Green Lantern (2011)
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Running time: 114 minutes.
Hey howdy everybody! So I know this review will be coming a bit late to those of you in the United States, but we only just got this film over here in Australia so I’ve only now seen it. And man did I go into it with low expectations due to critic responses from over on your end! Some of those reviews were brutal, particularly a reviewing favourite of mine MovieBob’s over on the Escapist. So, on with the show!
Now Showing this week is Green Lantern, directed by Martin Campbell, and an addition into the DC comics films that isn’t Batman or Superman (finally!). Don’t get me wrong, loving the new Batman movies (Christopher Nolan is a genius!), but I was keen to see something different that I also knew nothing about since I have never read a Green Lantern comic book in my life. But the result, sadly, is a very big sigh….
Green Lantern tells the tale of a fighter pilot named Hal Jordan (played fairly well by Ryan Reynolds) who is chosen by a dying alien to join the “Green Lanterns” and to fight against an enemy known only as “Parallax”. Parallax has been absorbing the fear of countless planets, growing ever stronger, and is heading towards Earth. Clearly, it is up to Jordan to figure out how to defeat him.
And that’s really all there is to the plot really. Sure, there’s a romantic subplot, but it’s such a massive snooze-fest that we don’t really seem to care about it. I mean, Jordan is mildly interesting and at least he’s entertaining, but Carol (Blake Lively) is so boring and incredibly UN-interesting that the whole romance part of the story is just pointless and merely a reason for Jordan to receive a few speeches about overcoming fear.
Oh yeah, that reminds me, I had a real issue with how stupid the thing about where everyone get’s their power from was. I mean, I know it’s a superhero movie, so I can accept the idea that they draw on qualities about themselves for power. The Green Lanterns gain their strength from their fearlessness and courage, and Parallax literally feeds off of the fear of his victims. However, when a character utters the words (and I kid you not!): “and he harnessed the yellow power of fear, and thus became Parallax!” I believe the occasion calls for a face-palm! “The yellow power of fear”? Seriously?! I’m sorry, but the idea of it being the colour of the bad guy being the weakness of the heroes is unbelievably awful. Just awful. And if you’re all jumping up in arms saying “that’s how it is in the comics!” then the comics are awful too. The yellow crap aside, I found the villain Parallax to be pretty cool. He was a lot cooler before you got a good look at him however. Or at least, he was a lot more intimidating.
There was another villain in the film who, now that I think about it, wasn’t really necessary. He was this scientist who has a thing for Carol and he ends up getting infected with part of Parallax and mutating. And that’s really all he does (as well as some creepy stalker-ish hair sniffing). I mean, we have a huge, destructive, intergalactic cloud of fear coming to destroy to planet; do we really need this other guy? It’s not like he actually did anything to further the story, he just hung around getting steadily uglier.
On a positive note, I did appreciate how different Jordan (or all the Green Lanterns for that matter) is as a superhero. You look at Batman, Captain America, Thor etc. and they’re all just really good at punching and kicking people, with the occasional special ability to aid them in more punching and kicking. Jordan on the other hand, he has a ring that allows him to create any weapon or thing that he wants! It was pretty cool to see him first make a pool of water to save a falling person and then jump into a giant set of anti-aircraft canons and start pummeling the bad guy with it; rather then watch him simply be really good at kung-fu for a few minutes. This whole “anything he can imagine” thing does lead to a giant loop hole that he could simply imagine “a gun that can kill clouds-of-fear-monsters in a single shot” and then boom; however I did find it refreshing to see something different, even if it isn’t perfect.
Lastly, the Green Lantern suit itself looked really bad, since the production team decided to add it using CGI onto Jordan’s body rather then actually making a suit for him. This made it look weird since it didn’t always crease in places it should crease when he moves around etc. Just a poor decision really. But I did appreciate how Carol pointed out that “just because I can’t see your cheek bones” didn’t mean she didn’t recognise him. That got a chuckle out of me.
In closing, this film is pretty terrible, I don’t blame you guys in the US for thinking so. I don’t agree that it is such an insult to cinema as many people did, but it is quite awful. All the really good actors had minor roles (such as Geoffrey Rush, Michael Clarke Duncan, Mark Strong, etc.) and Ryan Reynolds had very little to work with. Blake Lively was just terrible, she was bland and had a constant monotone that was painful to sit through. Ok I guess that isn’t true; it wasn’t painful, but she was really bad. The film was watchable, but if you actually have your brain switched on, even the tiniest bit, you realise how bad the whole thing really is.
See you next time!