The Film: Green Lantern
The Premise: Hal Jordan is a cocky test pilot who despite that fact that he’s a daredevil is also really afraid of things sometimes. This is because his dad, also a test pilot, crashed his plane and died when Hal was just a wee lad. One day, an alien spacecop who has been mortally wounded by an evil yellow alien cloud crash-lands near Hal and gives him his magic green ring and lantern-shaped power source. He also tells Hal that now he gets to be a spacecop, then dies. Hal flies into space to the planet Oa to train as a spacecop, but one of the other spacecops gives him a hard time, so Hal goes home. Meanwhile, Hal’s not-really girlfriend is being stalked by Hector, a nerdy creep who plays chess. Hector gets to perform the autopsy on the spacecop Hal found, and in doing so becomes a telekentic nerdy creep who no longer plays chess but has a pulsating, freakish forehead. Hector tries to kill his own dad for some reason, and then Hal saves Hector’s dad in supercop Green Lantern guise, even though he quit. Then the evil spacecloud comes to town, and it kills Hector, but not until Hector and Green Lantern (Hal) fight and Green Lantern saves his boring not-really girlfriend (but not Hector’s dad this time, he dies). Then Hal goes back to the planet Oa and asks the other spacecops to help him fight the evil yellow cloud, but they say no, and Hal says that he didn’t need their help anyway and it turns out he didn’t because he goes back to Earth and defeats the spacecloud by himself because he was finally able to conquer that fear he never really had. But the other spacecops show up anyway. Then the film ends. Then one of the spacecops turn yellow, which means he’ll be in the sequel that no studio executive in their right mind will ever greenlight, magic ring or not.
Is it Good?: Did you read my description?! NO! This movie is awful! The only real debate is whether it is simply mediocre or truly awful. I’m here to make a case for Green Lantern being one of the most legitimately terrible big spectacle blockbusters of the last year, maybe the last decade. I’d rather watch Van Helsing, Batman and Robin and Transformers Revenge of the Fallen in one sitting than sit through this boring, stupid piece of shit ever again.
Let’s start with the plot. It is seriously as dumb as my description makes it sound. It’s the sort of thing an elementary school kid would blather out breathlessly on the playground to his snot-nosed pals. There are plot points that literally make no sense at all. Hal is a test pilot, but he’s afraid? Of what? Crashing? If he was really afraid, he wouldn’t go near a plane to begin with! Shouldn’t being afraid of crashing be, you know, normal for a pilot? The only reason this character trait exists at all is because in order to be faithful to the excruciatingly dumb mythology of the Green Lantern comic book character, Hal needs to be afraid. Because fear is represented by the color yellow, and…yeah.
Which brings me to the most important point and the true Achilles heel of this 200 million dollar piece of shit – the character of Green Lantern. It’s a bad idea! It’s a bad idea for a superhero, it’s a bad idea for a comic book, and it’s a really, really bad idea for a megabudget sci-fi blockbuster! The idea of a spacecop is OK, but everything else about the Green Lantern character sucks! Magic ring that can make green constructs out of your will? Dumb. Lantern power source? Dumb. Test pilot? Dumb. Green outfit and mask? Dumb! Weakness to the color yellow?! Dumb dumb dumb!!! Green Lantern is seriously the lamest superhero ever, lamer than The Flaming Carrot and Squirrel Girl. The fact that Warner Brothers would pick this to make out of all of DC comics’ iconic superheroes is frankly baffling.
Ok, so I’ve shown my hand, or at least my prejudice against green superheroes. (Not true, I love Green Arrow!) Putting aside my belief that this whole concept is just stupid to the core, the movie itself is just a lazy, boring slog. There is nothing here that will engage you; not character, not action, not spectacle and certainly not story. Despite all the green space mysticism there isn’t an ounce of magic to be found anywhere in this movie. You can feel the lack of love for the material just oozing off the screen in big CGI clumps. As soulless as say Michael Bay’s Transformers movies are, at least there is a sort of demented glee in those films, the glee of coke-snorting madman running amok with hundreds of millions of dollars at his disposal. Green Lantern can’t even give you that.
And let’s talk about Ryan Reynolds. Now, I don’t hate Ryan Reynolds. But I do not want to see him as a superhero ever again. We nerds can agree that he should have been the Flash (an infinitely cooler and more interesting superhero, also owned by DC/Warner Bros), but coulda, shoulda, woulda. They didn’t make The Flash, so Ryan just couldn’t wait to put on the tights and jumped the gun by starring in this sickly green turd. Sorry bro. I never want to see you as The Flash, or Deadpool, or the Gentleman Ghost or whoeverthefuck you’re attached to play in the future. You blew it. You tried to bring your patented douchey fratboy charm to this film and it failed. It may have worked once on ScarJo, but you may want to consider the fact that she has since dumped you, and now she’s in a superhero film with Robert Downey Jr. , and probably sleeping with him. You sir are no Robert Downey Jr. Please never darken my door in a pair of tights ever again. Not even in the blackest day, or the darkest night.
The other cast members, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Robbins, Mark Strong, the yellow spacecloud – they all fare better than Reynolds. But really, in a film this bad, who cares? It’s a lost cause. Ok, there’s one person who is worse — Blake Lively, who has the most ironic last name ever if her dead-eyed, slack-jawed performance is any indication. This chick makes Sam Worthington seem like a fount of charisma. She is a void, a chick-bot, a plasticine mannequin that pouts and stares and seems to have no purpose or place in this or any other universe. I don’t believe she is real at all. In fact, if it wasn’t for rumors of a Blake Lively sex tape, I’d think she was no more real than Kilowog, a dumb bulldog-alien spacecop that hassles Hal when he’s away at spacecop school. I think I’d rather watch a Kilowog sex tape, frankly. It’d be sure to be more lively.
Thankfully this movie couldn’t generate the sort of money that guarantees a sequel, so we won’t be abused with this nonsense ever again. Sure, Warner Brothers said that they were going through with a sequel at first, but notice how talk of that has died down? That’s because you don’t waste millions and millions of dollars on a movie nobody liked then turn around a do it again. Or if you do, you do it for a cool character like the Hulk or Hellboy or Ghost Rider starring Nic fucking Cage! You don’t do it for limp-dick Ryan Reynolds and you certainly don’t do it for this green fart of a character. This is one property I’d like to see sucked into a green hole never to return.
Now if someone wants to make a ROM: Spaceknight movie, consider my tickets purchased! In IMAX 3D!
Random Anecdotes: This was directed by Martin Campbell, a guy who has made some good blockbuster movies like Casino Royale and Goldeneye. He seems to have no idea what he is doing making a Green Lantern movie. Stick to James Bond, Marty.
Cinematic Soulmates: It wants to be Iron Man, but it’s not. Not even close. I put this film in what I call the 2011 triumvirate of stunning mediocrity along with Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides and Conan the Barbarian (2011).