Green Lantern is a fun superhero film with great effects and surprising talent.
The exposition in the overture of the film is clear and well establishing. The opening action moves very fast, but, of course it must. It was a challenge of writing and directing to figure out how to fit so much backstory into those first ten minutes, but I think they rose to it admirably.
In the interest of full disclosure, however, Green Lantern is my favorite superhero line, so it’s possible that the opening of the film only made sense to me because I’m already so familiar with Green Lantern.
The casting of the film was mostly excellent.
I can’t say Ryan Reynolds would have been my choice for the lead, as his skills aren’t particularly versatile. He basically plays the same character in every production, but his cocky demeanor actually suited the hero well.
Blake Lively was a passable Carol Ferris, but somewhere along the way, the romance between Hal and Carol got lost.
I think there simply wasn’t an apparent spark between the actors. Their relationship seemed more suited to siblings than lovers.
The real talent in this film is Mark Strong, who plays well the part of Sinestro, the strongest of the lantern, fated to one-day take on the whole corps.
The temptation and arrogance which one day become the character’s downfall are clear in Strong’s performance, but he pulls it off in such a way that we don’t want for him to fall, as here he is sympathetic and obviously a deeply effected person.
Peter Sarsgaard does an equally fine job in his role as Hector Hammond, though his story is taken very far off the track which is set for him in the comics, he still pulls off the motivations and torments of the character effectively, again creating a very relatable character, ensuring that there is no person who becomes the true villain here. The only pseudo villain is Parallax, the embodiment of fear, and anyone else who fights against the Lantern simply does so because they are gripped by fear.
The main issue with the film, as we already knew, is that it doesn't represent a part of the DC film universe, since there isn't one. Marvel has shown us that films do not have to insulate themselves like this. A greater mythology can be created which has a powerful draw all its own.
Alas, this Green Lantern exists in a world where there is no Superman, no Batman, no Wonder Woman. It's disheartened to think that with the upcoming Justice League film, all of the story established in this film will be wiped away and we’ll have to be introduced to another new Green Lantern.
Also to be expected, however, the ring effects and fight scenes are great. The many constructions Hal pull out of the ring to fight with are clear and beautiful as green glass, and the scenery on Oa is beautifully designed and well executed.
In all, it’s a fine, fun film, especially for anyone who already enjoys the Green Lantern story. As long as you don’t mind the way DC is flopping the canon around, you should check it out in the theater.