Just when you thought Hollywood was done investing in Ryan Reynold’s cocky routine or comic book movies in general, DC has finally decided to stop hiding behind their two biggest drawcards (Batman and Superman) by casting Reynolds as The Green Lantern.
With their rival Marvel enjoying a string of success with on-going comic adaptations, it was inevitable that DC would eventually join the race and try to cash in. But unfortunately this is a case of too little, too late and they have basically just repeated a formula that’s now over ten years old instead of bringing anything original to the table – except a shitload of unnecessary special effects.
In my opinion, the key to creating a good on-screen superhero is by either making them a gifted individual with deep-seeded emotional issues (e.g. Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark) or make them as relatable as possible through personal conflicts or experiences (e.g. Peter Parker).
However, Hal Jordan (Reynolds) is just an arrogant fighter pilot moulded in the image of Maverick (with the same daddy issues), who demonstrates in just the first 20 minutes that he’s careless with the lives of others, reckless with expensive government property and freaks out to the point of almost killing himself.
Luckily for him, that whole episode is overlooked when he is selected above all species in our universe because he’s apparently “fearless”. What’s worse is that after being chosen, he spends five-sixths of the film trying to walk away from this new responsibility – a quality that’s not really heroic in any way.
So Hal now controls all the power of a Green Lantern, which in addition to flying, allows him to create anything his mind can imagine. This is all explained by his mentors, who as a group make up The Green Lantern Corps – an intergalactic police force made up of the most worthy candidates from every sector of the galaxy.
What’s confusing about the The Green Lantern Corps is that they’re supposed to be the most fearless beings from their respective planets and yet not one of them is willing to help their newest recruit save his planet. Even as a 3,000-strong army they’re too scared to go up against a single enemy.
As far as casting goes, Reynolds’ immature wise-cracks are not suited to a hero who’s supposed to be driven by responsibility and justice. His arrogance is often perceived as ignorance, which most nerds will hate as it’s a characteristic often associate with the jocks that picked on them in high school.
Blake Lively brought nothing to the role of Hal’s love interest Carol Ferris. While talented actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman actually gave their comic personas some human quality, Lively fails to offer much substance to anything except her tight clothing.
I’m not sure how they signed either Peter Sarsgaard or Tim Robbins for this movie. As the promoted villain in the film’s trailer and marketing material, Sarsgaard is fairly insignificant to the development of plot or that of the hero – and the main villain is just an octopus-looking black cloud that was hard enough to understand let alone fear.
And while it was good to see him making the leap into big-budget Hollywood films, it’s a shame that The Green Lantern couldn’t have been a better introduction for New Zealand actor Taika Waititi, who was a standout in last year’s Boy.
The main problem with The Green Lantern, much like Superman, is that he is just not vulnerable enough to find a worthy adversary. Superman’s only weakness is an element that isn’t even found on our planet, and one which he can apparently overcome if he needs to anyway (see Superman Returns) and The Green Lantern can create ANYTHING he can imagine, like… say, a stronger replica of his enemy.
DC has set The Green Lantern up to be another franchise but hopefully they take another leaf from Marvel’s book and instead just start again from scratch in a few more years (e.g. The Hulk and the upcoming Spider-man).