In brightest day, in blackest night, no bad movie shall escape my sight. Let those who ponder this film’s fate, calm your nerves…Green Lantern’s great!
Green Lantern has been around in comics since 1940, and yet, it has taken 71 years for a live-action film to finally see the light of day. There’s good reason for this, however, as you can’t just throw tights on an actor and say, “Look, there’s Green Lantern;” like you could, say, Superman, and then start filming. To paraphrase another superhero mantra: with Green Lantern comes great responsibility — at least for the special effects crew. Now that’s not to say that they didn’t use special effects in Superman, as of course they did; however, creating a red line for heat vision is a lot easier than creating a limitless amount of green weaponry and defence mechanisms. That is, until now.
The film stars Ryan Reynolds as cocky, quick-witted, second generation test pilot, Hal Jordan. From the moment we meet Jordan, we learn he’s not someone who takes many things in life too seriously. He’s smug, but in a charming way that somehow actually makes him more likable, and he’s willing to do anything in order to prove he’s the best pilot ever to set foot into a cockpit. It’s this attitude during a military flight test that allows us to learn of Hal’s great weakness, in that he never truly got over the death of his father, who died right in front of Hal while on a test run of his own. It’s this fear, and feeling of helplessness that seems to cause Hal to keep everyone at an arm’s length, and to just up and quit when anything seems like it may cause the chink in his armor to become visible to others.
It’s around this time when a spacecraft crashes on earth, and Abin Sur, a dying member of the Green Lantern Corps, tells his ring go forth and choose his successor. The ring, which is said by all to never make mistakes, chooses Hal to become the newest member of the corps — without giving him much say in the matter. Soon, Hal finds himself whisked off to the Lanterns home planet of Oa, where he quickly learns that his arrogance won’t get him very far if he doesn’t have the will to back it up. Meanwhile, Parallax, an old enemy of the corps, has returned and not only threatens to destroy earth (of course) but the entire Green Lantern Corps as well (which likely deserves an, “of course,” also.)
Green Lantern is a well made movie that may be more style over substance; however, it still gives the viewer enough story to put together the who’s who, and the what’s what of this special effects extravaganza. While DC has had incredible success in the reboot of Batman — which has seen the caped crusader more or less leave the comic world and enter a much more gritty, realistic one — the studio seems quite content in leaving Green Lantern in a place that looks real, but we know isn’t. This is a smart move, as this is the type of character that really works best when not confined by the limits of reality.
Director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Edge of Darkness) really captures the perfect tone for the film, especially when Hal leaves earth and experiences Oa and the other lanterns for the first time. There’s plenty of fun to be had here, and Campbell gets his story across without ever causing the film to lose its charismatic, well-paced nature.
Speaking of charisma, Reynolds was a great choice to play the part of Hal, as he’s naturally charming, and sharp witted, and his delivery is spot-on. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also a suave, good-looking fellow, if you’re into that whole chiseled, sexiest man alive sort of deal. Sometimes there’s doubt when it comes to casting such high profile parts as this, or other actors you may have liked to see in the role instead; however, it’s safe to say that Ryan Reynolds is Hal Jordan, and nobody could do it better.
The supporting cast also holds up well, especially for the tone Campbell was going for. Blake Lively, who plays Hal’s love interest, Carol Feris, has some solid chemistry with Reynolds, and the two really help add some life to a romance that isn’t really delved into a lot as far as the story goes. The incredibly talented Peter Sarsgaard plays Hector Hammond, a scientist who grew up with both Hal and Carol, who also has a secret of his own. Sarsgaard is well utilized in this film, and easily the most memorable character, next to Hal. Also worth mentioning is Mark Strong, who plays Sinestro, one of the most respected Green Lanterns of all time. Strong, who will no doubt be back in the sequel, does great justice to a character as important as Sinestro is, with his true moment to shine yet to come.
The special effects crew in the film deserve credit as well, as they really helped bring Green Lantern to life. One of the most controversial changes made to the Hal’s character was that of his uniform, and while I never had any issue with the change when it was announced, I must say that the idea to make it so the lantern’s uniforms are actually made up from the same energy as their powers was quite brilliant. Not only do they look fantastic, but they’re also able to fashion the suits to whatever species a lantern may be, and make it look completely natural. In short, no spandex is good for everyone.
Of course, not all is well in the many sectors that the Green Lantern Corps protect. While the story works for what the film is trying to do, there really isn’t as much depth as what seems to be expected from this genre nowadays. Granted, not every character has an origin story as heart wrenching, or epic, as Batman or Superman, but there’s always room for more character depth — especially in the supporting cast. While this does somewhat hinder how memorable the film is overall, it also leaves a lot of room for character growth in the sequel, which is always a plus.
Green Lantern is entertaining, full of laughs, and some of the most fun you’ll have at the movies this summer. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction for what should grow into a solid franchise. Also, be sure to stay in your seat during the credits, as there’s a bonus clip that fans will definitely not want to miss!
Director: Martin Campbell Notable Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Tim Robbins Writer(s):Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg based on the DC Comic Book character of the same name
Brendan Campbell was here when Inside Pulse Movies began, and he’ll be here when it finishes - in 2012, when a cataclysmic event wipes out the servers, as well as everyone else on the planet other than John Cusack and those close to him. Brendan’s the #1 supporter of Keanu Reeves, a huge fan of popcorn flicks and a firm believer that sheer entertainment can take a film a long way. He currently resides in Canada, where, for reasons stated above, he’s attempting to get closer to John Cusack.