“Green Lantern” is the latest DC comic book adaptation from Warner Bros. So far, Warner Bros. has had mixed results in turning their comic book heroes into movie properties. Superman and Batman have proven fairly successful for the studio but other DC comics films such as “Jonah Hex” and “Steel” have proven to be critical and commercial failures. I’m sure many of you by now know that the critics have been pretty hard on “Green Lantern” so far and it may end up losing money, which is a shame because it was a pretty enjoyable film.
I’ll be the first one to admit that I am a comic book fan and Green Lantern is one of my favorite comic book characters (along with Superman, Spider-Man and Kick-Ass). My opinion on this film may be a bit biased, but I’m also sure I don’t have to tell you that as a fan, I would know what the filmmakers screwed up and what they got right. I am also, first and most importantly, a film fan so if “Green Lantern” didn’t measure up in my book, I’d be the first to let you know. As both a fan of films and comic books, I was very pleased with how “Green Lantern” turned out.
As a movie, “Green Lantern” was a bit of a cross between “Star Trek” (the 2009 reboot) and “Superman: The Movie”. It was light hearted and didn’t take itself as seriously as some comic book movies such as the recent hits “The Dark Knight” and “Thor”. The film reminded me a lot the first time I saw Sam Raimi’s original “Spider-Man” movie. For some reason, people seem to crave darker superhero movies these days though which might be why “Green Lantern” was met with such harsh reviews.
When the film was first announced, I really didn’t think Ryan Reynolds was the right man for the job. I always thought he would have made a better Flash than Green Lantern (especially if it was the Wally West version of Flash). I have to say though that Reynolds was actually very good in the role. Reynolds was a bit comedic as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern, but no worse than Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. In fact, Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) had a lot in common with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Perhaps an actor such as Ryan Gosling (who was rumored to be up for the role) could have delivered a slightly more straight performance, but Reynolds was actually fairly entertaining in the role.
The supporting cast was pretty solid in this film and one of the best aspects of the film. Mark Strong was perfect as Sinestro. Strong played fellow Green Lantern Sinestro as a cold and reserved warrior tired being left out of the loop. On the other hand, Peter Sarsgaard delivers a fun hammy performance as one of the film’s villains, Hector Hammond. Sarsgaard’s true talent is that he can deliver a performance that is hammy without becoming campy. Few actors can do that successfully (though Johnny Depp is an actor that frequently successfully pulls that feat off with characters such as Captain Jack Sparrow). Blake Lively also isn’t too bad in the film as Hal Jordan’s love interest Carol Ferris. Like most comic book movies though, she isn’t given much to do but be the damsel in distress.
The voice cast was also pretty dead on in the film. Geoffrey Rush was perfect as Tomar-Re. Rush is always very much at ease playing mentor roles in projects and “Green Lantern” is no exception. Michael Clarke Duncan was also great as Kilowog. Kilowog is a giant member of the Green Lantern Corps. responsible for training the new Green Lantern recruits. Michael Clarke Duncan has a very recognizable and strong voice so Duncan’s voice was perfect for Kilowog. Clancy Brown was also good as the voice of the film’s main villain, Parallax (although Brown will always be The Kurgan from “Highlander” to me).
Okay, it’s now time to talk about some of the negative aspects of the film. First of all, while the CGI was actually fairly good, there were a few scenes in the film in which the CGI didn’t turn out as well as it should have (namely the “Hot Wheels track” scene). This wouldn’t have been so bad with most other films, but with FX budget that was so high, that scene should have been a lot better. The costume actually looked very good in the finished product but I think it was a big mistake to make the costume completely CGI simply because that effect alone ate up a great deal of the FX budget and the filmmakers could have given Reynolds an actual Green Lantern costume and added CGI to that. Overall the CGI was pretty impressive but that scene didn’t turn out well.
The Oa and space scenes were fantastic and epic in scope, but much like Marvel Studio’s “Thor”, too much of the movie takes place on Earth and not enough of it takes place in space. It wasn’t a huge problem, but I do think the film would have benefited from more scenes set in Oa and Hal Jordan receiving more training. Sinestro, Tomar-Re and Kilowog are all great characters in the movie but all three of them are severely underused.
The editing of the film hurt some of the pace as well. It was a very enjoyable film but at times it jumped around a little too much. I would have expected better from legendary editor Stuart Baird but he just didn’t seem that focused. Baird has edited some great movies in the past and he usually handles action movies extremely well, after all, he also edited “Superman: The Movie”, “Lethal Weapon”, “The Legend of Zorro” and “Casino Royale”. “Green Lantern” just didn’t seem to be up to Baird’s usual high standards.
Those were the main flaws in an overall very good and enjoyable film. If you do plan on seeing “Green Lantern”, stay until after the main part of the credits have rolled, there is a great little scene at the end which teases a possible sequel. Overall, despite what I’ve read about this film and what the critics said, I have to give this film a positive review. I actually enjoyed this film quite a bit more than “Thor” (as did Roger Ebert, although he still gave negative reviews to both films).
OVERALL GRADE: 8.5/10