some of the details right (and I’m not so much of a fan that I know if they got it all right), the number one thing a film needs to do is entertain. Quite frankly, I found myself a bit bored by the manner in which the story developed. I never really bought into the chemistry between Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds. There’s no initial development of Peter Sarsgaard’s character so his turn towards evil makes no dramatic impact. It seemed a bit redundant for all three central cast figures to have daddy issues. Some of the dialogue comes straight from a “How to Compose Trite Sentences” pamphlet one of the writers must have picked up off the ground. Etc. Etc.

When I wasn’t fed up with the script, I was annoyed at the CGI. Was George Lucas a consulting producer? The environments felt about as real as a Star Wars prequel. Rather than Green Lantern, they could have called this “Green Screen”, with all the special effects; the worst of which being the fully CGI costume placed over Reynolds. 1st problem, he has abs, you don’t need to creep us out with fake ones. 2nd problem, it simply looked Photoshopped onto him. 3rd, and most problematic, the face mask. That little green strip over his eyes was so ridiculously fake that I was constantly distracted. I understand you want the suit to feel ‘alive’ but with all of the glorious things computers can do today, why not just add in some touches that flow throughout an actual costume rather than scrap it entirely? It’s a poor decision, both in its concept and execution.

Then there’s the 3D. Anyone who just needs to see what they’ve done to a character they love can go ahead and select a nice, 2D version to see on the big screen. This is another conversion project, wherein whole scenes can go by with very few elements even selected for the extra dimension … and even fewer make a difference. I took my special glasses off for nearly an entire scene, when Reynolds and Lively are attempting to make us realize they care about each other at a bar. Every now and then, I noticed it was blurry but most of that was from the filter theaters use in projecting 3D, not from the film itself trying to be 3D.

If the 3D conversion process was the reason this film was pushed from a December release last year, the time was not well spent. If the post production CGI elements were the reason, the time was not well spent. Of course, there’s the other reason one pushes a film back, it’s not very good. This certainly holds true in the case of Green Lantern. It never builds to anything very exciting, Reynolds is the only thing that shifts the bland, monotonous tone now and again, and if they plan on franchising this one, then the first thing that needs to happen is finding a new director and screenwriters.

Unless you’re such a diehard fan that you have to see this film (and if you choose to do so, there’s an extra scene in the middle of the credits), save that extra cash for something else. If I didn’t acknowledge the comic book roots of the film, the review would have gone more like this: “Meh”; Which is about as much as I could say about it when the theater lights came up and more than I’ll think about it in the future.


Green Lantern hits theaters on June 17, 2011 and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action.