Starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Mark Strong
Pain. Sticky, sticky pain. There’s no other way to describe the messy, awkward and completely ridiculous experience that is “Green Lantern.” This is an ugly, damaged, unsalvageable wreck of a movie. The best of intentions horribly maligned—like a surprise birthday party that ends with the guest of honor suffering a massive heart attack. Their only goal may have been to give someone a thrill, but at the end of it all, the filmmakers are simply stuffing bodies into the morgue.
OK, maybe “Green Lantern” isn’t that tragic, but it’s pretty bad. A whole lot of talented people came together and spent $200 million to make an ugly, unrefined, poorly developed intergalactic adventure. Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a headstrong, cocky test pilot who has the need for speed. His irreverent attitude and irresponsible nature is a crutch in his personal life and his career. Mainly because his employer, the lovely Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) is also his ex-girlfriend.
This wonderfully awkward and convenient situation is made even more difficult when Hal botches a mission and crashes a plane. Everything is looking pretty bleak for old Hal until he is snatched up by a blob of green light and transported to the wreck of an alien spaceship. There he meets Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), a dying member of the Green Lantern Corps. The corps exists to protect the universe from evil. This is a good thing because there’s a giant turd, a brown-colored cloud of goo, that wants to wipe out life as they know it.
Hal leaves Earth and is transported to the planet Oa, home of the “Guardians of the Universe.” There he learns about the thousands of galaxies and alien races across the universe, each of them furnished with a sacred protector. Each come with a magical ring and lantern that harness the power of will. With this great power, they can create anything of which their imagination is capable. For Hal that means swords, guns, fast cars, bigger guns, fists and planes—because that’s pretty much all guys are capable of imagining.
We meet a few other Green Lanterns on Oa. Other than Sinestro (Mark Strong), they are little more than a collection of rubbery-faced, familiar-voiced digital puppets—all about as believable as a sock full of cock. The concepts and characters are interesting, but they are presented in such an idiotic, effortless way that I had a hard time taking any of it seriously.
The world of Oa looks so fake. In fact, most of the environments look like the worst kind of green-screen digital filmmaking. Even simple scenes like hanging out on a balcony look like they were shot on a soundstage. Even the emotions of Green Lantern himself are fake. Characters are given little if no motivation to do anything. The chemistry between Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively is not only not there, it is an all-consuming void that sucks the life from every scene it possesses.
Martin Campbell (“Casino Royale”) massacres the source material like a director who has never put together a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. The most epic moments feel small; the most personal moments feel disingenuous. The job of character development is heaped upon the actors, and a couple of them do an admirable job of trying to salvage this shit storm.
Ryan Reynolds is a likable guy and does what he can, considering he’s saddled with some truly awful writing. Mark Strong is once again a strong, and consistent presence and creates the only other three-dimensional character in the film. Everyone else is just awful. Embarrassing, even.
The sole salvaging star of this review is given because of a handful of moments where we could almost see potential in the story. There are hints and glimmers, but they fade so quickly as the story moves from one predictable moment to the next. Eventually, the giant excrement cloud gets to Earth, and there’s a final confrontation between good and evil. By the end, I was rooting for the giant evil cloud. It would only be fitting that a movie this crappy would end with the world being consumed by a brown-and-yellow pile of filth.
The real battle here is the audience’s patience, and it’s a battle that will take every ounce of their willpower to not walk out of theater. Those who possess that much strength may not earn a ring, but they certainly will have earned my respect.