A bad movie that could have been good if they had given it more affection.
These words come from the mouth of Hal Jordan in the 2011 film Green Lantern, who tries to convince the Guardians of the Universe to never use fear - the power supply of their enemy Parallax - as a weapon, because then there's no step back. He's right, both on a metafictional level and within the context of the film.
Green Lantern is one of DC Comics attempts to take a superhero not called Batman to the big screen and succeed. The problem is that, as Hal Jordan said, they were so afraid to fail in the end that their try was doomed to failure from the very beginning.
Martin Campbell (director of the fantastic Casino Royale) shows a complete lack of initiative both in essence and in development of this film. In the words of DC Entertainment, Green Lantern was going to be their first bet in an ambitious project that aimed to imitate the quality and popularity of Marvel's Avengers Project, a possible way to introduce a Cinematic Universe to please all audiences and then expand it with a possible Justice League movie. With that goal in mind, Green Lantern was intended to be a film with a similar tone to those of Marvel Studios, and in that respect they succeed, but fail completely to achieve their quality.
Green Lantern tells the story its hero's origin and, like many of its kind, may have problems in demonstrating originality. Before proceeding, I must say that, at least for me, the originality in the story is a detail to consider, but not a primary characteristic of a film, if the style is well developed and the result is equal to or better than the original(s). As an example we have other stories with this same objective like Batman Begins (which tells the classic story of the origin of a superhero, but does it better) or The Amazing Spider-Man (who despite his faults gives new personality to a story that we already saw 10 years ago).
As I said, the lack of originality can be forgiven in this case, but everything has a limit. We start the movie with disfigured Hal Jordan, whose playboy tendences and cynical personality turn him into some kind of amalgamation between the original Hal Tony Stark. Jordan demonstrates his ability to think outside the box by winning the game agaisnt two flying combat droids, which is a good way to foreshadow his final battle with the evil monster. Or not. Because he defeats them by making them fly to a height when machines stop working because of atmospheric issues (This is totally different from Iron Man!). The movie continues, Hal leaves his job for screwing a contract and that night Abin Sur, a Green Lantern wounded by Parallax, crashes his spaceship on Earth (in a scene that, although essentially different, is shot in a way which echoes the original Superman). Knowing that he will die, Abin Sur commands his ring to find the closest candidate to replace him as Green Lantern, that man turns out to be Hal, who, after activating his new toy, reaches a distant planet located in an unknown dimension, where the oldest beings in the universe watch over us all (This is totally different from Thor!). Hal, meanwhile, does not accept the responsibility which comes with his new power, until Parallax and his host appear on Earth causing trouble, a moment in which he decides to be a hero (I don't remember watching a similar concept in Spider-Man or Spider-Man 2, and neither should you) and ends destroying Parallax.
The performances are not bad at all. Ryan Reynolds does well his job as Hal Jordan, and, although the script makes his character be the same we've seen a thousand times but worse presented, he plays him in a solid way. Blake Lively, as usual, continues ruining movies with her presence and, personally, I was rooting for Hector when he goes to infect her. Hector! Don't let me forget him. From my point of view, an interesting villain with a good performance and a decent personality, unfortunately wasted and traded for a monster made of smoke and yellow light. Seriously... Who wrote this script? Monsters have the same problem that zombies do: they are not interesting per se, if you want a monster, at least mantain the minimally interesting villain in the script to work together or something.
There are also too many characters that appear to be worthless in the story: Carol's father or Hal's nerd-ish friend don't really contribute to the story's evolution and are almost forgotten once the 'Space Act' comes; a similar thing can be said for Hector's daddy or Amanda Waller, although these two can be excused as they contribute to one the villain's transformation (both physical and physcological) and appear to be leftovers from the already mentioned Cinematic Universe which now have no purpouse as it doesn't exist; we have two villains and none develops interestingly, and Sinestro, who in the minute n݆ appear to be turning bad, in n݇ he's good and in n݈ turns bad again (well played by Mark Strong, though)...
Before I finish, I wanna defend this movie a little bit since my review has been quite scathing. On the one hand, I see potential. The film's bad, yes. But it's not one of those movies that are bad because the idea or performances (at least from the elads minus Lively) are, but because of the script and direction. DC should discard this movie. They should use it to learn from their mistakes. They must take the elements that worked and discard all the madness I've desribed for the sequel. For example, I would hire Ryan Reynolds as Hal in a hypothetical Justice League film, the man does his part well.
A bad movie that could have been good if they had given it more affection. Still, more or less tolerable (though I hated it). If they make a sequel and I see that it gets better, it will be the first to buy my ticket.
I wish DC the best luck for their future projects Man of Steel, GL Sequel, Justice League and Batman Reboot. They'll need it (specially with the last three).
Movie rating: 5.4 out of 10.