So. Green Lantern. One of 2011’s most highly anticipated summer blockbusters.
Let me tell ya’. I was pumped up for this movie. Every so often reassurring friends on Facebook how awesome it’s gonna be by posting a new trailer I found. The initial trailer, Wondercon trailer, Yahoo trailer featuring Geoffery Rush as Tomar Re. Two days before its release, my friend tells me he hears it sucks. All the hype and epicness crashed in my face as I read reviews. Especially the IGN review. When Jim Vejvoda wrote “Indeed, X-Men: The Last Stand and Wolverine are better than Green Lantern,” I think I died a little inside. I reset my bar to “incredibly low expectations.” I think it saved the enjoyment of it for me.
Insecure, abrasive, egotistical, playboy pilot, Hal Jordan, is working for his ex-girlfriend’s family’s aviation company and participates in a flight test for a newly developed jet. After pulling a “Maverick” stunt, he’s left praised and condemned. All the while, Abin Sur, the greatest Green Lantern warrior, gets jumped by a very powerful enemy (Parallax) and becomes mortally injured. His ring finds Hal Jordan to be his successor and throws him into this new world of great power and responsibility. Hal learns what being part of the Corps is all about through his meetings of Tomar Re, Kilowog, and Sinestro. Meanwhile, an incredibly awkward professor gets infected with Parallax during his analysis of Abin Sur’s body. The Green Lantern Corps hesitate to fight the powerful Parallax, and so Hal struggles alone to find the strength within himself before his planet is doomed to this great evil.
I’m just gonna say it: The writing sucked. You have three writers credited to the story. Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, and Marc Guggenheim. All of them worked on the screenplay, as well, along with Michael Goldenberg. I’ve always had a theory that more than two people shouldn’t be involved in writing a film story. I’m sure there are cases where this has worked nicely, but from what has caught my eye…it doesn’t work. Too many mixed ideas and mixed directions. And, honestly, I don’t know whose influence it was, but damn it, some of the writing was bad. Straight up. It made me wonder exactly what kind of strings were pulled for this mystery-terrible-writer to get hired on for the script (and story?) of “Green Lantern.” This was obviously a big investment for DC, and I severely doubt it’ll get back the numbers they were hoping for. It perplexes me that Hollywood has repeatedly failed to notice the direct correlation between good writing and the success of a film.
It was cliche. Horribly cliche. I laughed at parts where no one else was laughing. My FRIENDS laughed at parts no one else was laughing. These things weren’t meant to be laughed at, of course. I kind of want to read the screenplay, just to see exactly what Martin Campbell had to work with. ‘Cause if the script is just utter garbage, I can’t blame Mr. Campbell. If it’s not as bad as I thought…then he’s got some explaining to do. I mean…when Hal makes his first appearance to the public as Green Lantern, amidst dead silence, I couldn’t help but shout “Really!?” And I’m not that obnoxious guy in the theater who talks and you want to punch in the face. I’m always the guy who wants to do the punching…so it took me aback a little. It surprised me that a loud word was spoken from my mouth caused by the shock of the pathetic cliche that me eyes saw on the screen. I mean…I don’t think you can get a cheesier angle or look on “Carol Ferris” (Blake Lively) as Green Lantern flies away into the moonlight. Just god awful. I might have let it slide if it were the only horribly cliche moment in the movie. But, unfortunately, it wasn’t. There were several laughable moments– however, I kept most of those moments in my head.
Also, as it usually goes…3D was garbage. Cool effects for the first 5 minutes…and then pointless. Save your money. Go watch 2D.
The progression of the film didn’t feel very fleshed out either. It felt very blocky. I think the best way to describe it is like a book. When you’re reading a book, you follow a character, the chapter ends, and in the next one you’re following something else– a second character perhaps. By the time you get back to the first character, (s)he’s not in the same place as where you left off. Now, just take out that second character. It felt like it was written in blocks. Almost like each writer was given a skeleton outline of the story and was given different “chapters” to write…just, none consecutive.
There were a few other let downs apart from the writing. I didn’t get to see some things that I was hoping to see. As much as I like Hal Jordan, there was almost no focus on other characters. I don’t go about reading Green Lantern comics or anything, but to my understanding Tomar Re and Kilowog are actually primary characters. His training on the planet Oa was far too brief, and you don’t get a chance to see skilled Lanterns in a real fight, even though they were clearly given an opportunity to do so. In fact, I’m certain the fight scenes weren’t at all a focus. They were all short and kind of uninteresting.
Character development wasn’t very good either. The changes were superficial. They failed to bring out the depth of any character. Hal’s struggle was too black and white. His transition was about as quick as flicking a light switch. Sinestro’s obsession was too flat. The romance was too unrealistic. Hector’s struggles were rather plain. Actually, having Hector Hammond in the movie at all was just annoying. He was much too awkward a character to be a good antagonist. But I digress…the characters were just flat. The characters didn’t control the plot of the movie. It didn’t feel very natural.
And the little clip you get after the credits go for a bit– completely random. I mean, I know the Green Lantern origin story well enough to know why it was thrown in there, but THEY didn’t exaplain it at all. As far as the end of the movie goes, everything seems happy and peachy keen. So, why the last little clip? Just didn’t make any sense, story-wise.
As much of this review is movie bashing, it’s still enjoyable. It’s kinda scraping the barrel, but it makes the cut of the word “enjoyable.” If you can get past the corny lines, cheesy angles, bad writing, and lack of real fan service, the rest of the movie is actually quite enjoyable. It has some humorous moments and lines. Maybe not particularly memorable, but you do get a good burst of laughter here and there. Don’t get me wrong though, it missed my original expectations by about 2 stars, give or take. It gave me a lot to complain about 🙂