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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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Just not very good.

  • Jun 18, 2011
I discovered comic books back in the mid 1980s. We lived near a convenience store that stocked a fairly large number of them. I remember well going down there, getting a strawberry ice cream cone, playing some Super Mario Bros and buying comics.

Being an imaginative child, and a fan of science fictiony stuff, I very quickly gravitated to Green Lantern. And why not? Here was a set of stories that often took place in space, featured aliens by the gross and had a ring that could be used to make anything (though usually just made shield bubbles and giant fists). I really loved the comic, though as I aged I drifted away from comics in general and by the early 1990s had stopped reading any. These days I pick up the occasional graphic novel, but I haven't read a monthly series in a very long time.

The character(s) of Green Lantern remain a favorite of mine, however, and when I heard DC was finally getting off their collective backsides and making a movie based around the comic, I rejoiced for about twenty seconds. Then reality hit. I'd always had a sneaking suspicion a Green Lantern movie would wind up being all about the special effects and wouldn't have any real story. Sadly, I turned out to be right. What I didn't anticipate was how ho-hum those FX would be.

The story centers around Hal Jordan, played by Ryan Reynolds, a man not entirely suited to the role. Jordan is a test pilot. Test pilots are known for being capable, disciplined and for taking their jobs seriously. Think of Chuck Yeager. Jordan was like that in the comic, but since he's now a movie character he has to have issues centering around his dead father and be a maverick, and believe me I choose that word deliberately. The first few minutes of the film need only the sounds of "Danger Zone" playing in the background to be a Top Gun rip-off.

Anyhow, an alien and member of the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic police agency, ends up crashing and dying on Earth while fighting an evil space baddie named Parallax (and I've kept up on the comics enough to be confused, given that I know who Parallax was in the comics). His ring goes off and picks Jordan to be the next Green Lantern for this sector of space. "Hilarity" follows as we see Jordan getting used to his new ring, visiting Oa (the headquarters planet), meeting his fellow Green Lanterns and getting trained. That one of those fellow Green Lanterns is named Sinestro should serve as a warning to the people running the program, but for some reason doesn't.

Back on Earth, in what's a far more interesting plot development, Hector Hammond, a scientist very well played by Peter Sarsgaard, is recruited to study the remains of the alien who'd crashed. Hammond's character is interesting, compelling and entertaining, all things Jordan really just isn't. He eventually gets "infected" by Parallax and starts going mad. He is of course known to Jordan and in love with Jordan's boss and ex-girlfriend, Carol Ferris. Because in comic books everyone knows everyone.

I really wanted to like this movie, but I really didn't. The plot is incredibly boring and the movie itself is just dull as dishwater. The effects aren't much to write home about, either. The technology exists to make photo realistic CGI people (see: Avatar), but that technology costs more than they are willing to spend for this movie. Aside from Sinestro, well-played by Mark Strong, none of the other Lanterns look very good and their world is not that impressive.

The other major problem is Ryan Reynolds. Given the right material, he's not a bad actor, and he's certainly quite easy on the eyes. Problem is that he's not right for the role of Hal Jordan, and they changed too much of the character to suit his acting style rather than simply having him play a different version of the Green Lantern. Why not have him play Kyle Rayner, who is much closer to the acting style of Ryan Reynolds? Better yet, why not ditch Jordan and Rayner, and have the John Stewart version of Green Lantern? He was very popular in the Justice League animated series and it would have been a great chance to have a major super hero movie headlined by a black actor.

But, oh well. This wasn't a horrible movie by any means, but it was dreadfully dull. If DC plans to use this as their version of Iron Man, which clearly they do as this movie even includes a post-credits teaser, and build up to a Justice League movie, well, they're likely to be very disappointed. I know I was.

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July 30, 2011
Great review! I didnt like this one either and I agree with your points. Thanks!
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
Emeralds Aren't A Fanboy's Best Friend But....
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
   I discovered comic books back in the mid 1980s. We lived near a convenience store that stocked a fairly large number of them. I remember well going down there, getting a strawberry ice cream cone, playing some Super Mario Bros and buying comics. Being an imaginative child, and a fan of science fictiony stuff, I very quickly gravitated to Green Lantern. And why not? Here was a set of stories that often took place in space, featured aliens by the gross and had a ring that could be used …
review by . June 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
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. …
About the reviewer
C R Swanson ()
   I'm an aspiring writer and reviewer. I run a blog, I'm working on a novel and spend my free time reading and playing video games. I also spend waaaaay too much time and money on movies. … 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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