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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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  • Nov 8, 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 human than the bulk of DC's heroes.  They had to deal with more "human" problems than the DC guys and gals.  DC heroes are also a bit more cartoonish in nature in my opinion (with a few exceptions), and therefore looked better on the TV screen than say, the Punisher or Ghost Rider.  Heck, the DC crowd even seemed to have fancier costumes (Martian Manhunter looks fabulous)!  For this reason, I preferred watching DC heroes and reading about Marvel ones.

So it should come as no surprise when I say that I was looking forward to a Green Lantern film. As far as flash and cartoonish looks go, the green guy has a lot going for him.  I mean, the guy has a ring that can create just about anything he dreams up.  He's draped in a black and green costume and he's part of an intergalactic corps of peacekeepers!  If that doesn't say "fantastical," I don't know what does!

On the flip side, Hal Jordan's Green Lantern is one of the most serious characters in the DC universe.  He's not a pushover, has dealt with a number of really human problems, and often has run-ins with fellow heroes when they have differences of opinion.  Outside of Bruce Wayne, Jordan might be the most grounded hero in all of DC.

So after I heard that the annoyingly comedic Ryan Reynolds, he of National Lampoon's Van Wilder and Two Guys and a Girl fame, was going to don the green tights, my excitement dwindled a bit.  This guy has been murder to a couple of excellent comics characters over the last few years.  He made Hannibal King a bad joke-spewing schmuck in Blade:  Trinity, and Deadpool an even bigger douche than he is portrayed as in the comics (and I like him in the comics!).

Then the trailers hit, and although I thought that Reynolds looked really cool in the costume, I never found the complete motivation to go see the film at the theater.  It was one of those films that I wanted to see, but had so many doubts in my mind that I didn't put any effort into finding the extra time to actually get into the car and drive down to the movies.  I decided to wait on the DVD.

When the DVD did come out, I went full poozer and picked it up on the day of its release.  I actually debated on skipping a party I was invited to in order to watch the film instead!  When I did get back from the party (around 11:30 pm), I plopped onto the couch and watched the whole film.  I immediately formed a shocking opinion about the movie once it was over:  It had its bad moments and Ryan Reynolds in it, but I still liked it quite a bit.

Briefly, Green Lantern tells us the story of Hal Jordan, a cocky test pilot haunted by the death of his father who is chosen by the ring of Abin Sur, who is mortally wounded by Parallax (who I'll get to later), to be the new Green Lantern of Sector 2814.  Jordan then goes through training on the planet Oa, home of the Green Lantern Corps. 

Abin Sur's body is recovered by the feds, and examined by Hector Hammond, an underachieving  scientist who winds up being infected by a bit of Parallax (who I promise to get to) that was left behind in Abin Sur after he is attacked.  The infection gives Hammond powers that he uses against his own father and attempts to use them against Hal as well.

Meanwhile, Parallax (I told you I'd get to him) is ticked off at the Green Lantern Corps for having imprisoned him for so long (he escapes his prison and murders Abin Sur and plenty of others at the beginning of the film) and decides to venture to Earth to consume the fear of its inhabitants in order to be strong enough to take down the entire Corps and destroy the planet Oa. 

Who stands in Parallax' way?  Hal Jordan.  Why?  Because the Corps (primarily the Green Lantern Sinestro and the supposedly all-knowing Guardians of the Universe) have denied him assistance because they believe that a being born of and powered by fear can only be destroyed by fear.

Will all things end up sunny?  You'll have to see the film to find out.

While all of this is playing out, Blake Lively looks pretty, we briefly meet a few of the other Lanterns, Tim Robbins plays a politician, and Angela Bassett gets mistaken by me to be Alfre Woodard.

Whew!  You got all of that?  I hope so, because it all happens that quickly during the film.  It is paced very, very quickly and as a result, left me wanting more.  I wanted to see more of Oa and the other Lanterns.  I wanted a deeper look at characters like Sinestro and Hammond.  I wanted more time to be spent on Hal Jordan's growth as a Lantern.

But I didn't get any of that.  What I did get was a somewhat toned-down performance from Ryan Reynolds.  While he wasn't a true realization of Hal Jordan in my book, he was a good fit for the film's overall tone.  He did get in a few smart aleck quips, but not enough to turn me off to the character completely. 

I also got some solid performances from the supporting cast.  Mark Strong as Sinestro was particularly good.  While it isn't looking particularly good for a sequel to this film, I'd love to see Sinestro get a shot at more screen time.  Michael Clarke Duncan and Geoffrey Rush did great jobs as the voices of Kilowog and Tomar-Re, respectively, despite not having nearly enough time on the screen.  Clancy Brown, whom I feel deserves more accolades than he's received for his other work, provided the gravelly voice of Parallax and although he was pretty hush-hush, he did a fine job.

Tim Robbins is pretty good as Senator Hammond (Hector's father), as is Angela Bassett as Dr. Waller, but neither of them added much to the film overall.  They just simply weren't on screen enough to be given a chance at development.

Taika Waititi delivers the best line in the film when he sees Hal Jordan "turn" into the Green Lantern.  He portrayed Thomas Kalmaku, Jordan's good friend and associate.  Blake Lively takes a turn as Hal's love interest, Carol Ferris, and does a decent job with a limited role.

The film's special effects were rather cartoonish in the beginning, but got better as the film progressed.  I was especially impressed by the look of Parallax once he broke free of his prison.  He was a genuinely wicked looking being.  The planet Oa looked great as well.  Much like Asgard in Thor, it actually looked alien and brilliant.

The look of the Corps members was pretty slick as well.  I liked Hal Jordan's costume and was particularly fond of Sinestro's look. 

The only effect that I didn't entirely like was Peter Sarsgaard's receding hairline and eventual bulbous protustion.  I know that Hammond has a big noggin in the comics but come on, folks, don't make it so cheesy looking!

The music, while very good, lacked a true "hero theme" for Hal Jordan.  That probably bugged me more than anything.  When our hero takes flight or goes into battle, he needs a good theme song to kick rear to.  That wasn't provided here.

I often felt that the film was attempting to smash as much fanboy info into the film as possible so that DC-philes would stay in their seats and trying to play to the general film audience at the same time too often.  Had the producers and writers just made either a straight comic film or a homogenous flick for all, the outcome would have been much better.  Instead, they tried pandering to both sides of the green ring and as a result ended up with a so-so final product.

Despite all of this, I believe that Green Lantern is worthy of multiple viewings.  It isn't perfect, but it has enough "gee-whiz" factor going for it that I've found myself watching it regularly.  I'm giving it four stars because Reynolds performed beyond my expectations and the film is a visual treat.  I honestly hope and pray that a sequel is made.  Perhaps it won't feature Reynolds, but I do think that Mark Strong gave a solid enough performance as Sinestro as to warrant a return to the role.

Hardcore DC fanboys will probably not like this film as much as more casual DC fans will, but general audiences will get a kick out of this popcorn-packed release.

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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
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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 . 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
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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 …
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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
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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 …
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Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #16
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … 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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