Ryan Reynolds‘ second attempt at a comic book character, the first being Deadpool, has him using his skills as a cocky and arrogant asshole who somehow still manages to be charming.
Marvel and Paramount proved that they could blend a fantasy realm with a grounded story that also takes place on Earth in Thor and now it was DC and Warner Brothers turn, a studio/publishing combination that has spent most of its time together venturing into much darker and gritty projects like The Dark Knight and Watchmen.
So with that, how does Green Lantern stack up against similar characters and even opposites? Read on to find out.
Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a cocky test pilot. His dad died on duty and his longtime friend Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) has grown up in her father’s footsteps while Hal continues to live the life of an irresponsible man child. He’s reckless, selfish and above all fearful. He has a fear of commitment, a fear of attempting to succeed at something and a fear of following too close to his father’s footsteps, but that all changes when an alien crash lands on Earth and selects Hal to be a brave member of the Green Lantern Corps, a group of defenders of the universe, sworn to protect anything from the evil power of fear.
While Hal gets sent to the world of Oa for Lantern training, his past friend on Earth encounters the alien corpse of the fallen Lantern and gets injected with a little fear. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) is your everyday geek. He never mustered up the courage to talk to Carol when he was a child and he always sat back and played it safe when Hal and the other kids wanted to have fun. Hector is now a very smart man who’s tired of trying for the approval of his father and everyone else. Once he interacts with the purest form of fear he embraces it, letting it devour him into a hideous creature of a man.
Hector acts as a channel for the evil Parallax; a powerful monster that fuels on fear. As Parallax draws closer to Earth Hal must find the will deep down inside him to fight off the evil forces of Hector and Parallax, thus proving himself worthy of the ring bestowed upon him by the fallen Green Lantern Abin Sir (Temuera Morrison).
Green Lantern was never going to be an easy task to transfer from comic book to film and director Martin Campbell probably knew that, but the CGI choices he made for the suits mixed with the horrible screenplay makes Green Lantern one of the worst comic book adaptations in recent memory. Everything about the film comes off as messy and misguided. The story spends too much time on Hal moping around trying to find his true calling. Origin films, particularly origin films that deal with this much science fiction must keep the focus extremely tight. If you lose the viewer because of a sloppy story and lack of detail then it’s over. Case closed; try again with a reboot in 5 years.
Ryan Reynolds does gives it his all, despite original casting choice questions, but even his crop of quick jokes and awesome line delivery can’t save a stinky and smelly script that needs a lot of work. Each and every character is paper thin, including Hal Jordan and Hector Hammond. Their relationship is barely revealed until the final action sequences towards the end. Touching up on their past encounters would have really helped give the viewer a sense of care for either side, but you get nothing except for a few very minor flashbacks.
Hector isn’t a villain, he’s just a troubled geek that got picked on one too many times as a kid and now it’s his turn for some payback. Hal was given the whole world on a silver spoon, which doesn’t help strengthen his case when the two clash with innocent Carol in the middle. You understand who the “bad guy” is supposed to be, but you don’t understand WHY he’s the bad guy aside from his disfigurement and evil laugh.
Even channeling out the poor Earth relationships leaves Green Lantern troubled. Hal spends a total of 10 minutes in the massive world of Oa, meeting a few Lantern friends for a quick training session. If you blink your eyes you’ll forget that Sinestro (Mark Strong) was even in the film. Sinestro is supposed to be an important character in the film and he gets maybe five lines of dialogue. Mark Strong‘s performance is rock-solid, but the material he has to work with is laughable. Then to top it all off they drop in an end credit sequence hinting at another film, but by that point you don’t even care because you were never given proper time with these characters to want to return for another film.
You can’t fully blame director Martin Campbell for Green Lantern‘s quality because the writing is where it starts and everything else sort of follows it down the toilet. The action sequences are amusing, even though some of the CGI still looks very rough; including the Lantern’s suits, but at least the action is watchable.
Campbell is a more than competent director, but perhaps someone like Guillermo del Toro would have done better, since a good portion of the film relies on its visuals. A stronger director with a better eye for visuals would have been preferred, as well as someone who can take a mangled script and make it work, but Warner Brothers was obviously more worried with getting a big star that most people know into a possible franchise starter.
It backfired and it backfired hard. Green Lantern 2 is still probably going to poke its head, but Green Lantern has already done the character enough damage. It’s a messy film with not enough action and not enough scope.
Warner Brothers delivers Green Lantern on Blu-Ray with a very soft 1080p transfer. Detail isn’t always present and most of the natural colors feel very washed away and dark. When Hal is in Oa or wearing the bright green suit on Earth things tend to look a lot nicer, but when it’s just basic Earth attire the image quality takes a dip and becomes smudgy and lifeless. Those of you looking to impress your friends will want to focus on the space scenes, with bright greens and yellows!
The 5.1 DTS-HD audio track picks up almost all of the slack the video transfer leaves behind. This track is yet another fully active and loud track that eats up most of the speakers. Dialogue is never a problem to be heard over the front channels and the action spreads itself evenly over all 5 channels. Stuff like Hal cruising through space to Oa or getting chased by Parallax really make this track a lifesaver. Each green punch or fire blast he shoots at Parallax can be heard without a hitch. The audio track saves the Blu-Ray from being a complete waste in presentation.
Warner Brothers pads the disc with a few noteworthy features. The Maximum Movie Mode is always a treat for those looking to enjoy the film with various interactions, plus the film comes with a few features that give more detail on the character of the Green Lantern and why Ryan Reynolds was chosen to wear the ring! Check out a full list of features below:
- Extended (123 minutes) and Theatrical (114 minutes) Cuts
- Maximum Movie Mode: Green Lantern’s Light (HD)
- Focus Points (HD)
- The Universe According to Green Lantern (HD)
- Ryan Reynolds Becomes the Green Lantern (HD)
- Deleted Scenes (HD)
- Justice League #1 Digital Comic (HD)
- Preview of Green Lantern: The Animated Series (HD)
- PS3 Arkham City Character Skin Code: Sinestro Corps Batman attire for the PS3 version of Batman: Arham City.
- DVD Copy
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
There isn’t much left to be said about Green Lantern. It’s a failed attempt at a very specific character. Martin Campbell displays some positive traits when it comes to directing the action sequences, but aside from that and the performances by Reynolds and Strong, Green Lantern is a failure. The rest of the characters give you no reason to care for them or want to watch them and the story doesn’t help engage you on any level. The CGI is often times distracting and offsetting, which leaves little left to enjoy.
The Blu-Ray has the same problems when it comes to making the CGI look any less fake. The video transfer is super soft and unpleasing to the eyes in most areas. It does shine when Hal is out in space, where the dark background helps the bright green suits look a tad bit realer, but most of the film takes place on Earth, which makes the suits even worse to look at. The audio track helps pick up where the video left off thankfully, remaining outstanding in every way.
The package is topped off with a reasonable amount of extras for a Green Lantern fan that will likely bore everyone else. If you enjoy the character or the movie then you’ll be pleased with the features, but if you’re like me and the rest of the world you’ll find the extras to be just as boring as the film, but less offensive. The extended cut does insert a few much needed scenes, mostly in the beginning, that help set up the relationships between Hal, Carol and Hector, but the scenes only delay the film from eventually falling apart.
Green Lantern tried remaining bright and sci-fi heavy when other comic book films have done better being gritty and dark, but it doesn’t fail because of its tone or mood, it fails because of its script that was most likely written in crayon and its expensive special effects that need lots of fine tuning. Maybe someone with more visual abilities can give this one a go in 5 to 10 years or perhaps Green Lantern is best left on the comic book pages?
Green Lantern's extended cut fairs much better than its sloppy theatrical counterpart, thanks to serviceable performances by Ryan Reynolds and Mark Strong.