DIRECTED BY: Martin Campbell
WRITTEN BY: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg
STARRING: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard
RATING: 2.5 stars
While I once felt like an excited child going to watch a comic book film adaptation at the cinema, I am now resigning myself to the fact that I'm probably going to be disappointed with many of Hollywood's comic book offerings. Green Lantern had four writers and they still couldn’t get the script right. The plot was far too convoluted that rather than pay attention to try to understand what's going on, you're far more likely to just give up and zone out. Perhaps it is because there were too many writers with too many ideas, but the film could not find the right mix of comedy, action and drama.
At the start of the film, we are introduced to the Green Lantern Corps who are warriors from different races across the universe sworn to keep intergalactic order. Each Green Lantern wears a ring with superpowers drawn from the universe. But Parallax (a Lucifer-like character), whose powers are drawn from fear, threatens to destroy the universe. Thus, the corps recruits reckless test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) as the first human to become a Green Lantern to try to save the universe.
This is a very condensed explanation of the plot. It actually has a lot more to it and therein lies my main problem with Green Lantern; there's too much background information that audiences have to learn and there isn't enough time to explain everything concisely while still developing the characters and showing enough action scenes. If a viewer watches the film with no understanding of the comic, they will need to be eased into the storyline because its quite complex. However, instead of taking the time to set up the conventions of the film for what the film-makers would hope and expect to become a new film franchise, audiences are thrown in the deep end.
There are some good things about the film though. The first of which is one of our villains, Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), a scientist tormented by his father and in love with Hal's childhood love Carol Ferris (Blake Lively). Given how cruel his father is, you actually feel sorry for Hector even when he becomes the crazy (and ugly) villain. Reynolds is also quite good as Hal. He is so likeable in everything he does but not even he could save this film with his well-timed comedy. The character of Hal also reminded me of Tom Cruise's Maverick in Top Gun rather than the comic book hero; there was just a little too much emphasis on the fact that he's a charming and rebellious pilot. Lively, in her attempt to grow out of her Gossip Girl character, also gives a decent performance, albeit one that still sees the leggy blonde, turned brunette for this film, strut around in pretty dresses that it's easy to forget she's supposed to be a tough test pilot.
My favourite aspect of the film is that it doesn't take itself too seriously and actually pokes fun at other comic book film adaptations. One of these fun moments is the scene when Carol recognises Hal in his superhero costume telling him it's ridiculous that she would not know him just because his cheekbones are covered with a mask.
The end of the film sets up the possibility for a sequel, which they probably will make regardless of how successful the film is. It is, after all, a comic book film so audiences will flock to see Green Lantern even though it's not really worth the money.