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Published on June 17th, 2011 | by Sue Murphy


Movie Review: The Green Lantern

Director: Martin Campbell
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Tim Robbins, Geoffrey Rush.

Well, during April, kicking off the summer blockbuster season, we had Thor, which was then closely followed by X-Men First Class, gracing the box office a mere two weeks ago. This week sees the release of the “eagerly anticipated” Green Lantern and following that we will have Transformers: The Dark Side of the Moon and Captain America. Let me further point out that this is just the comic book blockbusters and doesn’t include the sequels Cars 2 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part, wait for it, yes you’ve guessed it, 2. So today, I am issuing a plea to the major film companies in the States, please, for the love of good and the preservation of all that is right and good, please stop. The Green Lantern, for all intents and purposes, looked to be promising on paper and the inspired decision to cast Ryan Reynolds as the hero of the tale would certainly ensure ticket sales. However, early trailers weren’t exactly received well and the footage that was released at WonderCon was later described as unfinished and not up to the mark with effects (this in itself was a ridiculous move, why issue something to WONDERCON that is unfinished. Just be done with it and throw your project to the wolves). But, perhaps partially through disbelief that a project like this could not work combined with blind hope that Ryan Reynolds may become one of the noteworthy superheroes, there was still a smidgen of excitement in the lead up to the release of the Green Lantern.

Now, here comes the tough part, as I will endeavour to explain the plot which could be likened to a comic-book movie plot created by an eleven year old. And that isn’t even doing the eleven year old any justice. Green Lantern kicks off with a history of how the universe has been divided up into different sectors which are protected by the Green Lantern Corps, defenders of the peace. Each Green Lantern has been specifically chosen by a ring which gives the wearer superpowers, the ability to create whatever they imagine. However, the peace of the universe is threatened by a new enemy Parallax, who feeds on fear and threatens the existence of the Green Lanterns. One of the greatest lanterns is destroyed by Parallax and following an impromptu selection process, Hal Jordan, the first human lantern, receives the ring. Still with me? Ok good. So there’s a sub-plot with Blake Lively (love interest). And another sub-plot with Peter Sarsgaard (evil guy with daddy domestic issues). And there’s some interesting colour lessons which subtlety explain the ins and outs of will and fear…

Your hope for the creation of a new franchise will be dashed about twenty minutes into the Green Lantern when you realise that at that stage, Ryan Reynolds is still not one of the green superheroes. This is not an uncommon problem with superhero movies; often the back story takes so long to build that you will inevitably have lost the will to care what happens to the character by the time the action kicks in. The back story to the Lanterns is a slight shambles, in fact in general the entire plot is a mess, jumping from scene to scene, not focusing enough on character and losing the viewer with its rambling. Ryan Reynolds, who has successfully managed to be the guy most guys want to be and most girls want to be with, is not given decent material to work with. At times, it felt he was on the brink of breaking down laughing while trying to read the cheesiest of dialogue, and while this has worked in his favour before for comedy productions, it’s difficult to take him seriously within the superhero context. Also, there is NEVER any indication given to the motivation of his character, one minute he’s running around breaking hearts and trying to get his entire company unemployed, the next he’s fawning over an ex and saving mankind. Lively is underused, a brilliant turn in The Town is completely undone here with a 2-D performance that seeks to show off her curves, or what exists of them, rather than her acting skills. The rest of the cast are bland, in fact the one achievement The Green Lantern makes is to turn reasonably respected actors into a laughing stock. The screening I attended laughed out loud at Sarsgaard after the effects of his alien encounter started to take over his body. I’m pretty sure that is NOT the reaction they were looking for from an audience. At one point, the film lagged so much a few people around me considered leaving.

I can’t even find anything to redeem this film, or indeed this review. I still have so many questions, but the main one is WHY???

Following your viewing, how do those guys get up on those pedestals? And why are they up there? How do they get down?

Back to WHY?

Also, I thought that rather than the trailer, this would be more appropiate. Thanks to those who sent it on.


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7 Responses to Movie Review: The Green Lantern

  1. Emlyn says:

    Have heard nothing but bad things about this, so think i’ll stay away and catch it on dvd some night. Though he usually gets saddled with comedy/wise ass roles, Ryan Reynolds was actually pretty good in ‘Buried’ – which was the complete opposite of a movie like this though. Great review.

  2. Sue Murphy says:

    Genuinely feel he has range but he’s just not getting the material. I hope he doesn’t make another. And he still has Deadpool in the works…


  3. Emlyn says:

    Agreed. And i seriously think he should reconsider Deadpool. And you’re welcome!

  4. David says:

    It is exactly what it was set up to be – a decent superhero film… Not brilliant cinema, but then neither was Thor.

    I laughed, jumped, and worried about the fate of universe in all the right places and came out happy – certainly nowhere near as dissatisfied as Sue.

    Popcorn fodder and entertainment, it’s a superhero flick.

  5. insomniac says:

    Deadpool? Last seen in Lolverine, shooty laser head bouncing of a cooling tower?

    An origin story of an origin story, that’ll do well, I’m sure…

  6. Sue Murphy says:

    X-Men, for me, was a decent superhero film with a bit of meat to it. Batman has probably raised the bar higher than anyone expected and personally, I think if you’re spending MILLIONS on a film, a good effort is simply not good enough anymore…

    Thor had heart, certainly it got a little cheesy but I understood his motivation. That’s something a good director should still be able to shine through on screen…

    Sorry, off with his head…

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