TITLE: Green Lantern
STARRING: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett
DIRECTOR: Martin Campbell
STUDIO: Warner Bros.
RUN TIME: 105 min
RELEASE DATE: June 17, 2011
By Seth Miller
Staff Writer, Part-Time Ninja
Readers of this website are pretty familiar with the fact that Green Lantern is one film this summer that the PI crew has been eagerly waiting for, and dreading whether or not it would suck. When the early reviews started to come in, we started to worry whether or not this movie was going to be a complete train wreck. Despite what other critics have said, Green Lantern is a fun movie that pays respect to the comic, but it has some problems.
Hal Jordan (Reynolds) is a test pilot who is chosen by the Green Lantern Abin Sur to protect Sector 2814. The Green Lanterns are a group chosen by the Guardians of the Universe to fight evil with the use of rings that create anything the Green Lantern can think of. At the same time, a scientist named Hector Hammond (Sarsgaard) is infected by Parallax; a malevolent entity that is powered by fear, wiped out whole planets and has killed a number of Green Lanterns including Abin Sur. Hal must overcome his fears and accept his role as a Green Lantern to defeat Parallax and save the universe.
Green Lantern is not the superhero film that many fans wanted it to be, but it is still a good, entertaining movie and not the waste of time that some of the critics have made it out to be. Reynolds may seem like the wrong choice to play Hal Jordan as he has to carry to whole movie, but he proves that he is more than capable of doing so. He is easily able to pull off the more humorous and lighthearted moments of the film, he can play the Green Lantern moments sincerely so that they don’t come off as campy, and he can even display some emotional range to show his conflicted emotions about whether or not he is fit to be a Green Lantern. Sarsgaard is a good villain for the film, he starts off as an odd, creepy scientist but he slowly becomes more menacing over the film as the Parallax entity take him over more and more.
The film has a good handle on the mythology and makes the scenes with the Green Lantern Corps on Oa have this grand space opera feeling to it that can suck people in. Sinestro, played by Mark Strong, provides a strong sense of what the idealized Green Lantern is and how important the corps is to the universe; Strong is great in this role and he feels like the right actor for the role considering we know where he will end up.
The effects and the action scenes are excellent; they pull the movie through when the story isn’t enough and make this film into solid entertainment. There is more time spent on Earth than in outer space because it is an origin story; while there are problems, there is a pretty fun tone for enough of it that the shortcomings can be overlooked.
This brings me to the problems that the movie has. The outer space sequences are all great, but there are too few of them; the bulk of the time is spent on Earth, where there is some interesting stuff, but there are gaps in the story that drag the film down. Director Martin Campbell is known more for his James Bond films, and while he does a decent job in this film, he could have used more work on the outer space sections of the film because he feels more comfortable with the story on Earth.
The screenplay is where some of the other substantial problems come from. Some of the story elements on Earth aren’t developed well or just feel forced. I don’t need to be constantly reminded Hal is scared cause his dad died in an accident over an over again. Other parts have been done before in other superhero movies and they have become a bit clichéd. Blake Lively’s character, Carol Ferris, could have also used more work. It has nothing to do with her performance, which is good, but the way Carol is written is troubling. She comes off as very strong woman who doesn’t put up with Hal, but then she falls into the standard damsel in distress role that goes gaga over the hero in his costume later on in the film. It could have been a much more well written character, and there are hints that she is but overall it is pretty standard for a superhero movie.
The biggest problem for this movie is behind the scenes. The running time for this film is an hour and forty-five minutes, which is too short for a superhero movie. In my opinion, a good superhero movie needs to be 2 hours plus to adequately get the story across and deliver the action. Green Lantern feels like its running time was cut down a lot to deliver the final film. Because of that, there is a sense of some important stuff that was left on the cutting room floor that would have added to the story and made a much stronger film. Also, I saw the film in 2D so I don’t know what the 3D looks like; but I know it was converted into 3D, not shot in 3D, and it’s been said that it makes the film dark and murky.
There are problems, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Green Lantern is a fun movie for the summer that I will be seeing again and I hope it makes enough money for a sequel that will improve on this film.
Front page image and interior stills from comingsoon.net.