Movie Review: GREEN LANTERN (2011) Worst Comic Book Adaptation Ever?

Published by Shah Shahid on

After the HARRY POTTER franchise, that has ended this summer, Warner Bros. need another big hit. Also considering their critical and commercial success in Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, also ends next year with the third and last film, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. This big hit was supposed to come in the form of their new (possible) film franchise, GREEN LANTERN. I’m sorry to say that that’s not happening.

Rating: 1 Out Of 5 Stars

oh yea, freakin awesome–ly crap.

Let’s get right into it, GREEN LANTERN was a horrible movie. It was bad in almost every way that a movie can be bad, and then some. I’m not even going to bother comparing it to the comic book Green Lantern or discussing if it stayed true to the source material, because this movie wasn’t bad because of incompetency when it came to the adaptation from comic to big screen, it was bad all on its own. Let’s just go through the list.

First of all: Flagrantly misleading marketing. I almost never consider this when it comes to the review of a film, because it doesn’t matter. Marketing of a film will do anything and everything to make a movie look good, because, well… that’s the point. However, the marketing for GREEN LANTERN was just misleading. On top of hyping up the movie, the trailers and TV promos are supposed to give you an idea of what the film is about. A short summary, synopsis, that kind of thing. But the promo spots for GREEN LANTERN made it seem like a completely different movie than what it was. The entire focus of the trailers was how Ryan Reynolds’ Hal Jordan character, is recruited into an intergalactic army led by Mark Strong’s Sinestro character, and together they stop a deadly threat to the universe, in the form of parallax. The movie itself, is only about less than half of those things.

half these guys didn’t even have speaking roles…

The entire Green Lantern Corps, which is the intergalactic police force that Jordan gets recruited into, is featured in the movie for all of, maybe 15-20 minutes. The supporting cast within the Green Lantern Corps, even less. The unfortunate thing about this, is that the casting for all these character was bang on. Fan favourite characters like Tomar-Re, Kilowog and Sinestro were casted perfectly. In the case of Tomar-Re and Kilowog, they were CGI, so the voices were done by Jeffrey Rush and Michael Clarke Duncan, respectively. And the biggest feature of the film, that drove me to watch it, was Mark Strong as Sinestro. (A li’l background info: Sinestro is to Green Lantern what Joker is to Batman, Lex Luthor to Superman, and so on.) The character sheets and teasers features Hal Jordan, Sinestro and Carol Ferris.  However, all this talent is wasted, as they feature in the film, only briefly. Complete and blatantly misleading. Now, not having the Green Lantern Corps. feature heavily in the film would’ve been just fine, if the other aspects of the film were done well. But they weren’t.

The acting: ‘WTF’ calibre of horrible. Just bad. Blake Lively is wooden and monotone, everyone knows this. But somehow she seems to have infected the rest of the cast as well. Ryan Reynolds’s usual charming and witty personality seemed forced and flat. The one liners during the entire movie were cringe-worthy, expected from a B-Grade film, not a major Hollywood summer blockbuster. Mark Strong did not disappoint however, in the 17 minutes (exaggerated) he was on screen. Tim Robbins was annoying, which seemed to have been the point. (?) Skaarsgard as Hector Hammond, was… honestly, pointless. And such a good actor such as him, seemed to be phoning in the performance.

more like Special Appearance: Mark Strong…

The plot: The basic premise is that there’s an intergalactic force of Green Lanterns that police the universe, using the power of ‘will’, forged into special rings by The Guardians who mediate them. However, one of the Guardians’ own betrays them, using the power of ‘fear’, becomes Parallax and goes on a fuckin’ rampage to destroy everything.

Now, I understand the use of multiple villains in films like BATMAN BEGINS and such,  as it’s layered, one minor villain usually sets up the larger one, and so on. But the point of having both Parallax and Hector Hammond in this film, didn’t make much sense. Especially considering Hammond did nothing but take vengeance on the Hal Jordan and Carol Farris, the ‘cool’ kids from his younger days, that he never fit in with. Really… that’s what a comic book movie adaption comes down to?! Especially considering a  superhero whose adventures span galaxies and universes; that’s the best they could do? A nerd who goes on an insane rampage after gaining powers because he could never get the girl!? Ugh.

‘i always got picked last for dodgeball… hence…’

GREEN LANTERN also made the gigantic mistake that FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER and some other films made as well. They made the main antagonist, the big kahuna villain, the big baddie that’s hyped up during the entire movie as a force to be reckoned with… a fucking cloud. OK, to be fair, parallax was more of a planet sized squid made of molten lava rock… or some shit. The big battle in the end was Hal Jordan flying through space, being chased by a– yes, molten rock squid with a giant alien head. And then he is able to single handedly beat him, by not doing anything really that impressive, but apparently it impresses everyone else in the Green Lantern Corps. Even though all of them could’ve done the same thing, probably better considering their thousands of Green Lanterns. But this movie is about Hal Jordan, not the Corps, as I mentioned earlier, so he’s gotta be the focus, despite how silly everything is.

yea… this thing…

Everything about GREEN LANTERN was bad. Just pure and simply, bad. GREEN LANTERN wasn’t just a bad super hero adaption, it was just a bad movie in general. Even leaving out everything about its being true to the source material… it’s still a bad movie. It’s a shame because the best things about the movie were the effects, the supporting cast of Green Lanterns and the aspects of the story that didn’t take place on Earth.  The scenes with the Guardians and the adaption of the Green Lantern origin story, modified to fit the story of the film, was done very well. The scenes between the Guardians and Sinestro were almost taken straight out of the comics. And they were engaging and interesting. Watching Reynolds’s Jordan and Lively’s Farris slow dance in a bar, as they reminisce about their former relationship, has, in this writer’s opinion, no place in a Green Lantern movie.

One pretty cool scene is where Blake Lively mocks the fact that Hal Jordan’s identity is protected in the Green Lantern form, using only a domino mask. Finally addressing how ridiculous it is to be able to keep a secret identity in a painted on body suit and a domino mask. But my point is: if it truly is that ridiculous, and the makers are aware that it’s ridiculous enough to have a character comment on it, why have a scene that shows Green Lantern as a ‘mysterious’ new hero on Earth that saves the day. Why?!

I honestly would’ve preferred GREEN LANTERN to have taken place entirely in space, away from Earth, after a few establishing scenes on Earth. Maybe the focus could’ve been on Oa or other planets as Hal Jordan and the Corps investigate like old school detectives and go up against Parallax, with a still in-training Hal Jordan who has to learn about his powers on the fly.

A story doesn’t need to always focus a threat on Earth. A film about intergalactic characters and threats, doesn’t need to culminate on Earth for the audience to respond. Parallax just shows up on Earth and wants to annihilate it just to get revenge, seems like a waste of a villain that’s supposed to be so closely tied to the Green Lantern mythos. And on that note, why is it that the rest of the Green Lanterns aren’t ON Earth taking on this big bad guy, when the entire beginning of the film was devoted to them all uniting to kick Parallax’s ass? Why does the story always have to be about the hero taking on the bad guy one on one?

GREEN LANTERN was an opportunity to create a team dynamic with the supporting casts from scene 1. Something that hasn’t been explored in superhero movies to date. A hero who is essentially an underdog in his own right, for whom the powers and flying through space stuff comes secondary, and his own inherent will is what makes him a hero. All of that took a backseat to pandering a story for the masses. GREEN LANTERN was marketed for the masses, to drive them into theatres, regardless of what the actual story was that they were promoting. And when it came to the actual story of the film, there was a lot packed in that was unnecessary and redundant, not to mention nonsensical.

GREEN LANTERN sucked. There’s really nothing more to be said about that.

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Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad


SJ · August 11, 2011 at 10:09 PM

You know what’s sad is that GL would’ve been an awesome franchise fer the folks at WB….alas only if they had penned it the right way. How about you and I sit down and pen one down for consideration?

    Shah Shahid · August 11, 2011 at 11:31 PM

    Well they apparently are going ahead with the sequel. I doubt they’ll get us for the script though.

    So… I’m down!

CMrok93 · August 14, 2011 at 5:28 AM

The mythology is nonsensical and the plot takes forever to get going. But once it does, the movie takes advantage of a strong cast and a director who knows what he’s doing. Good Review!

    Shah Shahid · August 15, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Unlike yourself, I actually did know a lot about GL before the film, but tried to be objective about it and review it as a stand alone feature film. The saving grace would’ve been Reynolds in a role, that should be like his dozens of roles prior to it, but he let me down. Most of the establishing mythology scenes seemed more to set up for a possible sequel than have any impact in this film… as proven by the after credits scene.

    Thanks. Your too…

GREEN LANTERN – 2011 (via Blank Page Beatdown) « Hello Indore · August 11, 2011 at 4:41 PM

[…] Watch out!!! After the HARRY POTTER franchise, that has ended this summer, Warner Bros. need another big hit. Also considering their critical and commercial success in Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise, also ends next year with the third and last film, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. This big hit was supposed to come in the form of their new (possible) film franchise, GREEN LANTERN. I'm sorry to say that that's not happening.   [caption id="" align="aligncente … Read More […]

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