Green Lantern Flickers Between Boredom & Excitement

I remember last year sitting outside the 6,000-seat capacity Hall H at the San Diego Convention Center. It was a cool, gray-skyed morning as the line of pedestrian traffic snaked around the dewy grass.  We all shared a common eagerness to experience the discussion panel of the Green Lantern. The almost-year since then has passed quickly and the Lantern Corp is upon us as Ryan Reynolds takes the famed oath, dons the ring and stars as the emerald hero!

Even though I was afraid of a high possibility of hokiness from this film, it remained high on my list of summer must-see’s.  After all, I held Thor in the same regard and that turned out to be a fun two hours.  Could the same result occur in Green Lantern?  First let’s cover a little backstory on the superhero.  Ryan Reynolds plays ace fighter pilot Hal Jordan who doesn’t become the Green Lantern, but a Green Lantern.  The Green Lanterns are an intergalactic police force patrolling the 3,600 sectors in the universe.  Each Lantern possess a ring which harnesses the green spectrum power of will (different colors harbor different emotions; orange = avarice, blue = hope, etc.).  From this green ring, the user can will anything to materialize from it, whether that imaginative item is a net to save a falling person or a massive sledgehammer to swing at an onslaught of enemies.

So, as mentioned, Reynolds plays Hal Jordan, who, while quite capable behind the flight stick of a combat jet, also throws caution to the wind on occasion, resulting in an eyebrow-raising lack of respect and distaste for the pilot.  It isn’t until one fated day when Jordan encounters a fallen Lantern that his life changes forever.  While I know a lot of people out there are pretty familiar with the backstory, I don’t want to give too much away here for the less familiar readers so I’ll leave it at that.  Oh, there’s an impending threat to the galaxy in the form of the gigantic Parallax.  Do your thing, Hal!

The film’s acting brings a very obvious proficiency to the table, but it felt like the chemistry between Jordan and love interest Carol Ferris, played by the lovely Blake Lively (Gossip Girl), was average at best.  Sure, it skyrocketed past anything Hayden Christiansen and Natalie Portman had on screen, but something still didn’t feel convincing enough.  Also on the film’s roster was Peter Sarsgaard (Jarhead) as xenobiologist Hector Hammond.  Sarsgaard did a wonderful job playing a scientist, under-appreciated son and general creep.  Tim Robbins (Shawshank Redemption) even made a guest appearance as his politically strong father.  Meanwhile, Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile) provided the voicework for my personal favorite Green Lantern, Kilowog, and Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes) may have been the most perfect casting of the bunch as Sinestro. And last but not least, one of the greatest Lanterns of them all,  Abin Sur, was played/voiced by the man behind the Mandalorian mask, Temuera Morrison of Star Wars fame.

The movie started off with a decent pace but as the title of this article implies, sporadically shifted between sigh-inducing moments of lag and brief scenes of action.  If you know nothing of the Hal Jordan/Green Lantern mythos, you may appreciate the time spent on building everything up in the story from airman to superhero.  For me, there were a few awkward moments that disrupted dialogue flow, but again, my biggest issue was with the whole feel of the movie.  It just plodded along most of the time, which is probably the biggest sin an action film can committ.  I’m very well aware writing is key to delivering a strong comic book title, and being this is a comic book movie, the writing should deliver again as well, and for the most part it did.  However, the writing wasn’t the big issue here.  It was the tiresome pace that brought this film down a few notches.

In regard to the visuals, Green Lantern is a very CGI-heavy film (as expected).  The special effects are special indeed and don’t just dot the landscape, but pretty much make it up in several of the scenes.  The effects of the rings were probably the most fun of all, watching Hal Jordan create what he deemed the right tool for the moment.  As for the film being in 3D, well I had the opportunity of seeing it in that format and though I could really care less for the technology since Hollywood doesn’t understand how to use it properly, I tried going in with an open mind.  Surprisingly, the film makes some decent use of the effect, thanks in part to all the computer generated imagery.  Still, it’s nothing close to impressive enough when considering the added cost of a 3D film.

When it’s all said and done, Green Lantern is visually pleasing and Reynolds makes a good Hal Jordan.  It wasn’t a film suffering from hokiness as I feared it may.  Instead, it was a film that needed an enema.  For a comic book movie, we should have been able to see Hal Jordan in action a lot more than he was.  Don’t forget to stay through the credits for a little teaser of what the future may bring.  I’d certainly give a Green Lantern sequel a theater viewing, but there needs to be a hell of a lot more ring action.  This movie barely gets that extra half point for my final score.  The boredom is plenty and the excitement not often enough.




9 Responses to “Green Lantern Flickers Between Boredom & Excitement”

  1. Jiminy Critic

    I feel much the same way as you, Gregg. Good popcorn flick, but not wholly engaging or exciting. Maybe I’m just weary of the 3-D crap, and all the CGI effects (which I understand would be a part of a movie like this), but, please entertain me already!

  2. Gregg Senko

    I know, right?! This movie may still make a boat-load of money, but if it doesn’t (and I don’t think it’s worthy of raking in more than its budget costs), then this should cause DC to re-examine their first tier characters (not called Superman or Batman) in movie roles. Sure, Marvel has had some clunkers (Elektra & Ghost Rider) but at the end of the day they know how to put a solid film together. Both Iron Man films were awesome, The Incredible Hulk rocked, I didn’t care for the Spider-Man movies but they shattered records and the X-Men movies have done well for themselves too.

    Maybe most Marvel characters are easier to transition to a movie. For instance, the Flash works great on paper, but DC is looking at movie possibilities for him. How entertaining will it be to watch a guy run around at blinding speeds? If I want that, I’ll just watch old game footage of Kenny Lofton. I love Green Arrow but non-readers will look at that and think Robin Hood. I love Aquaman but he’s probably the least marketable character out there. Now Firestorm is a possibility. So are the Secret Six. Even Wonder Woman but in her new less gawdy threads. Perhaps DC needs to look at their second tier lineup for their future in film (and not use 3D).

  3. sean

    Thanks Gergg, I was afraid of the hokiness factor AND the crafting of the storyline. I knew there would be a TON of CGI in this film and feared the director would rely on that to deliver the film. I see they’re relying on 3-D … or just adding it in a sloppy way (or so I hear).

    I’m not a fan of Reynolds either. I STILL have to go out to see THOR, too.

  4. Brian White

    I think Gregg saved me $9!

  5. Gerard Iribe

    I’m going to wait for the Blu-ray.

  6. Aaron Neuwirth

    Of the many bad things I’ve heard about this film, I have actually heard that the 3D is actually a redeeming aspect for a change. I guess I’ll see for myself tonight. I’ve been cautiously optimistic (but prepared for disappointment) from the start, so I’ll be surprised if I end up really liking the film.

  7. Gregg

    Yeah let me know what you guys think. I’m interested in getting everyone’s take on this. Part of me feels I gave this too high of a rating and should’ve have sent it on its way at 3 out of 5.

  8. Aaron Neuwirth

    You know me, it will be written about and spoken of. I’m long winded enough that 1,000+ words wasn’t enough anymore, so now I have a podcast as well.

  9. androidative

    All I can say is that I was very astounded with this film. Based on the trailers, I was expecting this film to be below average, I was wrong. In my opinion, for a super hero film to work, it all narrows down to special effects and the acting. For this movie, they are both great. This film may possibly not have been as good as X-men: First Class or The Dark Knight, but it is an above average superhero movie. Ryan Reynolds is good as always and Mark Strong delivered a strong performance as well. This film is heavy on special effects and they are Stunning. The dialogue is nothing new but don’t expect it to be excellent given the fact that its a superhero movie. Overall, this movie was very well done and I liked it a lot more than I thought it would. I hope this may be the first of many Green Lantern movies as this has the potential to become a great movie franchise.