In the Brightest Day, the Blackest Night – avoid this pile of tripe.
The Green Lantern to me always felt like DC’s “other” one, behind Superman and Batman. It turns out it is behind Batman at the least (I have never seen a Superman film, but I find him preferable to the Green Lantern anyway). The main problem with Green Lantern is that it seems pretty much impossible to make his patented moves (green powers) look anything but cheesy or cheap, which they do.
However, taking this into account, the creators of the film decided they’d go down the silly and stupid route, instead of the serious tone Batman has taken in the recent years. This silly surface can be scratched away to reveal a fairly serious plot that happens to be all over the place and paced badly throughout. The film is about Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) becoming the Green Lantern and focusses for a while at least on his not wanting to be a superhero as he feels too small for the job – thanks to the ever-friendly Lanterns consistently putting him down on their home planet during training sessions. The problem here is that the film leaves little place for a villain and they kind of just happen. In fact, everything in the film kind of just happens with little explanation or character development (in one scene Hal doesn’t know who the bad guy is, the next they are beating the crap out of other, as he just so happened to know of his exact location). However, when the film is in some of its down-time moments, it can be decent enough.
Fleshing out these characters are their respective actors, Ryan Reynolds plays a decent Hal Jordan/ Green Lantern, Mark Strong does a good enough job as Sinestro (although he does not get enough screen-time) and Peter Sarsgaard plays a decent enough antagonist (Hector Hammond) while the rest of the cast is as forgettable as their characters. The main problem with the acting in the film is that they all play their part, but the supporting cast don’t exactly play their parts well, just well enough; and while Ryan Reynolds and Peter Sarsgaard are both decent in playing their roles, both of their respective characters do not see enough development as the protagonist squaring off against the antagonist should see.
Due to the lack of character development during the film, you never really feel anything for them and therefore do not really care for any of their supposed plight or problems throughout the surprisingly long run-time (114 minutes). However, most of the characters are likable enough despite their one-dimensional traits and personalities.
It seems more work went into the effects of the film than the characters or story, which is saying something as the effects can look cheap, cheesy and funny all at the same time. There is the occasional moment of snazzy visual effects that look like none of the above, but these are few and far between. However – as mentioned at the start of this review – it would be difficult to make the Green Lantern look anything other than cheap and cheesy, as such, the film makers had fun and made stupid-looking – but fun – giant green fists and race tracks (what every super hero needs).
All complaints aside however, this film is not terrible, not good, but OK(ish). It’s silly, stupid fun that doesn’t require much thinking but I cannot let the glaring issues slide. It is too long, it has a badly put together plot, the pacing is all over the place, there is a severe lack of character development and as such you don’t feel a thing for any of the characters or get a proper bonding of the protagonist and antagonist – it’s no Joker and Batman for example.
The Green Lantern does have fun, but it’s got too many issues to let it really take flight in any sense. 52/100.