If you're looking for the big summer blockbuster movie, sadly, it will not be Green Lantern. There's no question that everyone should be aware of this movie. You can't walk the city streets without seeing bus posters, billboards or ads on the sides of busses for the movie. Commercials have flooded television with images of what Warner Bros. hopes is their next big movie franchise.
I won't say it was a horrible movie. There were moments I did enjoy. Unfortunately they were overshadowed by the bad parts. While watching the movie, I tried to keep in mind how a comic book fan would react as well as someone that doesn't know a bit about the character.
There were some things that really worked and many that didn't.== TEASER ==
From the moment the film begins, Tomar Re serves to inform viewers what is going on. We get a history lesson of sorts, explaining what the Green Lantern Corps is about, who the Guardians are and what the story of Parallax is. All of this happens before the credits even begin. It's a smart move as it quickly gets the messy details out of the way that would bog down the movie if attempted to be fully explained during.
That brings up another point, at an hour and forty-five minutes, the movie is crammed with plot details, characters and special effects. My fear that having the movie set on Earth and Oa would complicate things basically came true. It's like having two separate movies and they're not equally balanced.
We get a good introduction to who Hal Jordan is along with his skills and flaws. The pacing of the movie was just off. So much had to happen and yet, there were moments the movie almost felt as if it were dragging. Essentially, Hal has to get the ring, learn everything about it, fit in some training on Oa and return to Earth to be a hero. All this while helping to save the universe. That is quite a lot for one movie.
While having an entire movie set on Oa might be too much for the average movie-goer, it would have made more sense. Hal struggled with knowing how to properly use the ring but suddenly became an expert. He had the shortest training period ever. There is the easy-way out in suggesting that the ring and battery could infuse knowledge into his mind but it's not believable. We see an almost bumbling Green Lantern that can suddenly swoop in and save the day. Also Hal's first encounter with Hector Hammond felt like it just came in out of nowhere. All the while there's the threat of Parallax on Earth yet the Guardians and Green Lantern Corps don't feel it's worth their attention.
The biggest surprise was the movie didn't fully follow the 2008 Secret Origin storyline. Hal didn't have to earn his Lantern symbol on his costume. Hal and Sinestro didn't have their bonding moments as Hal trained to become a Lantern. Hector Hammond's origin was different (again). It just seemed odd that we're getting another retelling even though I completely understand that it can't and won't be exactly like the comics.
There are some good actors here but the casting for this movie was wrong. I'm a big fan of Ryan Reynolds but, as many have said before even seeing the movie, he just doesn't seem like Hal Jordan material. Reynolds almost felt like he played the role he always plays. That's great but it's not who Hal Jordan is. This is the area we need to separate ourselves from being a comic book reader or a movie-viewer. Reynolds provides the humor you'd expect. He does convey the struggle of overcoming fear nicely. He shows struggle of dealing and adapting to his new situation. But it just didn't feel like Hal Jordan.
Blake Lively as Carol Ferris? She was okay in her role but again, it didn't feel like the Carol I've been reading. I wasn't fully convinced she was an awesome fighter pilot as well as a savvy business exec. I felt she was going back and forth trying to decide how she felt about Hal. In the comics, we've seen her push her feelings aside often, trying to keep work and relationships separate. In the movie, she was often Hal's cheerleading section yet when they were together, it seemed it was Hal who was the one holding back.
What about Peter Skarsgard as Hector Hammond. Did they really need to go with Hammond as the villain? Sure Green Lantern doesn't have many memorable villains without going all cosmic (something I think they wanted to try to avoid, yet we had Parallax too). Hammond is one of those characters that works great in the pages of a comic book but when you try to translate him onto the big screen, it's another story. I mean look at the guy, he has a giant head. Does that capture the essence of a terrifying villain? How can you take him seriously when half the time you want to laugh at him?
The fact that we had Hammond and Parallax as the villains felt a little weird. But we all know you can't have only one villain or hero in a comic book movie.
This is the big part. This is what could make or break the movie for many. This is an extremely visual movie. The funny thing is, I have seen some people comment about how great the effects were. Yes, there were some incredible visuals but I thought there many scenes that had visuals worse than some video games. The scene up above with Hal and Tomar Re flying, a couple moments it just looked like a bobbly Ryan Reynolds head floating around a bunch of green lights.
The scenes on Oa were cool but too many times the characters had strange stances. If you look at a larger image of the one to the right, the way Sinestro is standing looked really weird to me. Characters' legs and the way they walked looked very artificial.
During the brief moment Hal was training with Kilowog and Sinestro, the constructs were cool. It was just a strange mix throughout the movie.
What about Hal's costume? I know some have said they liked the fact that it's generated by the ring but I don't understand why it's so...muscle-y. Of course we all know how the mask looks. It's mentioned in the movie that Hal's ring would generate the mask when his identity needed protecting. If the Lanterns are intergalactic cops, why would they need to protect their identity? And how would one small mask completely conceal his identity? And the mask was just silly looking. Thankfully, some of the issues I mentioned are addressed in the movie. It was a nice touch.
Parallax was unexpected and an ambitious inclusion. Is it wrong that I was reminded of Megamind at times? The movie already had a lot of CG effects and to throw in a villain that looked like a floating black cloud with a giant head and teeth could be very hard for non-comic readers to swallow. But we're supposed to believe that Hal Jordan, on basically his first mission as a Green Lantern can take on Parallax when Sinestro's hand picked army of Lanterns couldn't? Guess Hal Jordan really is a kickass hero.
The Guardians were interesting (and also reminiscent of Megamind). We do get the sense that they know more than they let on. Comic readers will get that impression. Others might not quite get why they don't tell Sinestro or the Corps more about Parallax. It's just simply, "See ya later, good luck trying to stop him."
From everything I've written, it's easy to believe that I really didn't like the movie. Hal Jordan is one of my favorite characters. I've been wearing a sterling silver officially licensed Green Lantern ring on my finger since 1997. I wanted this movie to be everything it had the potential to be. Whether it's my longing to have Green Lantern up on the big screen, I'm not sure if that is actually jading my judgement rather than make me an angry comic book fan.
The movie is far from being close to perfect. It takes on a lot, almost too much. Trying to tell the origin story of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps in one movie along with having a major Parallax battle was way too much. As a comic fan, I would have loved to see more of Hal actually trying to figure out the ring and spending time on Oa.
Secret Origin showed Sinestro mentoring Hal. This was one of the tweaks made to Sinestro that was a great move. If Hal and Sinestro will come at odds later, seeing that close relationships adds more to the conflict over just having a good guy versus a bad guy.
My rating is a 3 out of 5. I was disappointed. There were nice touches. I was entertained at times. I had a smile on my face (not just when I was snickering at Hector Hammond). Too much was crammed into the movie but they did capture what the Green Lantern concept is about. Parallax should not have been in this movie. The actors were fine but better casting choices could have been made to get the right people to play the proper roles. The 3D was fine. I didn't notice it often throughout but did have moments when I noticed bad CG work.
I think the movie is definitely worth watching for comic fans, as long as you can watch without getting angry. I am thankful to finally have a GL movie, even if it could have been a better movie. Maybe it's my age but I don't have time to get hung up on all the flaws. Let's hope if there is a sequel, they will iron out the kinks here. I am a little sad but it had moments that made me happy as a Green Lantern fan.
As for the credits. There is a scene midway through the credits worth seeing, even if a little disappointing that they chose to do it there. Nothing at the very end except for an ad to buy Green Lantern trades (pretty smart move, actually).