In Brightest Day In Blackest Night!
There was always something to talk about in this film during its production, from the CG bio-suit to Ryan Reynolds being cast as Hal Jordan, made it seem that expectations were running high from one of the relatively minor DC Comics characters, but no less important given the significance of the Green Lantern Corps in the DC Universe as peacekeepers and guardians of the galaxy. This being its maiden feature film will undoubtedly please its legion of fans worldwide, but will probably leave most wondering whether this film is the best that can be mustered, since it felt very generic and average, despite having its fair share of comics consultants working on it.
Directed by Martin Campbell, Green Lantern fell into the formula and burden of having to tell an origin story, and this one here just did it by the book, weaving in the iconic scenario where Abin Sur (voiced by Temuera Morrison) crash lands onto Earth and Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) got selected by the green ring to bear it as the Corps' latest recruit, and in this film version, much against his wishes since it called for great responsibility. We get presented the concept of the Green Lantern Corps during the voiceover introduction (quite lazy in a way), and spend only a brief amount of time getting to know the thousands of peers from around the universe, fragmented as can be, to try and show off what a Lantern can do so long as he possesses fearlessness and an iron will to conjure anything limited only by his imagination.
Green Lantern the movie suffered from having too many writers sticking their thumb into the pie, and this lack of narrative flow shows, where I can't help but to chuckle at some of the blatant “let's move on” attempts, which seemed to impact the romantic angle between Hal and Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) the most, with each character seemingly pulling their punches through inexplicable character behaviour. Little depth got shed into the various characters introduced, so much so they all look like unwanted cameos and caricatures there to pad the story. There was this sense of hurriedness with the narrative, in wanting to get onto the next scene soonest possible, that what I thought to be milestone sequences, such as the training, turn out to be nothing not already seen in the trailers, which is a pity because the story now becomes the ring being able to impart everything to Hal Jordan through some form of telekenesis.
Reynolds is certainly no stranger to comic book films, but here's one that he can finally marquee by himself, although story-wise he's just become the generic amalgam of his previous roles and still maintaining the wisecracking ways coupled with an extremely whiny attitude about an irresponsible man thrust into the limelight with powers far exceeding his responsibility, no thanks to baggage brought about by father issues. This of course is in contrast to the Hammonds where the Senator (Tim Robbins) is estranged from his son Hector (Peter Sarsgaard), and the former due to an infection develops psychic abilities that actually spiced up expectations of a face off between hero and villain, not.
It would have made a powerful contrast between the two men fighting over the same woman and about how Fate delivered unequal opportunities that is Life and its unfairness, but again this angle wasn't exploited deeply, making it all seem rather formula that the villain must have the hots for a hero's girl, and is envious of his abilities, what more looking uglier when standing next to an underwear model, whose figure hugging suit only makes the envy a lot worse. Parallax as a villain also was quite the disappointment for what it could have done given its abilities, and turned out to be nothing more than a Galactus equivalent from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer where it's all flash, and little substance and intelligence.
And we all know that a hero's stature gets elevated by the quality of his villains, and here the latter is nothing but lacklustre which is a pity. Battles are uninspiring and wasted the tremendous amount of CG put into the film as a whole, with rip off moments coming from films such as Superman - recall how a helicopter was involved in introducing our hero to the world, and that balcony fly in to try and steam things up with the lady love, which Blake Lively played to flower vase perfection, having little to do at all in the entire film. One can imagine the kind of possibilities tossed up during a fight sequence involving a Green Lantern, but alas the filmmakers ironically lacked that one quality that a Lantern should possess, with fights degenerating into plenty of energy bolts coming out from the ring, and our hero conjuring up some of the most inane items for all his ring's power (ok, so granted he's a rookie).
Perhaps it tried to bite off more than it could chew, and frankly I thought would have been better if this origin film cut down the number of side characters involved, and focused on one main villain instead, because Mark Strong's Sinestro is brewing at the side to become what would be Green Lantern's most powerful adversary in time to come. That, and giving the characters more depth would have made this an unforgettable boost of a lesser known hero to the silver screen, rather than to skim the surface of its rich mythos. A decent effort that could have been great.
Do not head out the door just yet when the end credits roll, as it will be hinted (though very obvious already during the film proper) who the villain in the next film will be if it indeed does get made. Sure it'll be the inevitable fan favourite, but hopefully by then Hal Jordan would have mastered his powers and live up to his reputation of being one of the greatest Green Lanterns there ever is. This is but the rookie attempt, so the real Hal Jordan should stand up in the next. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.