Green Lantern (2011) Review

First things first: This movie isn’t nearly as horrible as the reviews have made it sound. It’s not very good, but we’ll get into that.

I like the character of Green Lantern. It’s a pretty cool concept: A corps of space cops protect the universe, using magic rings that can turn anything they imagine into reality. Hal Jordan is the first human to become a Lantern, and he has adventures, yada yada yada. I like it. More interesting than Superman, at least.


So we have a cool concept, a likable star (Ryan Reynolds… swoon), and this movie just… doesn’t work. It’s frustrating because you can see how close it was to being a decent movie. But the mis-steps are so obvious that you just can’t overlook them.

They started by making Hal Jordan a douche. And not just kind of a douche… he’s a huge, Jersey Shore meets Carlos Mencia type of douche. And, although this seemed impossible at first, it actually makes Ryan Reynolds… unlikable.

Ryan Reynolds
Which is crazy because… just look at him. SO DREAMY

Green Lanterns are supposedly chosen because they’re fearless. “Not so with Hal Jordan!” exclaims the movie. “He’s chosen because he can overcome fear. That’s the greatest willpower of all!” No it’s not movie. Anyone can overcome fear. It happens all the time. When our backs are to the wall, people can do just about anything. A mother will punch out a lion if her baby is in danger (even if the lion has nothing to do with the danger).

Mufasa's death
“Take that, you filthy lion!” -Somebody’s mom

Hal Jordon isn’t even very good at overcoming fear. Hell, he spends the majority of the film absolutely paralyzed in fear. He quits his Green Lantern training after less than 5 minutes due to fear. Dude, you’ve been given a magical ring that can create anything you think of… You don’t really have much to fear.

Speaking of the ring… most depictions of the Green Lantern struggle to really use the ring right. The most common creation is a giant green fist. Way to use your imagination there, guys. The movie actually tries to be a little more creative, but still doesn’t really work. A racecar on an oversized toy race track? Lame. Still, I’ve played Scribblenauts before. I know how hard it is to be creative when you have infinite possibilities.

Scribblenauts edited
“That should do it”

So the hero sucks. How about the bad guys? Well… they kind of suck too. Parallax is a giant yellow cloud thing that looks like one of those cheap snake fireworks (the ones that look like burning poop) and Hector Hammond looks like… umm… a giant frog kind of? He’s weird looking. Neither of them really do anything interesting. Sure, Hector’s got that whole “My dad doesn’t love me and the hot chick I like only likes me as a friend” thing, but that’s so cliche that I didn’t even have to type that last phrase. As soon as I typed “My dad”, auto-correct filled in the rest for me.

“I see that you are a loner and not very attractive. Would you like to become a super-villain?”

And for some reason the movie decided to have Hector Hammond and Hal Jordan know each other. Not only know each other, but they’re actually kind of friends. There are only 3600 Green Lanterns for the WHOLE UNIVERSE. And we’re supposed to believe that one of them just happened to grow up with the scientist that gets infected with Parallax, the greatest enemy of the Green Lanterns? And they both had a crush on the same girl? Damn it movie… I can believe that a ring can create magic green objects just using your imagination. I can also believe that Blake Lively is both a fighter pilot and a brilliant business-woman. Hell, I’ll believe that a college biology teacher would get the chance to dissect the first documented alien, just because his dad’s a senator. But I sure as hell am not going to believe that Ryan Reynolds is a douche. Wait… I forgot where I was going with this. Ummm… This movie is bad?

Yeah, that’ll work.

It’s a damn shame too, because it feels so close. It could have been an alright movie. But they just mishandled all of the important parts. When Hal finally does come around to being a hero, he heads off to Oa to beg the Guardians for permission to fight Parallax. However, there was zero indication up to that point that he wasn’t allowed to fight. Hell, they let him keep the Goddamn magic ring, even after he quit the Corps! The same ring that they only made 3,600 of!

“Yeah, we didn’t really think this one through”

And don’t get me started on Hal’s “defeat” of Parallax:

*Spoiler, but not really because it’s so stupid that you might not care*

If the threat to the universe is too stupid to not fly into the Sun, he really wasn’t a threat to begin with. No seriously. That’s how he gets beat. He flies too close to the Sun.

*End Spoiler*

Final verdict: I wanted to like this movie. I really, truly did. And while I may have ranted for 800 words about the problems in the film, it isn’t a terrible movie. Hell, I actually enjoyed watching it. But there are so many obvious mistakes that they overshadow whatever good will the film might have earned up to that point. On a scale of 1 to awesome, I award this film a solid: “Not total shit, but kind of close”

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