Right when Ryan Reynolds gets his new fancy Green Lantern suit, he is told that he has also been implanted with a virtual knowledge base by the Lantern folk, and he immediately has a vast knowledge of all the sectors of the universe that the Lanterns defend. Cool! Then that scene is immediately followed by about 10 minutes of having things bluntly explained to him while he stands there slack-jawed. “DUHHHHH WHAT’S PARALAX, FISH MAN…?” “DURRRR THE RING DOES WHAAAAAAT NOW?” I guess the knowledge base only gives him enough knowledge to win an intergalactic trivia contest… Perhaps they could have included a few more instructions, to at the very least save this movie from its wide array of exposition.
During this tedious explanation, Hal is exposed to the thousands of other Green Lanterns who are also there to be awesome space cops. They only show it for a second, but one of the Lanterns was some sort of space wasp, about the size of a human shoe. I Immediately became utterly fascinated with the Wasp Lantern. I wanted an entire movie about the Wasp Lantern on his home Wasp planet doing cool Wasp things with his Green Wasp powers. Maybe that’s because I wasn’t that fascinated with the human Green Lantern all that much.
This movie might have been cool in 2001, when we haven’t already been exposed to numerous assembly line comic book origin stories. Because Green Lantern is about as by the books average from a story perspective as it gets. Now I never read any Green Lantern comics, but it seemed like there was a lot of wasted potential here. I mean, even all the other Green Lanterns (including but not limited to Wasp Lantern) are introduced to us but then end up doing absolutely zero in this film. I would have liked this movie better if they didn’t even show the Green Lantern headquarters until the end, and it was just Hal Jordan getting the ring and messing around with it on Earth for 90 minutes. He could fight the giant dust cloud that was Paralax, win over Blake Lively, drive a CGI race car around the pyramids and call it a day. Then right before the credits Sinestro and Wasp Lantern show up and invite him to hang out at Green Lantern HQ because he proved himself awesome.
Because I mean, what was the story, really? Ryan Reynolds gets an awesome ring, he’s told he’s a space cop now, he goes back to Earth and fights a dust cloud with a skeleton face that screams a lot, and… I don’t even remember what else happened. Because I don’t really care. I think Green Lantern is going to be one of 2011’s biggest “Oh yeah, they made that movie, didn’t they?” kind of movies. I struggle to think anyone would watch it and think it’s anything special, and I imagine most people will forget they even saw it by the time Captain America comes out.
The 3D was actually really cool in the first 5 minutes during the back story explanation, a lot of cool trippy space travel stuff that seemed destined for 3D treatment. I bet some college kid with dreadlocks and a Grateful Dead t-shirt found it really groovy or whatever. But eventually the 3D also became very “who cares?” and there were only mild flashes of cool 3D effects throughout the rest. The special effects were well done, but extremely overdone. The CGI Lantern headquarters were overflowing with bland virtual visuals. It seemed like they took Thor’s home planet from that movie, made it darker, greener, and with less imaginative production design.
Reynolds has been better, and been worse. I’m not a huge Reynold’s fan, so I felt rather indifferent about his performance. Blake Lively was… not good…? I don’t think I’ve ever seen her actually act in something before, so I wasn’t even sure who she was. I just wikipedia’d her to see if I’ve ever seen her in anything else, and I guess she was in The Town last year… Oh yeah, she was the white trash girl! That was a pretty good role. All her other credits, yeah, there are reasons why she’s not familiar to me. Didn’t catch Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants when it was in theaters, oops… I guess she’s on Gossip Girl, a show in which I know of, but have never even seen a commercial for. I guess that’s what she’s famous for. And for being an extremely attractive young actress. Wow, that was a random Blake Lively tangent. Long story short, I didn’t like her in Green Lantern. Her being a fighter pilot was like Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist in The World is Not Enough. Hollywood nonsense. I didn’t think Green Lantern was a good movie, and they needed a tough fighter pilot girl, so I don’t understand why they didn’t go after the go-to tough girl who seems to pop up in manly roles in like every bad movie ever released: Michele Rodriguez.
The story was plain, the forced romance was boring, the side characters were underused (especially the big-headed telepathic villain I didn’t even mention, the most interesting character in the whole movie; pretty much wasted by the end), and the film’s message was intensely dumbed down. The action scenes were not even that impressive (green race tracks and green catapults? ehhhhhh).
Now that they got a lot of this boring stuff out of the way in this movie, maybe some cool intergalactic problems could be better covered in a sequel. Maybe the other Lanterns could actually, like, DO something in the sequel! Just make Wasp Lantern Hal’s permanent sidekick, and I’ll immediately give the sequel higher marks. For now: Green Lantern film = (obnoxious fart noise).
4.5 out of 10