‘Green Lantern’ Review

Published 4 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 7:06 am,

Green Lantern Reviews Green Lantern Review

Screen Rant’s Kofi Outlaw Reviews Green Lantern

Green Lantern is a failure of epic proportions.

I write this (painfully) as someone who actually knows this particular superhero and has been a big fan of the modern Green Lantern mythos established by DC Comics writer and chief creative officer Geoff Johns (who is an executive producer and consultant on this film). Despite having rich source material to draw from, there is just so much that director Martin Campbell and the script writers (Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg) get wrong that it is a compliment to even call Green Lantern a movie, rather than a vapid black hole which sits in place of a movie about a green superhero.

The first mistake Green Lantern makes, is that it fails to establish any kind of coherent context or mythos for its titular superhero. The movie opens with some heavy exposition blurted out by fish-man Tomar-Re (voiced by the always impeccable Geoffrey Rush) about “emerald willpower,” ancient beings, power rings, space sectors, Green Lanterns and some “yellow fear” bad guy named Parallax. No mention of the fact that in this comic book reality, all emotions (will, fear, anger, love, etc…) give off different kinds of “lights” that can be harnessed as power; the naming of “green willpower” and “yellow fear” are deemed sufficient explanation. They are not.

Nevermind all that, though, as we cut to a purple guy (Abin Sur, if you happen to catch his name) battling a floaty yellow fear-blob (Parallax). Purple guy gets wounded, says something about a replacement, and then flies off in a spaceship. Cut to Earth, where we are speedily introduced to Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) – a cocky, womanizing test pilot, clearly hero material – and his (Former flame? Current crush?) Carol Ferris (Blake Lively). Cut to a plane chase, spastic flashbacks to Hal’s dad dying in a plane crash, then Hal moping around until he gets a super ring from the dying purple guy (who’s been lying in a swamp all day, not that we see him crash on earth). A few scenes of Ryan Reynolds comedy schtick later, Hal is flown off to a distant planet to hear an exposition dump explaining his new super ring. We briefly meet some of the other Lanterns (Kilowog, Tomar-Re and Sinestro, if you happen to catch their names) – but don’t bother taking a liking to them, because they’re gone again in just a few minutes.

Green Lantern movie Kilowog and Tomar Re Green Lantern Review

Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan) and Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush)

Back on Earth, dead purple guy has some yellow blobby stuff inside him that infects nerdy Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), a scientist who is friends with Hal and Carol (or something). Hammond gets a swollen head and psychic powers from the yellow blob (somehow) – so then all of a sudden there’s a yellow fear-blob in space, a blob-powered psychic on Earth, and Hal must beat them both with his new green super ring. Only, Hal isn’t really sure he’s courageous enough to use his green super ring, so he mopes around earth some more, dancing around his feelings for Carol until he summons the  (you guessed it) will to be a hero.

If the above paragraphs confuse you, welcome to the experience of trying to follow Green Lantern‘s “story.” This film is by and large an overstuffed, incoherent mess that I’m not sure director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) ever had his hands, his head, or his heart around. The same goes for the script writers. The movie never seems sure of itself – what to show, how to show it – and the result is a disjointed patchwork of scenes varying in effectiveness and tone, with many, many, holes left wide open between the seams. Key moments in movement, development or action are overlooked, leaving we, the viewers, to fill in the blanks with either our imaginations, assumptions, or annoyance (for me it was the latter).

You can almost make a game of it: watch the film, and pick out all the times where characters go places (like quick trips into deep outer space) or do things (like show up to fight villains), without any firmly established reasoning or motivation. (I would still like to know how Hal Jordan, doubting himself as a Lantern, knows to show up for his first big fight with Hector Hammond. Suddenly he’s just there in Hammond’s lab, no explanation why or how.)

Green Latern Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern Review

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds in 'Green Lantern'

Without a good script as a safety net, and a competent director providing a tightrope, the performances of the actors plummet into the aimless and campy depths of a Joel Schumacher Batman film. (I dare evoke the name of Batman & Robin, as that was the only other time I’ve had the impulse to walk out of a comic book movie.) For all the debates about casting, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are never really given the opportunity  or material needed to develop their characters – scene by scene, Hal and Carol alternate from hot to cold to middle-ground buddies, and a good chunk of the dialogue they speak is laugh out loud bad.

Mark Strong tries to elevate the proceedings as Sinestro, Hal’s militant foil within the Lantern Corps. However, the screenwriters drop this ball as well, marginalizing Sinestro’s presence to a mostly arbitrary assortment of scenes sprinkled throughout the movie. Worse yet, the writers toss in a totally arbitrary plot device meant to set up a Green Lantern sequel, thereby destroying any hope fans of the comics might have of seeing the wonderful character development that has been written for Sinestro over the years. This movie spares nothing.

The effects (for all the controversy and money surrounding them) are just…ok. There are some enjoyable  moments (Hector Hammond’s psychic powers are surprisingly fun), but they are over pretty quickly. Parallax looks like a silly cartoon (but commits some bizarrely grisly acts) and only some of the CGI aliens work as believable characters (Tomar-Re), while others don’t (Kilowog, The Guardians). The Green Lantern costume Reynolds wears works sometimes and looks cartoony other times, and though the power ring constructs are well done, they’re often used in over-the-top ways meant to fetishize the effect, rather than enhance the film.

Green Lantern 3D effects Green Lantern Review

Don't bother with the 3D version.

As for the 3D? It’s a total gimmick, don’t pay for it. I have great eyesight, and even my eyes began to hurt while watching this film. Then I took off the 3D glasses and I figured out why: most of the movie isn’t in 3D. The majority of the time I didn’t wear the 3D glasses at all; other times, scenes were either slightly blurred (half-rendered in 3D) or had one or two objects in the shot which sported the 3D effect. The outer space scenes, Green Lantern costume and powers were all 3D, but even then, the effect looked cheap compared to other films actually shot in 3D, instead of being converted after the fact.

Despite all the aforementioned problems, can Green Lantern still be considered a bit of mindless summer movie fun? Sure, if you’re age 10 and under. But if you’re too old to run out and by a Green Lantern action figure as soon as the movie is done, then you are probably too old not to notice that you are watching a really, really, poorly constructed movie. Biggest disappointment of the summer for me.

If you’ve already seen Green Lantern, head over to our Green Lantern spoilers discussion – to chat about anything that could spoil the experience for others.

However, if you’re still on the fence about seeing the film, check out the trailer below:

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Our Rating:

1.5 out of 5
(Poor, A Few Good Parts)

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473 Comments - Comments are closed.

  1. I loved it so did my sons.I don’t see how someone could hate it IT’S BASED ON A COMIC BOOK (Why So Serious)

    • u cant keep on saying its just based on a comic book. so that mean cause its based on a comic book the should be bad. Green Lantern movie was poorly edited and develop. the movie should of been more space epic if you seen WB/DC animated movie Green Lantern First Flight and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights that how Green Lantern movie should of been.

  2. Very few of the criticisms in this review made sense to me. I don’t know very much about “The Green Lantern” other than he is a bit of a do gooder, he has a kinda magic ring and yellow is his weakness.

    Having said that, the film gave me loads of backstory without me feeling it was heavy handed. I got the idea that different emotions were represented by colours and Sinestro, Kilowog and Albin Sur had their names mentioned enough times so i was not confused as to who was who. I thought Ryan Reynolds managed to walk a fine line between charming and cheesy, managing to pull the whole thing off. If there was one weak spot, it was Blake Lively as she didn’t really sell her part for me. And Parallax was a scarier villain who gave me a few jump moments.

    In fact I preferred this to X-Men: First Class.

  3. I hate to say this… wait no I don’t!


    I knew the special effects would be weak and I knew the plot would be wrong (albeit I never thought it would be THIS wrong.)

  4. After reading this review I decided to save my Lantern money for Capt. America, but after all the pages of contoversy and conflict, I think I’ll go see Lantern anyway, and find out what the fuss is all about.

    440 comments?! Wow! Everyone had such high expectations for this movie, this thread is the screenrant version of a Vancouver Hockey loss riot.

  5. There should not be a comparison bewtween Marvel and DC Comics. In the early 80s it was all DC, and the late 80′s and 90s it was even. in the last 12-13 years and it ahs been strictly Marvel. Batman or Superman was not generally enough to compete with Anything Marvel had put out. Marvel became darker with the Blade and Punisher series. And yes, Marvel has had some bad films, the first Hulk movie, Electra, DareDevil, Fantastic Four and the X-men movies with the exception of 1st Class DC Comics maybe isnt taking the money to be made in the Comics industry seriously while MArvel is in another Galaxy with theirs. Look how long it took them to make another Superman Movie and then Wonderwoman. Meanwhile Women Heroines are all apart of Marvel’s front line, With electra, Sue Storm, Storm, Rogue, Jean Grey, Mystique you name it. Does Marvel have more characters to choose from, probably. But there shouldnt be a competition, it’s not even close.

  6. I saw the mid night showing and i kept dosing off…I love the green lanterns powers that was the best part of the movie for me…and im not convinced his powers got the credit or attention they deserved.

  7. This movie sucked. My whole family thought so! More Sinestro, better fight scenes, less of the uncompelling leading lady.


  8. You see, this is what happens when you cast that girl in a movie. It doesn’t work!

  9. Obviously you don’t know good films versus bad ones in Green lantern they built up the love story and the connection between Hall Jordan and Carol ferris so that it made sense from childhood.
    In comparison Thor shows up on earth as a spoiled brat acting not like a king or royalty like what he was acting like back on his planet yet somehow he is a different person lol. Thor has become some homeless person who has come from nothing breaking cups when he wants something which he would have never done back on his home planet. Yet they act like Thor is a completely different person on earth versus at home then to make the movie worse they then go on to show Nathalie pitmans character as a stupid girl who a guy takes off his shirt and she is struck with puppy love because he has muscles very unrealistic.
    To continue on after Natalie portman’s supposed puppy love they then spend one night on the roof looking at stars no kiss, no sex and nothing actually about getting to really know each other. Then all of the sudden the big battle and the movie is ending and she is so in love with him after not knowing him at all and them having built no connection between them at all longer than a brief conversation unrealistic. Then Thor goes back to his planet and then all of the sudden he is just so love struck and heart sick did you really even think about your reasons or are you just saying it because you obviously don’t know the difference between good writing Green lantern that builds a character and relationships versus Thor that assumes we are all idiots and will just buy such a thin and unbelievable story about Thor that was only made to fill a gap till we get avengers not even a complete film.

    As I have stated earlier if you want to see character driven superhero movie Green lantern. As apposed to Thor that they treat the audience like idiots and we will take anything including waiver thin story, horrible love connection and plot holes and shove it down our throats and act like it is a complete story.

    So tell everyone and go see Green lantern with an open mind don’t listen to the critics. If you have read the comics and grown up with the Green lantern character you will definitely see the connection to the true story of Hal Jordan, carol ferris and the ring. Enjoy a awesome film for what it truly is a hero with heart. Support this film if you like good cinema not just marvel movies because you think marvel can only make good films marvel obviously doesn’t but people have been buying into their crap.

  10. Wow. Y’all are still complaining about green lanter when it god bad reviews across the board, and only made about 50 million in one weekend. This isnt just a coincidence

  11. I just saw the Green Lantern and WOW! was that bad! The only way to explain it is, disconjointed! Nothing flows, nothing makes sense, and my goodness EXPOSITION much? Where they could have been doing stuff and showing stuff they just explained it all with voice over and rambling…very dull, very boring, and just unimaginative! I honestly couldn’t believe at how rubbish this film was.
    And I almost walked away when the bag guy with the big old head kept screaming like a pathetic little whiny girl! I mean when the director yelled “cut” and considered that a good take, he must have been drunk or high or something.

    I gotta saw my top 3 worst CBM would be
    1. Green Lantern
    2. Superman Returns
    3. Daredevil

    • I’m sorry but NOTHING is worse than superman returns.

      • Ummm… Elektra\Catwoman?

        Honestly, my top 4 would be:
        1. Catwoman
        2. Elektra
        3. Ghost Rider
        4. Daredevil

        (I thought Superman Returns was actually a really great expansion for the franchise)

        • haha i’ve never seen catwoman! There’s some filmS that I just chose to ignore even exist and that is one of them. :) I mean realistically these are the crappiest top ten for me, not in particular order.

          Green Lantern
          Superman Returns
          Batman and Robin
          Punisher War-Zone
          Fantastic Four
          Hulk 2003
          Sin City

          I didn’t like superman returns for a few reason 1. Bored with Lex. 2. didn’t like Lois. 3. Superman & Lois having a kid, yet Lois not knowing who Superman was. Had Superman been able to fight someone really powerful like DarkSeid or Bizarro or Brainica I probably would have liked it more, and maybe even been able to look past the whole Lois and Superman kid thing. But to be honest the backstory of Superman going to find his planet sounded like a better plot then what happened in the film.

          But also, did anyone realise in Green Lantern that Hector Hammond looked like the Elephant man? lawls.

  12. Finally saw the movie and I have to admit I was not too impressed with it.

    Particularly the acting… story line…

    It gave me flashbacks to the first two Star Wars movies (the new trilogy), especially Star Wars II, when I just cringed at SOMETHING in just about every scene.

    No, I wouldn’t be SO harsh as Kofi was, but… I can’t lie, I think this movie was a serious setback for comic book movies – a step backwards from the Dark Knight and Iron Man for sure.

    Thor was also definitely a better movie. I can only hope that Captain America is, too.

    I expected more of Warner Bros. and DC – that they would use this as a great opportunity to bring their own line of superheroes on the silver screen and challenge Marvel Studios.

    But all I see right now is a movie that should have been a “can’t miss” that ended up being a miss and probably forgettable.

    It’s disappointing.