Last week the highly anticipated Green Lantern movie debuted on the big screen. There was a lot of buzz and hype around this film however it looks like things took a turn for the worse. Green Lantern suffered scathing reviews from movie critics including a bad 24% score at Rotten Tomatoes. Despite the bad rap we still decided to check it out over the weekend.
I already had mixed emotions when I was going into the cinemas. On one hand I was bit excited because it’s still a superhero movie but on the other worried because the trailers didn’t do a good job of convincing me that I should REALLY watch it. I had to remind myself that I had the same experience with X-Men: First Class and despite the initial hesitation, that movie exceeded all of my expectations.
Sadly though, for a movie that puts courage and willpower at the center of its mythos, Green Lantern simply didn’t have enough of those virtues to fully convert fans and non-fans alike.
Green Lantern is the story of how Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a cocky test pilot for the Air Force, became the first human to join the Green Lantern Corp—an interstellar group of guardians tasked to keep safe the more than 3000 sectors in the known universe. Hal Jordan was selected by a dying purple alien called Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) who crash landed on Earth after a narrow escape from the movie’s main villain, the embodiment of fear itself, Parallax.
After being selected by an emerald ring (very much like Harry Potter’s ‘The wand chooses the Wizard’), the new Green Lantern zooms through the cosmos to the planet of Oa—the realm of the Green Lanterns. This majestic place is where we get to meet Hal’s mentors, the strategist Tomar-Re (voiced by Geoffrey Rush), the huge combat-training officer Kilowog (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan) and the future nemesis Sinestro (Mark Strong). We get a glimpse of who and what are Green Lanterns and how do they rightfully wield their green rings and use thought and willpower to create various forms of matter called “Constructs”.
However after what seemed like a day of training, Hal, feeling overwhelmed by everything that happened, decides to quit because he is, as he says in the film, “just human.”
On Earth, Hector Hammond was recruited by the US government to conduct a study on the dead body of Abin Sur. Having been shot by Parallax, Abin Sur still has some fragment of holds some small fragment of Parallax which transfers to Hector Hammond. And since Parallax basically detest all Green Lanterns, particularly the ring which imprisoned him (once belonging to Abin Sur now passed on to Hal), Parallax decides to pay Earth a little visit. I think you can conclude most of the stuff from here on. Yes, it’s a happy ending and the hero saves the day.
What started out to be a film brimming of potential and excitement soon stagnated into long bouts of mediocrity. It ends up plummeting towards a very dismal ending sequence. The problem with Green Lantern is that the whole film production was riddled with the thing that the film tries to fight: FEAR. Fear from the source material, fear from understanding the people that will watch it, fear from “over complicating” things that the studios oversimplified each and every process that Green Lantern faced.
From the basic character development to Hal learning to wield his ring, the film skips on all the potentially juicy tidbits that make a good origin film. Think of how Iron Man 1 stuck with a whole sequence of making the Mark II suit. Or of Batman in Batman Begins to constantly brood about his transformation from Bruce Wayne to Batman. These are the stuff that makes a super hero super! If you flip it around, the producers also oversimplified the villains and more importantly the support heroes (Kilowog, Tomar-Re and Sinestro) heck they didn’t even give justice to the Guardians!
I’m not a big follower of the Green Lantern comic book hence I’m looking at this from a purely script-narrative-production aspect of the film. So when I asked my friends who are big fans of the Green Lantern mythos they basically gave the same reaction: It was dreadfully painful to watch. There are a few fun moments here and there but it was mostly brought about by Ryan Reynold’s impeccable comic timing. There are a lot more points of frustration in the film wherein the producers just threw away the source material and injected some Deus Ex Machina scenario of their own which makes everything seem contrived and, well, plain dumb. I mean explain this to me: why would beings of supreme intelligence and wisdom, the Guardians, succumb to create a ring forged from fear with just one request from Sinestro? There was no debate, no “This is wrong; this is not how the lanterns do things!” speech. Nothing, nadda!
Overall Green Lantern just failed to show its potential and it’s a disheartening thing to see that once again D.C. has another flop project that may not be franchise material after all. Given this, it’s most likely that we won’t be seeing any Justice League Live Action movie anytime soon.
Unbox Rating: 2/5
Unbox Tip: Wait until the end of the movie for an expectedly surprise clip (yes, you read that right).