Serious movie buffs, snooty intellectuals, and film critics shouldn’t bother seeing this movie. On the other hand, if you’re into superheroes, comics, sci-fi, or B-movies, this is the movie for you.
The plot is a major revision of the Green Lantern origin story. Many events from the series are changed and reordered, for instance, Parallax is the main villain although he didn’t come in to the series much much later. Hector Hammond, instead of being the billionaire neurotic genius he first appeared in the comic as, is transformed here into a shut-in neurotic genius. For those of you who have bothered to read the Silver Age comics, don’t expect to see Hector in this film do the zany things he did in the early years, such as abduct Carol Ferris in a flying Frank Lloyd Wright style condo.
Nerdy quibbles aside, by changing the origin story for the movie, it saves us from seeing the same tired tale over and over again (as we’ve already seen it in the Green Lantern: Secret Origins storyline or the Green Lantern: First Flight animated movie or the JLA: New Frontier animated film). This new plot, penned in part by frequent comic writer Marc Guggenheim, feels fresh and yet familiar at the same time.
As far as performances go, Ryan Reynolds is surprisingly good in his role. When it was first announced months ago that he would play Hal Jordan, I was one of his earliest detractors, thinking his performance would be too similar to when he played Deadpool or the guy in Blade III. Ryan though has sort of a goofy charm that likens him to the young Christopher Reeves.
In fact, in many ways I was reminded of the original Superman film franchise when I watched Green Lantern. I think the director was going for that. This movie, for the most part, didn’t take itself too seriously, wasn’t too dark, and was never gritty. Instead, it was popcorn chomping fare that, at the very least, leaves the unpretentious viewer happy. Also, if you listen closely to the score, in several scenes of heroism the music borrows the three note-riff that runs through John Williams’ Superman score.
For a nerdier analysis, with spoilers, read more.
Moment for the fans: There’s a scene towards the end of the movie that I’m positive was thrown in to get fans talking, similar to the Phoenix shadow thrown in at the end of X-Men 2. Green Lantern, while fighting Parallax, confronts him in outer space near the sun. This is certainly put in to remind nerdlingers of Hal’s death in the 90s, when he was possessed by Parallax, driven crazy, and ended up sacrificing himself to save our sun.
The Green Lantern Corp appear: I’d have to watch this again to get a good idea who all appears, but from what I saw, there was Tomar-Re, Kilowog, and Bzzt, the fly who somehow wears a ring. Bzzt was killed off in the comic a while ago, but at least he lives on screen. Noticeably absent though was fan-fave Mogo, the sentient planet that’s a Green Lantern. Having him show up would probably be too much for the viewers who aren’t nerdlingers. R.I.P. Mogo.
Blake Lively as Carol: Blake Lively was most likely chosen for the role to be eye candy, but she doesn’t bring much else. Carol is more of a headstrong character (one of the most headstrong women in DC), who has a reputation for rebuffing Hal’s advances. In the old comics, if you recall, she constantly turned down Hal’s advances because she was not allowed to date co-workers. Here, Blake Lively comes off as more moody than determined. I couldn’t possibly picture Blake Lively turning into Star Sapphire.
Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond: As I mentioned earlier, out of all the characters, Hector Hammond is changed the most. That being said, Sarsgaard invests a lot in this role, moreso than any of the other actors. To emphasize his scrawniness (you’ll recall Hector now has a tiny body in the comics) he changes his entire posture, letting his gangly shoulders jut forward and his spine curve to accomodate his enormous head. It also looks like he lost weight for the role.
–I have written a book of fiction titled The Madness of Art: Short Stories, featuring eight original stories about the creative process and the insanity it gives rise to. It’s available on Amazon and through Barnes and Noble in paperback and ebook form.