Green Lantern is a loud, obnoxious, joyless video game that pretty much makes you want to write off superhero origin movies all together. The genre has become such a cash cow that studios now just assume that throwing a character onto the heap automatically guarantees a franchise. Warner Brothers may be in for an unpleasant surprise, as Green Lantern isn’t just bad, it’s Fantastic Four bad. Consisting of a paper-thin screenplay, an uncharismatic lead, and total CGI overload (most of it mediocre and unintelligible in Real3D that simply can’t keep up with the action), Green Lantern is a surefire candidate for biggest disappointment of the summer – and one of the worst films of the year.
Ryan Reynolds stars as Hal Jordan, an Air Force test pilot with a wild streak. He’s a spitting image of his old man, who died in a plane-test-gone-awry back in 1993. He has an inferiority complex because of it, but that begins to change once he receives a mysterious green ring from a dying alien who has crash-landed on Earth. The ring is that of the Green Lanterns, intergalactic peace keepers. The ring has “chosen” Hal, so he must train to become a full-fledged Lantern (even though they look down on humans) and prepare for a battle with Parallax, an enemy that threatens to destroy the universe’s balance of power.
Since the back story is that of Top Gun, what we’re basically left with is Ryan Reynolds grinning for the camera in a funny costume. His main power is that he can materialize anything his mind can conjure. That should make solving problems pretty easy, and it does. He can fly at will. There’s really nothing he can’t do. Conflict is at a premium in the screenplay (by a whopping four writers) and instead it defers to extended and very expensive-looking set pieces, which somehow manage to be total bores. Things blow up real good and people fly nearly at the speed of light, but it’s all empty calories. A few jabs at the genre in general connect, but that’s about it.
Ryan Reynolds is miscast as Jordan and here is basically reduced to a plastic costume with abs. His one-liners fall flat and the character takes way too easily to being transported across the universe and being thrown into do-or-die situations. Blake Lively is pleasant enough as Carol Ferris, but we never learn much about her. Peter Sarsgaard appears to be the only one who knew the script reeked and deserves an honorary Razzie for his completely over-the-top performance as villain Hector Hammond.
With an open ending that makes no sense in the context of everything that precedes it, there are clearly big future plans for Green Lantern. It should be a good litmus test to see if people are beginning to wear thin of these recycled origin stories. On its own standing, Green Lantern is a huge misfire on all fronts. That Warner Brothers has dropped $300 million in production and marketing budget on this is incomprehensible. Maybe Hal can materialize some cash and help the cause.
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Length: 105 Minutes
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action.
Theatrical Release: June 17, 2011
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Written by: Greg Berlanti & Michael Green & Marc Guggenheim & Michael Goldenberg.
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett