Green Lantern – Film Review

In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. A brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers. But when a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan.

Hal is a gifted and cocky test pilot, but the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before. But Hal is clearly the missing piece to the puzzle, and along with his determination and willpower, he has one thing no member of the Corps has ever had: humanity. With the encouragement of fellow pilot and childhood sweetheart Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), if Hal can quickly master his new powers and find the courage to overcome his fears, he may prove to be not only the key to defeating Parallax…he will become the greatest Green Lantern of all.

When the first Green Lantern was released I remember thinking ‘it looks ok but it’s a DVD rental for me’. I was happy with my choice until a few months ago when the Green Lantern marketing folk changed it’s tactics, deciding to play up the cosmic side of the Green Lantern mythos. It suckered me in and got me excited for this flick despite myself. After watching Green lantern I walked way with a disjointed review in my head. On the one hand there were parts of the film I loved on the other there was stuff I made a mental note to skip if I ever picked this up on DVD.

All the scenes set on Oa, home of the Green Lanterns and the Guardians were fantastic and really gave a larger than life cosmic feel to the film.  One scene where Hal and  fellow Green Lantern Tomar-Re, who is also his instructor, fly around the planet is a spectacular example of this (a great use of the 3D too). It gives you a glimpse of what this film could have been if the filmmakers had been a little braver and not relied so much on the earth-bound sequences. We are told the sector Hal has been chosen to protect  is vast but Hal feels so tethered to earth so the point is never rammed home. Even a scene of Hal being taking on a tour of his new sector would have helped. The majority of the scenes set on earth (unless it involved Green lantern action)  I found flat and didn’t do much for me.  A lot of this blame can be leveled at some of the supporting cast who either did not have enough screen time to  establish themselves, were just filler or just plain boring.

Ryan Reynolds who must move from Cocky test pilot to intergalactic job did a good job in the title role. Sure he was cocky but he never really came off as a complete ass so it was easy to root for him. I would have liked to have seen some more flashbacks with Hal’s  father as it would have informed a lot more some of the stuff you learn about Hal later in the film. Honesty though this is origin 101 so if you’ve seen any of the recent offerings you’re not going to be surprised. Reynolds delivers some great one liners and grows nicely  into the role of the the first Green Lantern.  If this film does well enough to merit a second film I’d be happy to see him take up the reigns. The same can also be said of Mark Strong who as usual turns in a solid performance as Sinestro and gives a nobility to the character but at the same time laying the seeds for what every Green Lantern fan knows is coming.

Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond was just a boring villian with a motivation I’ve seen a hundred times. Nothing wrong in Sargaard’s performance but more me being  a little tired of this kind of villain. Reinventing the wheel isn’t a problem if it’s done in an exciting way and Hector Hammond just wasn’t. I know this is an origin film but rather than Hector Hammond’s ‘look at me I’m a villain with a big forehead’ storyline having Hal face of against Sinestro would have worked better all round.  I did think the origin of Parallax made sense  (don’t know how this fits in with the comic) and worked really well in the film.

Blake Lively’ performance  as Hal’s  child sweetheart/test pilot/boss Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) was pretty forgettable apart from one scene where she meets with Green lantern after being rescued.  It’s a fantastic laugh out loud moment in which you feel Lively is finally having fun with the character but unfortunately it’s her only one.

My overriding thought before seeing this film was ‘I have no idea how they’re going to pull this off’. The weird thing was all the stuff I didn’t think would work on the big screen was the stuff I loved. The corps ,Oa, the guardians, the ring constructs all work and worked better than I could have hoped. The cgi characters who form the corps, characters like Tomar-Re and Kilowog have more screen presence in their, all too short screen time, than most of the human actors with the exception of Reynolds and Strong who worked well as Sinestro. While I am talking about what worked special mention must be given to The ring constructs. Given that Hal is told that the constructs spring from his imagination it was a nice touch that the constructs he used in the film really fitted  his personality, especially in the climax of the film.

I would have loved the film to spend some  more time on the Oa training sequences because blink and you miss them.  It’s a minor niggle Hal’s lack of training did become a little jarring later when you seen him fighting and using the ring like an old pro when it seems like he’s had five minutes of training.

The Green Lantern oath itself is only voiced twice in the film and both times Ryan nails it especially the second time when Hal really believes and embodies the oath he’s speaking. It was probably my fave moment of the film.

Green Lantern isn’t an awful film but it’s more of an average one with some great moments. Ultimately some weak supporting characters and a standard origin plot stop it from become the epic cosmic superhero film it could have been. On the bright side I had fun in the cinema watching it  and I could see  kids enjoying the film, especially the cosmic stuff and the ring constructs.

GS Rating: 3/5

GS Reviewer: Nuge

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