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Green Lantern (2011)

A 2011 film, loosely based on the comic book of the same name, directed by Martin Campbell and starring Ryan Reynolds.

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They Spent So Much Green on So Little

  • Jun 18, 2011
Star Rating:

Green Lantern does not seem to know who it was made for. There are expository sections of story so densely packed with detail that they will (1) confuse and alienate those who are not intimately familiar with the original comic book, and (2) bore those who are. Most of the characters are badly developed while the rest are introduced and then immediately dropped. Specific events are either explained at too great a length or not explained enough. There’s no middle ground, here – it’s either too much or too little. The only thing it has going for it are the visual effects, which are plentiful to say the least. Even then, many of them are dimmed by the 3D process, although I won’t go into that. I think I’ve complained about it enough to make my position abundantly clear.
Repeated viewings might be necessary just for the setup, which, despite taking up less than five minutes of screen time, is unnecessarily plot heavy. Here’s what I’ve gathered: Millions of years ago, a group of bulbous-headed mystics called the Guardians split the universe into 3,600 sectors, and to each they assigned an intergalactic police officer powered by the essence of willpower, which is the color green. These officers, known as Green Lanterns, are not supposed to feel fear; instead, they rely on willpower and use special rings to manifest whatever they envision. The most famous of the Lanterns, an eggplant-skinned alien named Abin Sur (Temuera Morrision), defeated and imprisoned the Parallax, a celestial monstrosity that thrives on fear and can suck out your soul. Flash forward to the present day; the Parallax escapes, returns to Abin Sur’s sector, and mortally wounds him. He escapes, only to crash land on Earth.

Did you get all that? Because I don’t feel like repeating myself. On Earth, Abin Sur’s ring calls out to an irresponsible test pilot for the U.S. Air Force named Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds). Why it does this is not made immediately apparent. Hal has had issues ever since the accidental death of his father, also a test pilot, almost twenty years ago; he’s reckless, impulsive, insensitive, and worst of all, fearful. Regardless, he has been chosen by the ring, and suddenly I feel like I’m describing a J.R.R. Tolkien novel. Through the power of the ring, his clothing is replaced by a green-colored suit and mask made entirely of energy, which gives it a surreal quality that actually works. On a few occasions, he will be magically transported to the Green Lantern Corps, located on a distant planet; there he will meet a fish-faced alien voiced by Geoffrey Rush and a hulking brute voiced by Michael Clark Duncan, the latter sounding like a drill sergeant from a bad army movie. Somehow, I just can’t buy it when a creature from another world says, “Gravity’s a bitch.”
Back on Earth, a scientist named Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) is chosen by his father, a senator (Tim Robbins), to examine Abin Sur’s body. It’s located in an underground laboratory of unknown location or purpose, and it’s presided over by another scientist, Amanda Waller (Angela Bassett), whose story significance is equally unknown to me. While prodding a wound on Abin Sur’s shoulder, a fragment of a meteor pricks his finger. Not long after, he begins to mutate, and he gains the ability to read minds and manipulate objects. Although it’s never explained how, we see that he knows Hal, and that he’s jealous of him for getting the girl he was attracted to. Her name is Carol (Blake Lively), the vice president of a military aircraft company. Inevitably, Hammond will psychically link with the Parallax, which plots to destroy Earth and feed off the fear of the humans.

Meanwhile, back at the Green Lantern Corps, the strict and ominous Thaal Sinestro (Mark Strong) questions the wisdom of making Hal a Green Lantern. Hal is a human, and humanity is a young, fearful species. How does it stand a chance against something as powerful as the Parallax? He suggests that the time has come to fight fear with fear, although no one cares to dwell on the specifics.
Good God in heaven, what the hell is this movie trying to do? Watching it, I had the distinct impression that I had entered into a conversation that was more than halfway finished. I learned nothing about Hal or Carol or Hammond or any of the characters out in space. I could barely keep up with the plot, which gives us too much to remember in some areas and not enough in others. I wonder what this was like for editor Stuart Baird. Was he given too much to assemble coherently, or was he forced to work with very little? Like Tron: Legacy, Green Lantern is a film that puts all effort into dazzling special effects but next to nothing in the way of story. It’s a gigantic mess, one that will first take the green from your wallets and then leave you green with envy at audiences seeing better movies.


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November 27, 2011
Im so glad im not the only one who watched this and was left confused to the point of skipping back scenes because i was sure there was something i must have missed!
November 27, 2011
Don't you just hate it when movies go out of their way to confuse audience?
November 27, 2011
It seems to be a theme whith all these comic book based fioms lately...eaither its well explained and a good movie for those of us who are non-readers (xmen) or its super confusing and dosent make any sense (thor) there seems to be no middle zone.
June 21, 2011
I've heard nothing but bad reviews on this one across the board, so I have no interest in watching it in theatres. I was seriously confused trying to keep up with it in your well-written and organized review, so I can only imagine what watching it would do. Thanks for sharing :)
June 22, 2011
That should tell you something: The plot is hard to follow, even when it's condensed in a movie review. Thanks for the praise, by the way. I thought I was just rambling.
June 22, 2011
No, I think maybe the movie made you feel like you were rambling ;p Thanks for saving me some time and mula!
June 19, 2011
Nice review. You know I am a comic fan and while I could easily connect the dots, I stil had major issues with the script. The effects were good, but my, the execution of the screenplay was just lazy and clumsy. I gave this a 2.5/5 for Blake Lively and the effects....
June 20, 2011
It's actually good to know that even a comic book reader thought the movie missed the mark. I expected some snarky fanboy to leave a comment detailing the ways in which I was unqualified to review it. It has happened on a few occasions.
June 20, 2011
Nope, not me. I always try to keep my level-headedness (only time I would make a snarky comment is when I catch someone reviewing a movie that they haven't seen and they criticize it in an unfair way by making false statements about the director/source material, but I tend to leave things alone most of the time unless it was really somehting bad) and being a comic fan means I require a better film to portray my favorite comics. We did disagree with "Kick Ass" but I could totally see where you were coming from. Btw, I love your review headline!!
June 21, 2011
Thanks. I try to come up with something clever, although I usually fail. The whole green thing was just too prominent for me to overlook. This may sound terrible, but sometimes, a negative review can be a great deal of fun to write, simply because I can let loose with the sarcasm.
June 21, 2011
Heh. thinking about what you said, I want to re-write my review on TRON LEGACY to make more fun of it. LOL!
June 22, 2011
hey what did Ebert say about this movie...I think he liked it as with "Morning Glory"? LOL
June 22, 2011
He gave Green Lantern 2.5 out of 4 stars, which means he liked it more than I did. However, that also means he liked it less than Morning Glory, which he awarded 3.5 out of 4 stars. Coincidentally, I gave them both the same number of stars.
More Green Lantern (2011 movie) reviews
review by . June 19, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Emerald Warrior In His First Full-Length Feature Film....is a Bit of A Poozer* !!
With all the follow-up successes (if mixed) Marvel had achieved with their comic book adaptations, of course DC would do well to try and follow up with the groundbreaking success of “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight”. With the rather mediocre film but mixed success that is “Superman Returns”, DC is looking for the next big thing. “Green Lantern” is somewhat of an oddball choice to try to begin a new franchise, but I am rather both happy and at …
review by . June 17, 2011
Bursting onto the screen with a winning combination of action and dazzling effects DC Comics' "The Green Lantern" has arrived to the delight of comic fans the world over. The film stars Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, a talented but cocky test pilot who is haunted by the untimely passing of his father during a test flight when young Hal was a child.     Hal avoids commitment and leads his life as a brash individual who does things his way and answers to no one.   After …
review by . November 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
From all the harsh reviews and knowing that it starred someone who is principly a comedian (having remembered how brutal The Green Hornet was), I was reluctant to spend any "quality" time watching this. Well it became available at the library so I took it out and with nothing on tv but Dancing With the Stars, I decided to pop it in the DVD player. It actually held my interest throughout. Furthermore, Reynolds played the role in a fairly "straight" manner.    It starts out with …
review by . November 08, 2011
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I've always enjoyed watching DC Comics' stable of heroes in cartoons and films more than actually reading about them in comics.  To me, DC's heroes were, for the most part, more "super" than Marvel's crop of characters.  They always seemed to be a bit more fantastical and otherworldly.  Sure, Marvel has plenty of heroes who acquired there powers from things like radioactive spiders and the force cosmic, but they always came across as more …
review by . June 25, 2011
The Lantern Ring clearly didn't edit this movie.
I'm approaching this movie much the way I did with the Sherlock Holmes movie from a little back.  I have only a slight grasp on the character and the source material, so as long as the movie is entertaining and makes sense then I the regular ticket buyer shouldn't be annoyed by the touches that the comic fans will no doubt be looking for.  I'm not going to get bummed out say if, Green Lantern's costume doesn't look right or if he drives a Mustang instead of a Charger …
review by . November 07, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I was prepared to love this movie. It had everything I would enjoy in a comic book super hero movie including the good looking hero, outstanding special effects. So what happened? I did like it, but did not love it. It definately needed some editing. It took forever for the story to take off. I know they had to explain all the back story, but it was so slow moving in the beginning. Coming from director Martin Campbell I was surprised. He usually starts off running and leaves you breathless. I would …
review by . June 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Green Lanterns Light Shines
Ive never been a fan of DC Comics, Ive always been a Marvel fanboy. Although fictional Marvels superheroes just seem more realistic to me..........more believe able. That and some of the harsh reviews I read about this movie made me go into the theater with very low expectations.        Enter Hal Jordan an unorthodox US Military fighter pilot. After his reckless behavior causes him to crash an F-35 he is chosen by the ring of Abin Sur to replace him as guardian …
review by . June 27, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Green Lantern is a very flawed movie-going experience. It’s by no means a “good” movie, but it doesn’t fall into the ranks of the “superhero movie gone wrong” league of the horrifyingly awful “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” or “Daredevil”, or even the “close but no cigar” category like “Batman Forever” or “The Spirit”. Instead, in a much more tragic fashion, Martin Campbell’s Green …
review by . June 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
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review by . June 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
'Green Lantern' 'Two Jews On Film' Agree-This Comic Book Super Hero Falls To The Ground (Video)
      Okay, so this is how the story goes...In a universe far, far away (where else would it be) an elite, powerful force has existed for centuries.  Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps.        Helpful fact to know, for those of you unfamiliar with the DC comic...Green is the color of will.  Yellow is the color of fear.  So...green is good...yellow, bad...very very bad.   …
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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About this movie


Directed by Martin Campbell. With Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard. A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

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As far as superheroes go, Green Lantern may lack the clean, iconic lines of his more respectable DC counterparts Superman and Batman, but the very wonkiness of the premise (earthling joins elite force of space cops) lends itself to a pulpy, operatic, not-entirely-serious approach. (One of his teammates is a talking carrot, after all.) Capitalizing on a charming performance by Ryan Reynolds, the feature-film adaptation is a big, messy movie that, at its best, generates a feeling of aw-shucks wonder. Much likeThor, it isn't afraid to loosen up on the inner turmoil of its hero and go macro. Based on comic writer Geoff Johns's retrofitting of the title character, the story follows Hal Jordan (Reynolds), an impulsive test pilot whose encounter with a dying alien leaves him with an energy ring capable of weaponizing his imagination. While struggling to master his will-based powers, he must deal with threats both earthbound (a hilariously nebbishy Peter Saarsgard, who may be the first supervillain to rock a hoodie) and galactic. Martin ...
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Director: Martin Campbell
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Special Interest
Release Date: 17 June 2011
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: Greg Berlanti
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
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