Green Lantern

Green Lantern 2011

After watching so many Marvel movies, I thought it was only fair to come back with a DC movie. I’ve been wanting to watch Green Lantern for a while now, I’ve heard there’s a lot of hate out there for it, but from what I’ve seen of the movie so far, I thought I would generally like it. And I was right, I did like it, but at the same time, I didn’t love it. I enjoyed the animated Green Lantern movie First Flight much better, which is a shame because Green Lantern as a character has a lot of potential and this movie took several steps in the right direction, it just didn’t get all the way there yet.

I know a lot of comic book fans decried the choice of using Hal Jordan as the focus of this movie. Honestly I don’t know a lot about all the different Green Lanterns of the past. I’m actually most familiar with Hal Jordan as both the Green Lantern I was first introduced to in an old paperback book comic and in the animated movie First Flight, which treads on similar ground as this movie. The only other one I’m vaguely familiar with is John Stewart from the Justice League cartoon series. I didn’t think Hal Jordan was a bad choice, and I also didn’t think that Ryan Reynolds was a bad choice even though this is his third comic book outing, also being in Blade: Trinity and Wolverine. He’s a hotshot pilot with some issues to work out, but I thought he was pretty enjoyable through the whole movie, both before and after his Green Lantern transformation. He surprisingly managed to keep his typical Ryan Reynolds smart alec quips to a minimum, and when they were used, they seemed to fit.

Even as a strong female, she ends up being the damsel in distress at least once.

On the other hand, Hal Jordan’s love interest in this movie played by Blake Lively who’s name I don’t remember for the main fact that she wasn’t very memorable at all. She seemed like she was supposed to be a strong character, she was essentially Hal’s boss as well as his old flame. Heck, she even got the chance to save him once. But she still never really felt like a full character. She had a couple good lines, I really enjoyed how she called out the negligible Green Lantern mask as not really doing a good job at hiding his identity from someone who knew him their entire life. But she felt more like window dressing. She found herself in all these situations, but those situations never felt like they meshed into a full character.

There were two real villains in this movie, and I personally thought they stretched the realm of believability even for a comic book movie. There was a giant cloud of fear named Parralax that sucked the fear out of people to grow larger. Didn’t the studios learn anything when people complained about the fact that Galactus in the second Fantastic Four movie amounted to little more than a giant cloud? The slightly more down to Earth villain was Hammond who was also tied to Hal Jordan’s past as a seemingly old friend, although that relationship is really only made known by a couple lines of dialog that don’t amount to much. It seemed like they made a great effort to connect all these people in the movie to Hal Jordan in some meaningful way, and yet it only amounts to a superficial connection that serves no real purpose unless it’s just a nod to the comic books. Anyway, Hammond gets bitten by some leftover fear and grows a big head, complete with psychic and telekinetic abilities. It didn’t make sense to me that the thing that killed Abin Sur would grant some random guy a bunch of powers.

And technically, there was an alien inside there too.

But enough about what I didn’t like about the movie, I suppose I should get into the things that I did like. I enjoyed the scenes on Oa, especially with Sinestro, Kilowog, and Tomar-Re. I thought Sinestro was a great character and it was set up nicely for him to become the villain in the sequel which may or may not ever happen now. I also thought the Lantern constructs looked great and were nice choices. I also liked the look of the CGI costumes, though they could have used just a little less flashiness to them. And the battle scenes were a lot of fun, at least the ones that actually used the constructs. The brief battles with the other Lanterns shooting the green energy balls weren’t that great, but they were also quite short. I pretty much enjoyed all of the dialog given on Oa, it made me wish that more of the movie took place in space rather than on Earth, because most of the characters on Earth were pretty boring. Unfortunately, it also ended with a pretty poor scene where Hal outsmarts the giant cloud but finishes him off with a giant green fist.

I can totally see why people didn’t like this film, but I thought there was at least enough good stuff in it that I enjoyed watching it. For me, the poor parts of the film weren’t awful, they were just either forgettable or bland. But the good stuff in the movie was really great, and I think they could easily pull off a fantastic sequel based on what was set up in this movie. Sinestro is a great villain especially when using his origin of being a Green Lantern first. Some of the best villains are the ones you don’t see coming. Or at least the ones the heroes don’t see coming. I think one of the other reasons why I didn’t like the science nerd villain is something I only just now realized. It’s a very similar character as the main character in Chronicle, without the abusive aspects to it, but Andrew in Chronicle is a hundred times more interesting than Hammond. Now I’m in the mood to watch a much better Green Lantern origin story so Thursday will be Green Lantern: First Flight. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.


About Bubbawheat

I'm a comic book movie enthusiast who has watched and reviewed over 500 superhero and comic book movies in the past seven years, my goal is to continue to find and watch and review every superhero movie ever made.

Posted on June 12, 2012, in 10's movies, DC and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Yeah, I definitely agree on Blake Lively as Carol Ferris. She was pretty much just there. I wasn’t as happy with Ryan Reynolds as Hal as you were, but he was OK.

  2. I don’t know much about Green Lantern at all, I was always a Marvel guy growing up (except Batman). Anyway, I have yet to see this one, but your review makes it sound pretty much like what I expected. I don’t expect anything great, I just want some B-Movie fun out of it, and the villains seem like they will deliver just that.

  3. I think you’ve got it about right, Bubbawheat; it’s a fun film, just not great. And since a lot of fans were expecting “great”, it disappointed a lot of them.

    They absolutely had to go with Hal for this film. John, Kyle, and Guy all have their fans, but they all came after Hal. And while Alan came before Hal, his origin story has nothing to do with the Green Lantern Corps; it’s just the usual similar name/powers situation that is the case with a lot of the Golden Age characters (DC stopped publishing all but three of their characters in the 50s, and then when the Silver Age started, they just created new characters with the powers and names and different origins.) The problem was they tried to have things both ways a bit with the Hal and Kyle fans by giving Hal a Kyle-like personality trait: the insecurity. It’s one of the things that sets Kyle apart is that unlike most Green Lanterns, he really is afraid a lot of the time. But what set Hal apart is that even by Green Lantern standards he’s pathologically unafraid. The whole “I’m just not that guy” speech to Carol just felt wrong for that reason. It’s not a bad idea for a superhero film, but it’s a bad one for GL.

    Can’t argue on the villains either… Hector Hammond was a tough one to make the transition to the big screen, and Parallax is way too high-concept for an origin movie. I know it works well to set up Sinestro for the sequel, but they kind of hamstrung themselves there with a villain that couldn’t come across well in the film.

    Even so, I did enjoy it, and for a lot of the same reasons you did. Just wish it was as awesome as it should have been.

    • I think it would have been a much more impressive move if they had done John Stewart’s origin, even if they claimed that he was the first human Lantern. I also think they did too much jumping back and forth between space and Earth, they should have had a big chunk of the movie on Oa and then spend the rest of the movie on or around Earth.

      • I can kind of see where you’re coming from on John Stewart, and it might have worked reasonably well, since after all he certainly had a big resurgence in popularity from the Justice League cartoon.

        About space and Earth… it might have been a gutsier move to just have the whole threat be in space. I know there’s a tendency to make everything Earth-centric since the audience is from Earth, but does it really have to be Earth under attack every single time?

  4. I only ever saw this as an in-flight movie. I know I know! Hardly the best way to see a film, but I felt that it would let me concentrate on the characters and story rather than flashy effects. Consequently I thought the film sucked, hard. To be honest, I’d forgotten about the guy with the big head, Hammond. He got bitten by some leftover fear?! Didn’t remember that. I also felt that for a hero that could create anything he could imagine, the imagination of the action scenes was pretty lame! Maybe if it’s ever on telly I’ll give it another watch.

  5. It wasn’t a good film. I really wanted to like it but too many things failed, starting with script, direction and the main actor. Everything about it felt superficial and lacklustre and just couldn’t keep my interest. I only liked the visuals, especially the planet Oa and the Lantern constructs. Green Lantern deserves a better movie.

    • Yeah, it had a lot of potential. It’s a shame because Ryan Reynolds was not the problem with this movie, but I think he gets a lot of the blame for it. At least GL will have another shot in the near future.

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