Green Lantern movie review (Mixers and Movie Reviews)

This video review is an outtake from our Man of Steel episode.


Imagine you’re in charge of choosing the basic story for the Green Lantern movie.  It’s a daunting task; after all, the first Green Lantern appeared in All-American Comics issue #16 in July of 1940 – I’m not trying to up my nerd credit (and yes, I get that the first Green Lantern from the Golden Age of comic books was quite different from the second Silver Age Green Lantern), but I just want to point out that there are decades worth of stories a screenplay could be based on – not to mention multiple Green Lanterns to choose from.  As for me, I’m a John Stewart kind of guy, but that’s not the reason why I’m going to have such a hard time saying good things about this movie.

spoiler alert
In fact, I very much enjoyed Green Lantern:  First Flight, proving that I can enjoy Hal Jordan as GL, and I assumed, right up until the end, that we’d get a very similar movie…  and I guess we did… sort of.  But rather than a straight forward movie, I felt that instead, the producers assembled every possible idea, plot thread and character available, tossed them in a hat in an attempt to pick one – and instead, picked ALL OF THEM.  Let’s see if I can weave my way through this unnecessarily complicated mess of bizarre execution and choices of what should have been a simple story about how a guy becomes an intergalactic cop, but instead is the story of a guy at odds with a girl he loves (?), at odds with a guy who is the main competition for said girl (and neither of them know about it?), but also has issues with is father’s accidental death… forget it, I give up.

Hal Jordan (and his daddy issues)
Ryan Reynolds pulls off the roll, but he’s severely limited in his ability to use his Reynolds-ness by a script that just doesn’t give him any opportunities to do much of anything.  I guess he’s traumatized by his father’s death, which we got to witness in the most awkward of flashbacks in cinematic history, but although the movie constantly references it, they never really explain his feelings on it.  And for a movie called Green Lantern, uhm, he doesn’t fly around a lot and do Green Lantern stuff.  This was the sort of movie that needed that Superman montage of scenes where he flies around, stops jewel bandits, robbers on boats and gets cats out of trees – this wasn’t Iron Man, where we were enjoying the story and didn’t need Iron Man to blow stuff up every five minutes.  I also don’t get why the Green Lantern outfits needed to be all digital and moving… that really added something to the movie…  ugh.

Carol Ferris (and her daddy issues)
Blake Lively…  I wouldn’t say she can’t act – that’s not a fair thing to say.  Her character is written poorly and her dialogue is awful.  “You have the power to overcome fear.”  Seriously?  Who wrote that?  Who thought that was OK?  Any speech any character gives in this movie sucks.  And what exactly ended Carol and Hal’s relationship?  And how long ago could that have been?  Carol looks like she’s 22.  And her relationship with her dad is… weird.

Hector Hammond (and his daddy issues)
Peter Sarsgaard is, like Ryan Reynolds, totally underutilized and under developed.  And the character design is hilarious; this just isn’t the sort of character that translates to the screen.  Didn’t anyone tell the producers that film is a visual medium and this was never going to look good?  And the confrontation between Hector and Hal at the end of the movie sucks.  It takes about 5 seconds for Hal to outwit him.  And, for good measure, Hector kills his father in the second act of the film.

Senator Hammond (a dad)
So Tim Robbins plays Senator Hammond in this movie…  I guess he’s a US Senator?  I guess he’s on the Armed Services Committee?  I guess.  It’s Tim effing Robbins!  Couldn’t they have found something better for him to do?  It’s City of Ember all over again!


Mark Strong gave his usual attention commanding performance – he was one of the few big actors that was well cast, if under utilized.  They did recycle that shot of him from that speech he gave near the middle of the movie:  “Lanterns, we face an unprecedented danger… it seems that a giant calamari with the head of one of The Guardians is wandering the galaxy, devouring worlds!  It makes Galactus sound like…  I don’t know… the Nazis.  Let’s go with the Nazis.”  You know, the part where he raises his arms?  It’s in the trailer.  Anyway, they used that shot again at the end of the movie.  (Lazy!)  It would have been nice to see him in action at Hal’s side once before he goes bad (as the credits so unnecessarily teased with no explanation whatsoever), so they could have established a bond…  maybe they’ll squeeze it into the sequel.  Whatever.


Sinestro… with arms wide open. (Twice.)

Doctor Waller (and her unnecessary family issues)
Angela Bassett is in this movie – it’s not your fault if you didn’t notice – and we see her family get killed via weird flashback.  He inclusion seemed unnecessary; I felt like they were introducing her (like many other characters) so they wouldn’t have to do introductions in a future Green Lantern/DC Comics movie.  Historically, I like this character a lot, but we just didn’t get much here.  Her inclusion in the movie is a microcosm of the entire flick itself – underdeveloped and probably unnecessary.

The Guardians (who are daddies themselves, sort of)
So weird dudes with big heads run the Green Lantern Corps.  Obviously.  Their behavior was weird, their decision-making process… half ass.  Their decision to make Sinestro the fear ring seemed to be based on the idea that they couldn’t make a sequel without the yellow ring.

The Yellow Calamari Looking Thing (Parallax)
Again, didn’t anyone tell the producers that film is a visual medium and this was never going to look good?  I don’t know much about Green Lantern, but was Parallax necessary?  And like Hector, Hal didn’t have much trouble dispatching him, despite the immense ass kicking he gave to other Green Lanterns in just seconds.

Green Lantern is at a 26% from the critics and at 55% from the fans on Rotten Tomatoes, but I think reality lies in between – it’s not unwatchable, but I wouldn’t recommend that anyone run out and see it.  (By the way, I saw it in 2D rather than 3D – the movie didn’t look like it was worth the extra money, and I stand by that decision.)  If you want to see a movie about Green Lantern, I recommend you go rent Green Lantern:  First Flight…  from where ever you can rent movies from nowadays.

My Rating: 2 out of 5

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on July 6, 2011, in comic book reviews, movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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