Green Lantern (2011)
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Written by: Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg, Michael Green
Starring: Blake Lively, Mark Strong, Peter Sarsgaard, Ryan Reynolds, Tim Robbins
The Green Lantern (2011)
(12A) Running Time: 105 mins
Director: Martin Campbell
Writers: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
Well, all the excitement, all the pictures, clips and trailers I have posted on this very site, all the build up came to this moment as I stepped into the cinema screen and took my seat in the hope of watching what could have been one of the biggest surprises of the year. Interest in The Green Lantern may not have peaked quite as much as the makers hoped, and even the new trailers showing off the new, added in effects which the studio decided to invest in quite recently, movie fans were still not sold. I, however, had other thoughts, the more I saw of this movie, the more I couldn’t wait to see it. The more people ignored it, the more I wanted to push it. I really really thought that The Green Lantern would turn out to be far far better than anyone expected, I really did. So, how did it turn out as I excitedly took my seat?
Well, as I finished my hotdog I started to panic a bit, and as I finished my final scoop of ice cream I felt that that last mouthful would possibly be the last bit of enjoyment I would get from this experience, but I sat in the hope things would get better, I mean, the trailer looked awesome so surely these first ten minutes were simply a tedious build up to something special. The daft voiceover that felt like it had been made for kids introduces the story of the Green Lanterns which I will not bore you with right now, and it also tells you the story of the films main villain, Parallax. All you need to know is that Parallax was in fact a Green Lantern, one of the best fighters and he was seduced by some gold light power source, and it turned him bad. The Green Lanterns themselves are a bizarre race of the best fighters from around the Galaxy, and they defend their worlds from evil. As I was nodding off, we soon get to Earth and we meet Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) a cocky fighter pilot who likes to prove he is the best, he has a connection with former fighter pilot Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), her Dad runs a fighter plane company and she has been made some sort of executiveve which means she has swapped army outfits for short skirts and high heels (a much better choice) and she is Hal’s former girlfriend. The fact he gave her up is proof of what a moron Hal is, and he continues to prove his stupidity throughout the film. In all honesty, irritating as his character is, Reynolds plays Hal well and if anyone else had played his part the film would have fallen to almost unbearable levels of shite. Thankfully Reynolds gives Hal a personality and some humour in a way that borders on cheesy but never quite falls into that God awful Hollywood trap of becoming cringeworthy. Hats off to Reynolds for saving the film.
Blake Lively also saves the film, from a male perspectiveve. Spending a lot of time in those skirts and heels she oozes sex appeal and you end up bearing scene after scene of nonsense in the knowledge that she will appear back on screen pretty soon. She can’t really act, but who cares when she looks this good. I know someone who CAN act though, and that is Tim Robbins, so what the fuck happened here! He plays Senator Hammond, a good guy come bad guy who never seems to know his role and, sadly, Robbins seems to have forgotten how to act here, his performance is, for want of a better word, dreadful. Jeff Bridges managed to do a superhero movie and look cool in Ironman, even camping it up a bit and actually making it fun. Here, Robbins (and it sickens me to say this) is so bad I actually felt like hiding my face so I could not witness anymore of this great actor ruining his career. When the action hots up and he needs to do action scenes and shout some, or end up in peril, it somehow gets worse! I love Tim Robbins as an actor, which is why it was so painful to watch. Peter Sarsgaard is the same, a great actor and here he just comes across as if he can’t be bothered, although he does have some moments of greatness, especially after touching a yellow foreign substance which makes his forehead grow and he turns ugly and nasty. He is no Joker, but his villain is actually quite impressiveve in places. To continue with the bad acting, we will have to move on with the story for me to introduce some more bad actors…
Hal is ‘chosen’ by the Ring, which gives him the power, and the outfit, to become a Green Lantern warrior. A fallen Green Lantern hero crash lands to Earth and his ring finds Hal and he passes on some knowledge. To be fair, Hal getting to grips with the ring does offer up some pleasant and easy comedy, but even for the bore inducing slow pace, it seems rushed. When he visits Oa, the main gathering place for the Lanterns, the whole film takes on an incredibly childish and embarrassing feel. The Lanterns look like idiots, and their leader Sinestro (Mark Strong) is fun to watch be he never really does anything. Language barriers are broken by a convenient language decoder which thankfully comes with the outfit and why oh why does Hal have a stupid bloody face mask to wear? It doesn’t even hide who he is, although in a scene where he first shows himself to the US public, his one true love does not recognise him, although his best friend does? Anyway, on Oa he learns the ways of the Lanterns, this is painfully brief but I wanted it to be over much quicker. A massive, muscle bound Lantern becomes so annoying you wish Reynolds would learn how to fight so he can kill him off. A fish face plonker doesn’t improve your feelings towards the Lanterns, and eventually you cannot wait for the awesomeness of Parallax to arrive and kill them all off, but sadly, Parallax has other ideas and, in a terrible plot flaw, he heads to Earth.
Parallax is basically a great big black cloud with fire and stuff, oh, and a big ugly face with pointy teeth and he likes to suck the souls and what looks like skeletons from his victims to make him stronger. I enjoyed watching him on screen quite a lot but even he soon becomes quite draining on your patience. The films scrips is awful, and Parallax’s decision to attack Earth rather than the Green Lanterns base planet is stupid as Hell, and Parallax thinks out loud so we all know his reasons. Think of how characters in He-Man would think out loud to explain what they were doing, because it was intended for kids, thats what happens here! The script and plot are so bad it is painful to watch, or endure should I say. Things happen which do not drive the story, more conveniently join one scene with another. Nothing comes as a surprise, and it really does feel like the film has been written by kids. I could barely take much more. The special effects, in places look mighty impressive, but for the most part look like a tacky computer game. Maybe in 3D it would have looked better? Who knows, I can’t be bothered with that 3D malarky anyway, and if I had to wear those bulky great things on my face I don’t think I could’ve sat this one out to the end.
So, is there anything good to say about this film, since I was so looking forward to it, surely I must’ve enjoyed something? Well, apart from Blake Lively there wasn’t much. As I said, Reynolds is an enjoyable character to watch, but he couldn’t save the film. The pacing is all wrong, but somehow you do get a little enjoyment out of it. There were times when the comedy worked well, although, considering the film relying heavily on comedy, the first major laugh out loud moment which made the entire cinema laugh must’ve been past the one hour mark, so clearly the comedy didn’t work that well. I suppose the film is easy to watch, it does have moments that are highly enjoyable, most of them involving Parallax, some of the effects are impressive and some of the comedy works. But the whole things smells of selling out, it feels like the director lost control and no one really cared about how it would all look. It felt like a rushed, botched job and even the injection of extra money for extra effects couldn’t save it from being plain and simply a dire superhero film. Bad characters, bad acting, bad effects, bad editing and just bad pacing all add up to a poor film. Thanks for the build up you cheating bastards, and I apologise whole heatedly for pushing this film and getting everyone interested. Hopefully this review reaches you before you go to see it, and will restore your faith in my judgement?
[pt-filmtitle]The Green Lantern[/pt-filmtitle]