Movie Review: The Green Lantern

Rated: M
Director : Martin Campbell
Starring : Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Tim Robbins, Taika Waititi, Temuera Morrison, Angela Bassett
Running Time : 114 minutes
Release Date : 11th August 2011

Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a cocky test pilot who runs into Abin Sur, an intergalactic soldier who crash lands on Earth.  Abin hands Hal his ring and declares him a Green Lantern.  Hal is then whisked away to the Green Lanterns’ corp. planet of Oa.  It turns out the Lanterns are green-wearing protectors of the universe.

Hal is given the ring to perform unlimited powers to help mankind.  Meanwhile, a fear-essence called Parallax is going around outer space destroying planets and Hal must stop him.  Also, a part of Parallax possesses Earth biologist Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), which causes Hammond to lose his sanity.

green lantern

Bewildering story?  Tell me about it!  The Green Lantern feels like a throwback to the pre-X-men/Spiderman era when superhero movies were a joke.  It’s like something I would have watched for 25 minutes on TV on weekday mornings as a child.

First off, the design department is all over the place.  The special effects are at times cartoonish, disturbing, and more suited for a video game.  Next to the live actors, it just looks fake.  Hal uses his ring to form some really unlikely choices of weapons, like a giant, swirling race car track.  Peter Sarsgaard’s make-up for when Hammond turns into what looks like the Elephant Man is obviously prosthetic, which undermines any serious consideration.

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Planet Oa is impressive for its two only settings we’re introduced to.  When we’re not on Planet Oa, we get these long voice-over monologues like “Millions of years before Earth was formed……the Guardians of the Universe used the green essence of willpower……yellow is the colour of evil…..when the Universe was split into 3, 600 sectors”.  Just when you’re dying for some action, we cut to the so-called comedy with Ryan Reynolds wrapping a gift while driving, nearly causing an accident.

Now, all of this could have been okay if The Green Lantern had any friggin’ logic.  This is a world where no-one reacts to anything abnormal.  Hal calmly accepts the ring with the little information he is given from Abin Sur’s dying breath and then ultimately believes he is a Green Lantern who must visit Planet Oa.  YOU KNOW YOU’RE TALKING TO A PURPLE ALIEN, RIGHT?!   Even when Hal lands on Planet Oa for the first time, his jaw doesn’t drop at the sight of an Emerald City inhabited by hybrid-looking creatures.

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You want a relative leading man who you can experience this world through, but Ryan Reynolds just jokes around whether he’s flying in outer-space or talking to a Green Lantern with a fish for a head.  Every now and then he recites his lines with short silences and you can tell, just by looking at his eyes, that he thinks he’s being funny.

Hector Hammond embodies every villain cliché in the book.  A tantrum-throwing, geeky scientist with unexplained daddy issues, an out-of-nowhere love interest in (what do you know?) the hero’s love interest that goes nowhere, and experiments with mysterious fluids by injecting himself with them.  It’s like watching a children’s cartoon villain come to life, in terms of both character and physical appearance.

The Green Lantern is the most bewildering, nonsensical, cheesy and tedious cliché of a superhero movie is years.


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