On June 17th, 2011, I heard about Green Lantern being a total wash as an origin story, a comic book movie and a movie in general. The film was a huge bomb at the box office, only grossing $220 million worldwide (On a $200 million budget) and a 26% RT score. The film killed Ryan Reynolds' career for a good 5 years and the film series itself was scuttled after the abysmal performance of the film. Comic book geeks hate it, critics loathed it and people in general disregarded it. Is the film really that bad, or is it a diamond in the rough? Well, lets read on....
Billions of years ago, the Guardians of the Universe (No, not the galaxy) used the green essence of willpower to create the Green Lantern Corps, splitting the universe into 3600 sectors, with one protector per sector (Confusing so far?). Abin Sur is the Green Lantern of 2814, which has Earth in its realm, and who defeated Parallax, an ancient entity embodying the yellow light of fear, and cast him to the Lost Sector. Unfortunately, in the present day, survivors of a crash landing on Ryut are killed by Parallax, gaining strength from their fear and attacks his captor, Abin Sur, nearly killing him in the process.
Meanwhile, on Earth in the present day, Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a cocky test pilot for Ferris Aircraft, testing a new prototype and ultimately destroying it) who has feelings for the VP of Ferris Aircraft, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively). After almost dying, he is riding home when he sees a fiery crash, caused by Abin Sur.
Abin Sur told his ring to find a worthy successor. Jordan arrives, finding him, and is forced to take the ring and recite the oath which makes him the new Green Lantern, the first Earthling to do so. After saying the oath at his apartment, he is suddenly whisked away to the planet Oa, the HQ of the Guardians of the Universe. There, he meets Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush) who trains the new recruit with his power ring, Kilowag (Michael Clark Duncan) the drill sergeant of the Corps and Sinestro (Mark Strong) who is a mentor of Hal Jordan.
Despite his training, Sinestro doesn't believe he is fit being a Green Lantern, due to him believed to be unfit and fearful. Hal quits the Corps, returning to Earth,keeping the ring and the lantern. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) is an eccentric professor who is picked by his father, Sen. Robert Hammond (Tim Robbins) to lead a government-led autopsy, with co-operation with Dr. Waller (Angela Bassett), to perform the autopsy. Unfortunately, a piece of Parallax was left inside the corpse, which enters Dr. Hammond, and gifts him telekinesis and telepathy, but derives him of his sanity.
Learning that his father only chose him to be on the team was because of his father's influence, he decides to kill his father with his telepathy at a party. Jordan, however, saves Senator Hammond, along with other guests at the party, with Carol amongst the guests. Hammond does manage to kill his father, by burning him alive and Jordan then learning Parallax is coming to Earth.
Back on Oa, Sinestro learns that Parallax is an embodiment of fear, they decide to forge a ring made of the yellow essence of fear, hoping to defeat fear with fear itself. Jordan returns to Oa, hoping to convince the Guardians that using such a ring would turn the user evil. Being rejected, he returns to Earth, alone, and preparing to save Carol, defeat Parallax and save the planet.
Wow, this isn't the most easy to follow plot, nor is it the smoothest movie to watch. Performances were pretty decent, with Reynolds being a good choice as Hal Jordan. Bringing some Deadpool and some Van Wilder to the performance, he manages to believably fill the shoes (Or would that be ring?) of the Green Lantern. Blake Lively, a decent actress, is rather hit-or-miss here, looking nice and not doing to bad and having decent chemistry with her future husband in real life, is too young to believably be a VP and as a fighter pilot.
Sarsgaard is very strange and weird, making Hector Hammond a weird, childish, effete man with major daddy issues. His performance was just too weird to actually do anything effective as a villain or anything at all for that matter. Mark Strong is great as Sinestro (Made me with they actually filmed a sequel just to see him go toe-to-toe with Hal) believably being a mentor while being an effective leader and later, a villain. Duncan and Rush do good voice-over work as well, and the rest of the cast doing good work here.
Martin Campbell (Of Casino Royale and GoldenEye acclaim) directs this film and, unsurprisingly, isn't up to the task of effectively directing a comic book movie of this magnitude. Campbell is a great action director, giving us terrific action scenes in his 007 outings as well as some great swordplay in his Zorro films, this film however is a bit out of his grasp. While getting (mostly) effective performances here, the flow of the story is fairly obtuse, the action staging seemingly rushed and cheap looking despite the huge price tag,and is seemingly off his A-game. A huge disappointment.
The story is also the same way, with a credited 4(!) writers on hand (Credited to Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Green and Michael Goldenberg) and as such, falls victim to the same too-many-cooks-stirring-the-same-pot as other films tend to do. While it does have a beginning, middle and end, it isn't a memorable story, there isn't enough time spent in space (If this was 50% Oa, 50% Eaarth, it would've been better) training Hal, the dialogue is fairly clunky and cliched and the action being uninteresting despite having a huge deluge of comic book lore to go through. A Hot Wheels inspired action scene is cute, but very corporate, cheesy and duller than a toddler's wit.
The CGI, in some parts is good, but mainly settles for the cartoony, with the CGI models looking plastic-y, Parallax looking as non-threatening as Galactus in FF: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and the green energy suit being an outright joke, despite a good idea behind it. Even the mask is CG! The editing is decent, the production design fair, and the score being forgettable, this all adds up to a mediocre movie.
But, I still find it entirely watchable, with Reynolds being a good lead, and Mark Strong a great Sinestro, it entirely warrants a watch, if only to see how not to make an origin story. Still, this is way better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fant4stic and Batman & Forever, but thats not saying much.
Movin on to the BluRay, we start with the PQ/AQ. Can I say this image rivals The Dark Knight and thats not a good thing. The 2D image is very dark and murky, even in sunlight scenes and scenes where explosions or the bursts of green and yellow are the main color, it fails to give us that color punch a lot of us are expecting despite being the best shots of the disc(s). Luckily, the dark shadows does manage to cover up some of the seams of the CGI quite well. Despite it all, the image does look rather nice and detailed, giving us a sharp image with facial details and sets looking nice and preserving the film grain, but turn up the brightness just a few hairs to improve your enjoyment.
The 3D, on the other hand, is a disappointment to say the least. Despite a few shots lending a nice 3D image quality, the dark image quality tends to flatten most of the depth, and certain scenes that should pop out just manage to stick out just a tad. Not the worst, but certainly near the bottom of 3D bluray's.
The AQ is amazing, with action scenes, music, dialogue and effects all balanced nicely with a nice deep LFE track for your added enjoyment of the 5.1 DTS-HD audio track. Really, a terrific track.
Moving on to the extras, we start off with two cuts of the film: Theatrical (Running 114 minutes) and the extended cut (123 min.). While offering a few new scenes giving us a bit more to work with, the whole film still feels incomplete. (Note the Theatrical cut is only in 3D). Next up is WB's Maximum Movie Mode: Green Lantern's Light, running 161 minutes. While not as great as Kevin Smith or Zach Snyder MMM's, this does offer a nice package of interviews, Focus Point featurettes (Accessible separately in the special features running 47 minutes in total) trivia and more, all hosted by Geoff Johns, the CEO of DCE (And new head of the DCEU movies after Snyder kinda dropping the ball with BvS).
The Universe According to the Green Lantern (20 min.) is a nice look at the comics with DC writers, filmmakers and fans offer us some nice tidbits about our titular hero. Ryan Reynolds Becomes the Green Lantern (9 min.) is a look on how Reynolds became Hal Jordan, while wearing a MoCap suit and talks about his take on the character. 7 minutes of mediocre deleted scenes are up next, leaving little to be desired or memorable. Justice League #1 Digital Comic is a 9 minute comic of the first issue of the universally despised New 52 comics relaunch. Lastly, is a 7 minute preview of the Green Lantern Animated Series, with simplistic animation, looks very good and has some good voice acting as well.
Also included in the package is a DVD of the film (With the latter two extras included on the disc) a UV copy of the film (One of the first films to carry the Ultraviolet brand) and a code to unlock a special skin for Batman: Arkham City.
All in all, a very mediocre comic book origin movie, though a few good performances, is mainly a watch just to see what all the hubbub was about years ago. The PQ is mediocre, with weak 3D carried by an amazing soundtrack and a generous portion of extras, its safe to say stick with the 2D version unless you want to experience the "3D" yourself, and only then don't spend more than $15 or so on the disc.
On a side note, WB totally missed out on giving the BluRay case itself an Emerald Green case which would've been cool, although the first-run DVD cases had a green case.