Review by J.T. Johnson
DIRECTOR: Martin Campbell
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Dion Beebe
WRITERS: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg
MUSIC: James Newton Howard
“Green Lantern” is the third of four major comic book movies to be released this year and the only film coming from DC’s superhero line-up. The question that remains is whether or not the movie lives up to the hype that surrounds it. Unfortunately, that answer is simply no.
Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a cocky and seemingly fearless test pilot that always pushes his aircraft to the limits. Of course, no would-be superhero would be complete without his own baggage. Therefore, it is soon revealed that a previous tragedy has Hal chock full of fear.
Suddenly, a green orb of energy surrounds Hal and whisks him away to a crashed alien aircraft. An alien named Abin Sur (Temura Morrison) is a part of an intergalactic force known as the Green Lantern Corps. Abin has been gravely wounded by a deadly threat in the universe named Parallax and Abin’s ring has chosen Hal as a worthy replacement.
After this, it’s the standard superhero origin story. The hero doesn’t know whether or not he is the right person for the job, a pathetic loser becomes an all-powerful threat, a massive force descends upon the earth and blah blah blah. The first half of the film actually shows a great deal of promise with humor and a good amount of set up time. It’s when Hal finally becomes a Green Lantern that it all falls apart.
The first thing that should be mentioned is that Reynolds and the rest of the cast do a good job with what they are given. With people like Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett and Tim Robbins on the set, at least the acting doesn’t suck. The problem with the film comes from an already average superhero story coated in some of the worst CGI found in recent years.
Green Lantern’s suit is a good example. The audience can easily tell where Reynold’s neck ends and the fake suit begins. The biggest problem with the suit, though, is with the mask. It just looks ridiculous and makes Reynolds look ridiculous in the process. At least the stupid mask did lead to a funny scene where Hal’s love interest Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) knows that it’s Hal even though he has on a mask that doesn’t really do much to hide his identity in the first place.
As far as the action is concerned, it’s not too bad except for the fact that it suffers from the same horrible effects as the rest of the film. There were plenty of moments where it felt more like a video game than a movie. Also, there are some flying sequences where it just didn’t look real at all. With “Iron Man” already giving audiences convincing flying sequences, this is just inexcusable.
The physical set design also leaves something to be desired as well. There is a secret government installation where it looks like the designers were trying way too hard to be a comic book movie. Also, Bassett’s wardrobe and hairstyle make her look faker than some of the CGI shots.
Despite director Martin Campbell and the cast’s most valiant efforts, they could not salvage this subpar superhero film. One of the reasons this and other superhero films were not being made in the ‘90s was the fact that the technology was not there to make them believable enough on film. With “Green Lantern”, the same can be said about it now.
There may be a day where a good “Green Lantern” film will come about. Unfortunately, this just wasn’t the time and Reynolds should just focus on making a kickass “Deadpool” movie instead.