Ok Hollywood, that’s enough superhero movies. Over the past few years, we’ve had to sit through so many, they’ve lost their novelty. It has become wearisome watching these characters in their tight spandex fight an enemy hell-bent on destroying Earth. We get it. Good prevails over evil. This is my plea to give it a rest for a while, especially if your movies are going to be as atrocious as Green Lantern. In a year that has already been sullied with the inconsistent The Green Hornet and disappointing Thor, the last thing we need is a movie so bad it makes those two look like comic book masterpieces. While I’m sure this plea will go unheard by the bigwigs in their ivory towers, if I can convince you, dear reader, to skip this, I’ll have done my job. In an attempt to prevent a franchise from spawning, here goes nothing.
Green Lantern, in what amounts to one of the silliest, most inane stories to come around this year, follows Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a test pilot who never finishes anything he starts and is haunted by memories of his dead father. After crashing his jet one day, he is absorbed a giant green ball which takes him to an alien crash site where he is told that “the ring” has chosen him. This ring gives him extraordinary powers and is limited only by his imagination. You see, for eons, a band of protectors from each realm of the galaxy has worked together to confront evil. They call themselves the Green Lantern Corps. Now, a new enemy named Parallax has reared its ugly head and is on its way to destroy Earth. New recruit Hal must overcome his fears and harness the power of the ring if he wishes to become the Green Lantern and save his planet.
And so begins a movie so sloppy it makes Ryan Reynolds’ Van Wilder look like a masterfully pieced together work of art. The script is so bad it jams together different genres, styles and tones like a two year old putting together a 10,000 piece puzzle. It does such a poor job establishing the histories and personalities of its characters, it leaves no leeway for emotional resonance. It shoves its drama in your face with maudlin flashback scenes where we get to see Hal’s father, in a string of hilarious shots, blow up while climbing out of his jet. Its dialogue is knowingly cutesy, like when Hal’s love interest, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), compares him to an alien right after he just found and buried one. The film’s problems are scattershot (which evidently translates over to my criticisms), so pinpointing exactly where it goes wrong becomes near impossible.
Similar to this year’s Thor, the characters in Green Lantern are uninspired and boring, a problem which I can only assume stems from the original comic books. The alien creatures are unusually bland and have only one or two distinguishable attributes, like a fish head, red face or pointy ears. That those character designs are created almost entirely by shoddy CGI is the final slap in the face. One could argue the obvious artificiality was done to keep with the colorful style of the comics, but the poor visuals pervade even real life scenarios, like an early scene where Hal and Carol go head to head with a new automated aircraft. For a movie so heavy-laden with special effects, it comes off as surprisingly unconvincing and amateurish.
After the fan backlash from the comical trailers for Green Lantern, Reynolds made an announcement, promising that the movie was not a comedy and was actually serious in tone. He lied. There is drama (or at least attempts at it), as already mentioned, but Green Lantern tries hard to be funny. Aside from one good cliché-busting bit where Carol recognizes Hal in his get-up (“You didn’t think I’d notice you because I can’t see your cheekbones?” she says to him), it fails on all accounts. Reynolds has proven himself to be a charming, whimsical person, but the jokes here are forced and, more often than not, contextually inappropriate.
If you’re going for the action (and I imagine most of you are), you won’t find many thrills either. Most of the action scenes are abrupt and uneventful, like one where a band of Green Lanterns decide to take Parallax head-on. Prior to the scene, the decision is played up as a major turning point, but it lasts what seems like no more than 30 seconds. The Corps does little more than throw a net on the creature, which breaks free almost instantly, before the scene ends and the film moves onto something else.
Green Lantern is a bad movie, perhaps the worst based on a superhero since 2003’s disastrous Hulk. In some areas, it tries too hard, and in others, it doesn’t try hard enough. It never hits that middle ground where the magic happens, a magic films like The Dark Knight and Iron Man know all too well. Even mentioning those movies alongside this train wreck is laughable, but to outright compare them is cinematic blasphemy. Green Lantern doesn’t do as well as the worst aspect from those films and is practically guaranteed to be one of the worst movies of the year.
Green Lantern receives 1/5