In a mysterious universe a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. A brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers. But when a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan.
Director Martin Campbell, who is well known for his reboot on the James Band franchise via ‘Casino Royale’, brings us his vision on Green Lantern with his latest film. ‘Green Lantern’, a significant film for Warner Bros. and DC as it represents their first classic superhero centric modern feature film push beyond their historical film based characters of Batman and Superman. The success of ‘Green Lantern’ will likely be closely monitored to gauge the potential of other DC based properties such as ‘The Flash’ being adapted to film.
‘Green Lantern’ features a good cast, Ryan Reynolds as always is quite natural on screen and brings with him a charisma that is difficult not to be attracted to. Peter Sarsgaard also delivers a good performance however the amount of material he has to work with is unfortunately quite limited. Mark Stong brings us an excellent Sinestro in this film, unfortunately similar to Peter Sargaard his material somewhat under-utilises him though I would certainly be keen to see more of Mark Strong as Sinestro in a potential sequel. Blake Lively was a questionable choice for Carol Ferris, however she has turned out reasonably well but again does not have much material to work with throughout the film.
Overall the script for ‘Green Lantern’ is simply far too abridged, this is a 105 minute film which is in desperate need of an additional 20 – 30 minutes of material to really flesh out the characters and the story being told. The characters of the green lantern corps such as Sinestro, Kilowog, Tomar-Re are all brought to life on screen, but are never given the opportunity to shine or establish a decent presence or relationship with Hal Jordan due to such a limited time on screen. The introduction of the planet OA, and the training that Hal undergoes is intriguing and entertaining but again, is just too brief.
The character of Sinestro is of critical importance in the Green Lantern mythology, and for those of us who know the source material it will be quite obvious from this film as to where the filmmakers are intending to take the franchise in possible future instalments. However the lack of time spent developing the relationship between Hal and Sinestro will undermine the emotional strength of those future tales should they have the opportunity of being told. Furthermore the relationship that Hal holds with Hector Hammond, is merely nodded to in perhaps one or two scenes within this film, and really doesn’t effectively articulate the shared backgrounds of Hal, Hector and Carol.
Generally speaking the shortfall of the story behind this film is that it is cramming too much material into far too short a period of time, a film which could have been spent on an origin tale, developing various characters and their relationships is also addressing a very significant villain in the form of the entity Parallax, which has needed to be vastly reduced in scope in order to fit within the context of this film.
Fans of the Green Lantern book ‘Secret Origin’ should however recognise many of the story concepts and ideas from that book being brought into this film which is nice to see.
The visual effects of ‘Green Lantern’ are generally strong, and are effective at immersing the audience in the intergalactic settings of the film, as well as the entertaining action sequences which are delivered throughout. The visuals provided for the planet Oa produce a fascinating setting and the mixture of live action with CGI complement the nature of the Green Lantern story in an entertaining way.
Overall as both a film and a Green Lantern fan, I have some mixed feelings about this adaptation. As discussed above it has its shortcomings however there is certainly enjoyment to be found within this film. The action sequences and the use of the power ring’s abilities are very entertaining, there is a definite nod towards some of the classic moves portrayed in the books. Reynolds and Strong are great fun and it’d be worthwhile seeing more of them as these characters in further instalments. I felt that the intergalactic side of this film is far too short, but it is definitely enjoyable and overall you get the sense that they really wanted to deliver something grounded in the spirit of the source material despite the tweaks made in the translation to film.
If the franchise continues in its current form, I think there is a great deal of potential to be found here which hopefully can be tapped into further in a sequel. In the meantime however this film is enjoyable but overall a slightly disappointing start to the franchise.
I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars, ‘Green Lantern’ is released in cinemas around Australia from Thursday 11 August 2011.