‘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:

[poll id=”163″]

Our Rating:

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

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473 Comments - Comments are closed.

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  1. I don’t think I have to read beyond the first line.

  2. I don’t care if you ban me. But this review is complete BS!

    • How so?

    • So you liked the movie then?

        • its funny how you always bash alot of good movies. and you like one of the worst movies of the summer. not trying to insult you i just think its kinda funny.

          • No flame baiting dude.

          • That’s the thing: DSB did NOT think this was one the worst…or a bad film (I very much agree with him). So what do you think is funny? THAT is what I find so funny.

        • I read your review DSB, and I am happy a self-proclaimed Green Latern fan enjoyed it, because these movies are made for fans, but both your review and Kofi’s express the bias you both have had in past comments. You had great faith and Kofi great doubt, and even though you disagree, Kofi pointed out many examples of why the film is just not good. While you gave the film high praise, I felt your review just gave no real reasons that resonate with the film I saw. So far, Thor had heart, which made the story great and the performances memorable, Green Lantern was soulless. XFC had brains, which a character of Green Lantern’s history should have had, considering the “space opera” the actors and producers of the film talked about, calling it the next Star Wars. I think the movie was a missed oppertunity,and I think Kofi’s angry review reflects that. I believe he wanted it to be good, but just as you made a positive judgement before seeing it, he made negative ones, and hates that the film justified those judgments. Lets refrain from hating on Kofi and others because their opinion differs from yours. Lets hope if it does do well at the box-office, that the sequel will give the character the movie treatment it deserves, and you both can agree on a good representation of a character you are both passionate about.

          • @ Drop-Out: Best comment I’ve ever seen on this site!!!

          • Kofi, is that you?! LOL

        • Agree with you DrSamBeckett
          The movie was real good and it was not like a jonah hex, it was actually good Tomar-Re, Kilowog, and Sinestro were some favorites of people who didnt even read the comic, so i think that is a good sign

    • agreed. I didn’t think the movie was as bad as this review bad it out to be..

    • Drsam if you liked the movie that’s fine, but it hardly makes this review Bulls$!t. It’s been pretty widely panned and those hundreds of reviewers should be welcomed to their opinion.

      I would argue that maybe you were so over hyped on it that just maybe you were gonna see it as good no matter how it turned out. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe you just truly loved it and that’s fine that’s your opinion. Doesn’t make either review BS.

      • Well said, Daniel F.

    • I have to agree DSB.I never comment on here but visit the site daily and have never seen a review like this. He was set out to hate the movie from the start. I personally thought it was a good summer comic book movie, although, it had a flaw here and there it was not half as bad as reviewed.

      • You are 100% right.

    • Sam. You are too intelligent to make comments like that.

  3. I respect that people have their own opinion about things, but I really don’t see where you’re coming from on a lot of this. It’s pretty unfair to say that Hal just magically showed up at Hammond’s lab without any explanation as to how he knew when the movie had explained that Hal’s ring would warn him of eminent danger with a little pulsed warning. Only one problem in a review riddled with inaccurate and trite gripes. Sad.

    • Thank you! That was explained. There are some legitimate complaints you can make about the movie but this review is so drastically committed to tearing it apart that it’s hard to take seriously. I mean, when you’re ripping on plotholes that ARE explained in the movie, then you’re just reaching. It’s a flawed but ultimately fun summer superhero movie. Lay off the hate-orade!

      • Thank you!

  4. “Green Lantern is a failure of epic proportions.”

    You couldn’t have said it better, LMAO.

  5. Remember, this is just the opinion of one person. Go and make up your own minds.

    • It’s actually the overall opinion of the whole Screenrant team.

      • Well they’re all wrong then.

        • Yes, DSM, we’re ALL wrong and YOU’RE right. As usual.

          What. Ever.

          I went to see the movie for myself when I saw Kofi’s review prior to publication. I might have given it another 1/2 star, but I couldn’t go any higher than that. It was a mess.


          • Vic,

            If I know NOTHING about green lantern will I still understand it do you think?

            • I didn’t know much about GL except what I learned in a few comics and the Justice League animated series. The movie explained things well, it just fell flat. If this movie had half the heart that Thor had, I would have enjoyed it more, but they explained the situations in the movie well.

            • Rickster,

              Sure – all the history is explained via voiceovers.


              • Ok thanks.

        • I’m with you dsb.

      • Not just Screenrant either. It appears that that is the sentiment across the internet. However, it’s still subjective. We shall all see! It is rather disheartening though.

    • It’s actually the opinion of 77% of professional critics, according to Rotten Tomatoes. In my opinion, the movie was bad. Not trying to bash it, but it was a disappointment.

  6. Havent seen it, but I have to say, Chris Nolan needs to be in charge of any superhero flick, he hasnt made a bad movie yet and excelled in batman and his own idea of inception…… cant wait for Man Of Steel!!!!

    • Here we go with the Nolan is god stuff again. Inception wasn’t that original either, there’s a Donald Duck comic that did almost the same thing, and it was written over ten years ago.

    • Christopher Nolan’s input alone won’t guarantee a good movie. Especially since he’s a glorified consultant as far as the movie’s content.

    • Umm, no. Nolan takes the fun out of anything and makes a lot of his so serious that it’s boring. Both The Dark Knight and Inception were mediocre and I have yet to see Following, The Prestiege, and Insomnia so I can’t judge them but I have no desire to watch them.

      Plus, Nolan himself admitted that he would not be as heavily involves in Man of Steel as he should due to working on Dark Knight Rises, so if you’re going to watch Man of Steel expecting a Nolan movie prepare to be dissapointed.

      • His films are so serious because he’s more focused on actually making good respectable films rather than clitche predictable fun summer block busters

        • This is just me, but I’d rather see a fun summer blockbuster than a Nolan film.

          i mean just because something is serious that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have fun, I love Batman Begins and Memento and they both are extremely serious. So is The Seventh Seal which is still one of the most depressing things I’ve seen.

          • I’d rather see a good film than a mindless waste of time so called ‘fun’ film.

            To me a good film is fun be it serious or not. I fail to see how TDK wasn’t fun. It may have been serious, but there was also light witty humor as well has cool action scenes.

      • I don’t think that Nolan should be connected to every superhero, but he has done great with Batman. As a director he is one of the best around today, watch MEMENTO. he is a great director, just because everyone likes him doesn’t mean that he is overrated, especially when his films are great. If you think that Inception was mediocre it’s because you didn’t get it.

        • Oh that is a weak argument.

          “you didn’t like it cause you didn’t get it.”

          I completely understand the film and I thought it was overrated. I personally found it to not engaging enough for *ME*.

          The average movie goer doesn’t care who directed the film. I went with a date who loved it and had no clue who directed it. You know why? Cause she isn’t a filmophile.

          • First time I watched Inception, I thought it was the most overhyped thing ever, and felt bored (my anti-leo bias probably kicked in too). Then I took a day, watched all the extras and gave it another go. Second time around, I LOVED it and would happily rewatch. Not taking anyone’s side, that was my honest experience, and frankly I was amazed at how differently my perceptions were each time. Maybe the movie planted a suggestion… :)

        • Yeah, saying that because someone thought Inception was mediocre means they “didn’t get it” is really a laughable argument at this point. Truly. Don’t get me wrong. I liked the film. I think it has strong performances across the board, and great direction, but there is not great deep meaning to it. EVERYTHING is explained. Everything. The only thing open to interpretation is the end, which is shoehorned in so as to provide an air of mystery the rest of the film couldn’t provide, which ultimately falls flat and actually detracts from the rest of the movie. Hell, Ellen Page’s character was pretty much an exposition machine. If someone wasn’t explaining something to her, she was explaining something to someone else. My 6 year old niece could follow that movie. I enjoy it because it’s a fun action and adventure film. If I were to judge it based on calling it a cerebral, thriller, I would give it much lower marks.

          Inception is not the end all be all. It’s more than competent film. That’s about as much praise as it deserves.

    • @ragehockey Nolan has yet to make a SUPERHERO movie.

      • Most sensible comment on this thread.

      • This comment is so full of win.

        • Did Charlie Sheen write it?

  7. Still gonna see it anyway

  8. As far as your critique on teh story, characters and acting, I disagree 100% But the movie was still far from perfection.

  9. Have you seen the movie Sam?
    I haven’t and this review is not going to stop me, but it’s kind of foolish to trash, A FANS opinion, of a movie I’ve yet to see.

    • Just saw the movie, and I agree 100%, this movie was a mess.

  10. I don’t get what’s up with all the critics. I saw the movie last night expecting total failure as the review say but I came out of the theater feeling like an idiot for believing their reviews. It’s a great, fun, entertaining movie and there really is never a dull moment. Sure it’s not Dark Knight, or First Class, but it was still great. It was way more fun than Thor and the entire theater applauded when the movie was done. WATCH THIS MOVIE! You won’t regret it.

    • First of all, not all critics dislike the movie. You should only use critics as a guideline, to get a general idea of what you’re going in for. I think people give critics too much credit. They only have as much power over people as people let them have. No matter what critics say, it’s still the moviegoer who makes the decision whether to go or not to any given movie.

    • I’m hoping GL is enjoyable in spite of its flaws. Some movies are so bad you can’t enjoy them, some are enjoyable because of how bad they are, and some are enjoyable in spite of the flaws.

      It sounds to me like the flaws are big, and they are real, but that you didn’t care about them or didn’t notice them yourself.

  11. It is with great remorse I say this, Kofi is dead on with his review. Not only did I want GL to be a hot if not the Hit of the Summer but I was irked it did not get iMax screen time and now after watching it I realize why it was not converted to iMax.

    Kofi pretty much nails it so there’ not much to add other then to say if you were excited about GL as I then watch the movie first before making any negative posts about Kofi’s review of it.

  12. Kofi Is not the only person to ask how Hal appeared in that Hammond scene I have seen that complaint in various other reviews .
    The most common complaint I have seen is that it appears that a large piece of the movie is missing.

    • That’s probably waiting for the extended DVD version.

  13. I dont want to see this anymore lol

    It looked bad since day one. Oh well ill see it for that epic hp trailer :)

    • Haha @Rickster. Those 2 and a half minutes are probably better than the whole green lanter trailer

  14. Id say the review was 95% acurate. The ring did pulse warning Hal of danger. I saw the movie this morning and the reviewer is spot on. Marvel wins the year hands down with one more movie to go.

  15. Yeah, this review sounds less like a critical deconstruction and more like an angry fan on a message board. While I agree with the Sinestro debacle, I felt like putting it on the same level as Batman and Robin is hyperbole.

    • Amen brother.

    • Certainly not just an angry fanboy rant. If you have read any of Kofi’s other articles you’d know he hates fanboys (practically calls for their deaths). He has on several occasions made it clear that he doesn’t care if it follows the comics closely or just steals the name and has nothing to do with them at all. As long as it’s well made. To me this review sounds like a critcle breakdown mostly complaining about things that you would complain about in any film regardless of whether it’s an established property or not.

      Kofi tends to come on really strong and sometimes is a little overly insulting, but that doesn’t make him wrong or a fanboy.

  16. @Kofi

    “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.”

    He knew because the ring told him. In the film it beeped and glowed letting him know there was trouble. I am assuming the ring (mentally) informed him of where and what.

  17. I appreciate the review for all of the technical difficulties the film suffered from …. But whatever happened to just trying to have fun at the movies. Are we so jaded that we can’t set aside Oscar worthy films from ones that are just supposed to be fun?

    • Twotone,

      Thanks for getting the first “can’t people just enjoy fun movies” comment out of the way. 8)


  18. Just seen the film. I dont know what film Kofi saw as i thought it was great. Yes it did have some flaws, but i do not see how it can be awarded 1.5/5. Walking out of the screen you always hear mumblings of what the audience thought, and near everyone was saying how they enjoed the film. I feel that if one goes into the film looking for things to dislike then you will always find something, and i feel thats whats happened here. I went in knowing the reviews havent been the best, but i had an open mind and thoroughly enjoyed the film for what it was… a fun summer movie. Consensus between the 5 of us who went tonight – 7/10

  19. I remember seeing how the review was dividing the Screenrant team, does that mean that a few members liked it?

    I assume that the reason why this one got published was because you agreed with it Vic.

    • Most likely.

  20. I disagree with your take on the movie. As someone who is also a big fan of the comic, I really enjoyed it. I felt that they were mostly true to the source material. What bothers me is your mean spirited way of writing. What do you gain by saying unfounded things, i. e. the black hole comment near the beginning? I couldn’t finish the review, because it was hard to separate your assessment from your abusive diatribe. Without altering your opinions, you could have written a more even keel review.

    • ^ this

    • Totaly agree. The 1.5/5 score should be for this review not the film. I read reviews that i disagree with, but i take on board the points that are raised. This though merely seems as if kofi spilt his popcorn and is taking it out on the film.

  21. What people always fail to do is separate the source material from a film. While one of the main goals of any movie adaptation is to create the best interpretation possible you can’t create a word for word translation. example: Harry Potter- I read the books and so many things are skipped its ridiculous, however it is one of the biggest movie franchises and I enjoy them for what they are. I do not like this review because it is nothing more than an angry rant by someone who was mad that it wasnt like the comic books he read. I enjoyed the film and you dont have to agree, however, it was an action packed film that provides a basic introduction to the green lantern lore. I would suggest the film to others happily, however as a general rule, if a film was converted to 3d then its not actually 3D

  22. My spirit is crushed. I hope in this crushed state that the movie will be better to me because of it

    • Ha ha ha. It probably will be.

  23. I enjoyed it, it was by far not the best, and the two animated green lantern movies (the most recent ones) were far superior. It did feel as though good sized chunks were removed. I would not mind seeing the dvd for the “deleted scenes” feature to get an idea of what we missed.

    I will say one thing though
    Tomar Re was brilliantly animated and voiced. He was perfect. He needed far more screentime.

  24. This review is UNFAIR! to call it a “dissappointment of the summer” for you, is understandable and respected, but to paint a picture of this movie as a tragic mess, is OVER REACTING much! It was a fun movie, but not so bad that people notice EVERY flaws of the movie.
    I did, however, wonder what Abin Sur was doing in his spaceship in the meantime while he waited for the ring to find a chosen one. Im sure, in the whole world, there is someone far more deserving of the ring than Hal. It’s so convenient that the ring chose someone a drive away from Abin Sur. You would think, someone near the area will see his glowing spaceship SITTING on top of rocks near the docks.
    I much wouldve believed this scene had Hal Jordan been flying his jet and saw Abin Surs carshed spaceship in the middle of the dessert.
    Carol Ferris storyline was abit dissappointing too.
    The movie was fun though! This movie was NOT made for FAN BOYS, because frankly, even if all the fans of green lantern came together to watch this movie, it would not make enough money, theefore, the script writers altered evrything to make it more “appealing” to NON fans. So yeah, the movie is mindless fun. Movies like these need people to practice “SOD”
    Suspencion of Disbelief…

  25. I know thought it was a good movie. Most people that go see will know nothing of the comic book and its back story. The part about the emotion they probably didnt mention the others because they were not part of the story they were trying to tell. They gave some back story before the movie started, and enough to help people understand the movie. Yup they did explain that the ring warns of impending danger and the fact that Hector Hammand and Hal Jordan already knew each other. And sorry the author must of been watching a different movie than me.

  26. Kofi is right, this movie is just bad. Never got into the GL of the comics but loved the Justice League series, especially GL and his mythos. I wanted to enjoy the movie but it was soulless, total letdown by all parties involved. Here’s to Captain America to hopefully get this bad taste out of my mouth. Spot on review Kofi.

    • Hal’s one punch is all that it took when added to the gravitational pull of the sun. Potty break when that whole ‘watch out for the sun, bigger you are, faster you go’ thing got explained? Thought so.

  27. I understood that all of the emotions had colors… That seemed pretty obvious since WILL and FEAR are not total opposites or anything…

    • Yeah you kinda figure after they explain why will is the color green in their ring and they show fear and the color yellow im guessing the figure people will figure it out.

  28. damn man u just beat the crap out of the movie
    like it killed ur family or something…damn
    i felt the anger when i read this review…

    • Joining the bandwagon of superior snooty critics must be a really compelling destination. Enough to make you pretend you have a valid point to make.

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