GREEN LANTERN comes to us from director Martin Campbell (CASINO ROYALE, EDGE OF DARKNESS) and stars the “wit-tacular” Ryan Reynolds (BLADE TRINITY, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE) as our hero. The story, inspired by the DC comic book of the same name, centers around a young test pilot named Hal Jordan (Reynolds) who is given a ring that grants him awesome powers AND gains him access into a group of intergalactic aliens tasked to protect the universe. I am admittedly NOT a fan of the Green Lantern comic books. I don’t hate them, they just always seemed overly corny and uninteresting. That said, I did have high hopes for this movie and secretly thought the trailers (and posters) were pretty bad ass. In short, I wanted this movie to finally give me a reason to be a Green Lantern fan. Unfortunately, I think this movie made me dislike the Green Lantern franchise even more than I already did. Whoops.
I think one of the main problems here was the completely uninteresting cast. Reynolds performance as Green Lantern was mediocre at best. I get it, he’s an asshole who loves women and hates responsibility. Boooooring. This is a very two dimensional character who I felt never really matured or entertained me at all. His attempts at being funny felt forced and were borderline embarrassing to witness. Blake Lively (GOSSIP GIRL, THE TOWN) plays the cookie cutter love interest who has zero depth and was seemingly just hired to be eye candy. We also have Peter Sarsgaard (KNIGHT AND DAY, GARDEN STATE) as the villainous “scientist-gone mad” and Tim Robbins (WAR OF THE WORLDS, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION) as his Senator father who both give the WORST performances of their career. Sarsgaard’s character was unbearable to watch as our main human villain while Robbins plays a laughably stereotypical politician. The only saving grace in this film seems to be Mark Strong (KICK-ASS, THE EAGLE) as Sinestro the Green Lantern Corps leader and a few cool looking characters that were completely digital. While the digital characters looked cool, they did nothing but talk and help “train” Hal when he finally visits the Green Lantern Corps home world named Oa. Again, pretty boring stuff here.
The main story in GREEN LANTERN is just as boring and two dimensional as the characters involved. We have an ass hole who is put in a position of responsibility and must believe in himself to save the world. While I totally dig the idea of an alien crashing on Earth to find his replacement in a huge league of aliens who are trusted to save the world, it all seemed a bit underwhelming. The scope of this franchise is so huge, yet this movie NEVER felt epic or even adventurous. We basically get a vague introduction to Hal Jordan before he gets his magical green ring followed by some sequences on Oa that are a convoluted (yet pretty) mess until we finally land on the borderline uneventful and anti climatic ending act. Everything just happened so fast. I do appreciate that the film franchise is set up now and, even though I’m complaining a lot, I would see a sequel if it happens. This movie did seem like a big setup, it just lacked the heart necessary for me to relate or even care about any of the characters or their actions.
Ok so the characters are blah and the story is underwhelming. What about the action? In the back of my mind I anticipated this movie to be mindless fun with some awesome action scenes that would redeem any shortcomings. Well, I didn’t really get that either. My favorite parts by far were the sprawling shots of the home planet Oa where we see hundreds of awesome creatures as they gather to hear about the impending doom heading their way. The thing is we only see them stand and cheer. While we are introduced to a handful of cool characters that help Hal train, that’s about it. We never see any of these other cool ass creatures kick any kind of ass. All the action here is mainly Hal Jordan getting in fights with the mad scientist mentioned earlier and a duel at the end with a cloudy mess of digital animation. I admit there was one or two “cool” moments with the ring, but nothing worth noting and surely nothing that would be considered great. I really wanted to see some of the other Green Lantern Corps members get in the battle and the reasons for the main villain to target Earth was confusing. Hopefully a sequel can focus more on the action and the other members of the Corps.
I really hate writing reviews like this. You have to believe me when I say that I really wanted to like this movie. I don’t think my expectations were that high and I was willing to forgive any lack of characterization or story as long as we still got some kick ass action sequences. GREEN LANTERN simply does not deliver. Sure it was pretty to look at sometimes and I almost had some fun on one or two occasions. I just can’t help but see what a missed opportunity this was for DC. Superman and Batman this is not. The characters lacked any real connection or development, the story was mostly bland and predictable, and the action sequences were a huge letdown. I can only hope a sequel will learn from the mistakes made here and give us something with a little more energy and some worthwhile action. As it stands, GREEN LANTERN is the biggest letdown of the summer so far.
Final Score: 4.5 out of 10