Green Lantern - Review


Since Hollywood has recognized that comic books happen to be huge box office gold, there almost hasn't been one major comic book hero that didn't get a big screen adaptation.
Right next to Thor, Green Lantern is getting his first big movie. The trailers showed us Ryan Reynolds as the lead character and bashed our heads with a big load of CGI. And although i didn't have high hopes for this movie (especially after watching the trailers), i was pretty convinced of the source material's potential.
Question is, if DC's "Green Lantern" can counter Marvel's success with "Thor".



The plot:
The test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is granted a mystical alien green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe. With the evil force Paralax being a great threat for Earth, Green Lantern's powers are now mankind's only hope.

The writing is the movie's biggest weakness. Right from the cheesy title screen, you get your first peak at what is about to come. The main story is as basic as it gets and offers nothing more than what the trailers already showed. Dialogue is poorly written and misses the chance of giving any of the characters a certain interesting personality. It only tries to keep the weak plot going. Hal Jordan for example acts waaaay to cool, dealing with the situation that he JUST SAW AN ALIEN AND A SPACESHIP!!
The movie relies extremely heavily on its CG effects and of course advertises itself as being a CGI extravaganza. And there's a whole lot of it. Obviously, they try to flash the viewer with as much CG crap at once as possible, but that's just the same kind of strategy as waving your damn keys in front of a baby's face.
That's also represented in the choice of the villain. Instead of a physically personified evil they chose Paralax, which is basically a giant cloud of yellow and brown CG (almost like Galactus in "The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer").
Unfortunately, director Martin Campbell obviously forgot that nowadays comic book movies have to be handled with great care, if they want to critically succeed and give us more than what we already know (for example "The Dark Knight"). The days of gimmicky 90's comic book movies are over, WAKE UP!

"Green Lantern" is a very rushed movie that tries to get to Ryan Reynolds getting his new powers as quick as possible. Campbell simply fails to slowly and carefully tie the "Hal-Jordan-being-a-pilot-plot" and the "Green-Lantern-plot" together. It sort of throws them right at each other. One second you are in the middle of the pilot plot, and then literally BOOM! in the next second he meets the alien dude. So, it's no surprise that character development or story get left on the cutting room floor.
Every now and then, the movie tries to give a little bit more personality to the characters by throwing in some very awkwardly placed origin/memory flashbacks, but which often make no sense and feel extremely tacked on. Also, the movie's attempts of trying to build up any believable romance between Hal and his love interest Carol (Blake Lively) fail.

I am not very familiar with the Green Lantern DC comics, so i cannot say much about how faithful it is to the source material. But even before i knew, that a Green Lantern movie was going to be made, i always dug the idea of the Green Lanterns fighting pracitcally with their power of imagination and will (forming various weapons and stuff with their ring). But in the movie, i was missing some big WOW! moments from Hal Jordan's creations.
Most of the creations he does with his ring are so goofy, they often reminded me of Jim Carrey's effects from "The Mask".

Most of the cast does a solid job in acting. But there's exceptions like Black Lively, who often tends to overact in many scenes and (except her looks) is so godawfully unattractive it's ridiculous (just like Robin from HIMYM). But again this is probably due to the bad writing.
Ryan Reynolds is the Green Lantern, and so has the biggest task of them all. Although he does his best at giving the audience a relatively solid leading character, i still don't think that he does all that well. But well, you could argue that i am already a bit prejudiced against him (X-Men Origins: Wolverine -.-).
The movie tries to portray him as a Maverick-style badass but i felt more like he is a giant unfunny idiot (he is supposed to just showcase the abilities of the new AI jets and suddenly tries to battle them because he thought it was a dogfight....WTF?!RETARD!!).
Then there is Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond. Hector, being infected by Paralax, tries to give the audience a literally personificated evil but first of all, he just looks like shit in his final evil form. And ultimately, he is just as threatening to me as that stupid infected doctor from "Howard the Duck".
Oh and before i forget...WTF DOES TIM ROBBINGS DO IN THIS MOVIE?! He contributes a total of ZERO to the movie!

The highlights of the entire movie, are easily the scenes on the planet Oa. At times, i even briefly got the same feeling of fascination with the various alien creatures that i had in "Star Wars" during the pub scene or in "Hellboy 2" during the troll market scene. Unfortunately the parts that take place on Oa are very short and are drowned in an overuse of CGI.
Although "Green Lantern" (a movie that fully relies on CGI) should better give us top-notch effects-quality, the CGI is really a big problem. The thing is that as imaginative as many creatures on Oa are, Ryan Reynolds as the only "real person" amongst all those computer effects, really pops out and makes all those alien lifeforms look even more artificial. You just know that those aliens are not there. You never get the feeling that you could reach out and touch them. Reynolds is just standing in front of a fucking green screen!
Hal Jordan's green lantern costume looks pretty ok as i think, but with the only big downside that the costume also is completely CG. I understand the use of CGI during the planet Oa scenes or the aliens themselves, but the entire costume?! Put effects ON the acutal costume but don't generate the costume itself!! I think that except for the ring's powers, there is not really anything that justifies a completely computer-animated costume.
Damn, even the Top-Gun-style jet-scenes in the movie are CG!

"Green Lantern" could have been pulled off way better but instead, it now looks more like a big screen adaptation of the Power Rangers. Maybe "Green Lantern" would have been an average comic book movie, if it came out in the 90's amongst "Batman Forever" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". But now in the time of "The Dark Knight", "Sin City" etc., "Green Lantern's" formula "visuals over substance", simply doesn't work anymore. Also, don't expect the movie to feature big fights with multiple Green Lantern Corps members teaming up against Paralax. Director Martin Campbell took absolutely no advantage of what the DC source material gave him, except for the effects...and even they are nothing special.
Admitted, i always thought that a Green Lantern movie was almost as easy to fuck up as a Thor movie. But what Campbell did here, was just wasting millions of dollars on CG effects and nothing on good writers.
Don't let yourself get suckered into all this advertisement for this movie and just skip this waste of your time, called "Green Lantern".


Final Verdict: 2 out of 10

 

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