Similar to Marvel's Thor, released a couple of months ago, DC's Green Lantern isn't exactly the easiest comic book property to adapt for the big screen. Having endured since 1940, the character is probably considered, in the shadow of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, to be the biggest alternative to DC's holy trinity. Having successfully rebooted James Bond back in 2006 with the excellent Casino Royale, it was Martin Campbell's task to bring the star trekking superhero to life for mainstream audiences. The results were unfortunately mixed at best.
The film tells the story of Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a cocky fighter pilot who is chosen to represent Earth in a galactic police force known as the Green Lantern Corps. Through a chain of events he must confront the evil Parallax, a personification of fear in the galaxy, while convincing his Lantern peers he's worthy of the prestigious title bestow upon him and attempt to win the heart of lifelong sweetheart, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively).
All I could gather from Green Lantern was that the film seemed to be Warner Bros' attempt at replicating the successful, light-hearted, formula produced by Marvel when they first made Iron Man - action packed and riddled with ironic humour. Quite rightly they shouldn't go making another Dark Knight, as the character wouldn't descend into those realms of gritty darkness implored by the world of Christopher Nolan's Batman. However the balance and pacing of the whole film was completely off at times.
I applaud Campbell for attempting to bring in the grander sci-fi elements to life on the big screen, from the deep, spiralling mythos, the vast array of extraterrestrials in the Corp and Lantern's homeworld of Oa. However whether it was lack of vision, scale, ambition or perhaps simply budget, the production team never dared to go all the way and reveal the vastness of the universe to the audience. Each time we got a glimpse of Jordan experiencing something new and alien, the story was swept back to the dullness of Earth, in a blink of an eye, to the sluggish love story between Hal and Carol.
The incoherent plot and ham fisted dialogue aside, I felt Ryan Reynolds nailed the role as best he could. As Jordan, he was charming, cocky, humorous and occasionally showed a vulnerable, more human side Reynolds rarely unleashes in anything he has appeared in to date. Blake Lively was as elegant and classy as ever as his love interest, but perhaps too much was devoted to her character and their love story at the expense of more fanboy friendly fodder.
Fanboy fodder such as the excellent, and grossly underused, turns of Geoffrey Rush and Michael Duncan Clarke voicing Green Lanterns, Tomar-Re and Kilowog respectively. Likewise Mark Strong's Sinestro wasn't given enough screentime with Reynolds to spark any kind of emotional connection to set up the duo's deadly rivalry in the likely sequels to come. Peter Sargaard's villainous Hector Hammond was like most 'first movie evil-doers' - a means to an end, a catalyst to the more dangerous rouges to come down the line.
The special effects were spectacular for the most part, and I can even appreciate the logic of having Jordan's suit entirely constructed from CGI - apart from his mask, that just looked daft. However for a summer blockbuster it just never let itself bask in the chaos and global terror the action had so much promised in the trailers.
In fairness, the 3D aspect implored probably had more relevance in Green Lantern than I have seen in the likes of Thor and Pirates of the Caribbean 4 in the months previously, but yet again it's done little to convince me the film would've been any worse had I caught it in 2D. Interestingly I thought James Newton Howard's score seemed to have more than a few nods and winks towards John Williams' jaw dropping, iconic, Superman score for inspiration but rarely hit the emotional heights of said score.
Green Lantern was a brave concept to adapt for the big screen, which fails to hit the mark. Though none of the cast disgraced themselves with their performances, they ultimately suffered on account of the horrendously paced and unbalanced script, which never knew if it wanted to be an action packed, intergalactic sci-fi or a coming of age love story. I know when watching a Green Lantern film which I would rather have...
Green Lantern is in cinemas everywhere from Friday.