Hal Jordan/Green Lantern is played by puppy-eyes, sadface Ryan Reynolds. Peter Saarsgard’s acting talents as Hector Hammond are misused and overshadowed by shallow character development. Blake Lively plays Carol Ferris, the love interest whose only role is to stand in front of the camera and make Peter Sarsgaard’s character jealous that Hal Jordan gets the girl for being a good looking guy.
The storyline is also something to be left desired. The Green Lantern mythology is certainly not a plot that cannot be done. The childhood story theme of good conquering evil, courage defeating fear, can be understood by all viewers. It’s classical and universal, but the way the film attempts to exhibit these themes are horrendous. Hal Jordan is suppose to be an irresponsible, shallow, and somewhat of a playboy that still expresses some sort of guilt for being the way he is. Somehow the viewer is suppose to sympathize with this character for his screw-ups and tragic past, but it comes off as a checklist of problems for Hal Jordan to overcome than actually fitting consistently within the film.
Peter Sarsgaard’s character, Hector Hammond, is less of an antagonist and more of an annoying side character. Hector’s motives for killing people is because he can’t tell the world a secret, and because he can’t get Hal Jordan’s girlfriend. His father is somewhat disappointed in him but at least is encouraging and exhibit some fatherly qualities. Parallax is suppose to be the larger-than-life antagonist that consume whole worlds similar to Unicron (played by the Orson Welles of all people) in Transformers the Movie, but he comes off more like the giant cloud from Fantastic Four—emotionless, uninteresting, lacking, and well, not monumental.
The film is a string of awkward dialogue behind okay CGI and mediocre action scenes. Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris showcase weak chemistry and poor mismatch interruptions. At certain instances the two are arguing about responsibilities at work, ther past relationship together, and Hal’s newfound responsibilities as a super hero. The next instance they kiss and make up without any realistic shift of emotions. They just happen. The relationship between Hal, Carol, and Hector are also near non-existent, as they are only strung together by brief, awkward mentions in conversations. Characters make dumbfound faces whenever the past between the love triangle are even mention.
The CGI is conflicting. If the computer graphics were meant to look cartoony, then they certainly did that. If it was meant to look realistic, then they failed to meet today’s expectations. At times the computer generated characters seem lifelike with visible skin textures and great reflective lighting. At other times, such as Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern suit, the special effects just look awful. Hal’s body, once transformed into the Green Lantern, looks disproportionate and poorly anatomotize.
It’s all about execution, but execution is dependent on talent, time, and budget. They clearly have the talent. The cinematography was certainly not horrible. The concepts within the script is certainly there, if only more tightly handled. And the unbalanced CGI is filled with potential. It seems like the Green Lantern franchise was sacrificed just to have a DC summer flick out of a sea of Marvel franchises, like Thor and Captain America. In the latter half of the film, Hal Jordan flies off earth during a battle with Hector to make a pathetic excuse of an inspiring speech to the Green Lantern Corps and quickly flies back to continue the fight. Other characters randomly appear without context. The pacing is at times too slow to keep the viewer interested and at times too fast to build enough tension to care.
I don’t want to sound like I’m personally attacking the film. In a lot of ways, I sympathize with it. I dreamt of a Green Lantern film for a while. I wanted an epic film with core, meaningful themes of good conquering evil. Instead, I get a popcorn summer flick that made me cringe throughout the film. I suppose it is unfortunate that Green Lantern is not a large enough brand name as Batman, Superman, and Spiderman to get a better budget. I don’t really know if Green Lantern should have a sequel, but then again Fantastic Four had one regardless.