Warner/DC's Green Lantern wants to blow your mind, starting June 17, one day after its premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Even the more generous reviews below suggest that we shouldn't expect a mind-blowing quality film. (We see it Wednesday.) Best case scenario: the comics fanbase will jump into the bizarre universe they know so well. Worst case is topliner Ryan Reynolds, co-stars Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong and Angela Bassett and director Martin Campbell will wish they hadn't gone green, and the movie's prohibitive estimated $300-million cost won't yield big enough returns. Tentpoles, after all, are supposed to deliver profits to support the studio.
Todd McCarthy, THR:
"Dramatically tart in certain scenes but more often just spinning its wheels doing variations on similar moments from previous episodes in the lives of likewise endowed relatives in the DC and Marvel universes, Warner Bros.' attempt to launch a major new fantasy action hero franchise serves up all the requisite elements with enough self-deprecating humor to suggest it doesn't take itself too seriously. But familiarity may begin to breed creeping signs of contempt, if not in immediate negative box office results then in a general fatigue with such enterprises that's bound to set in sooner or later."
Justin Chang, Variety:
"An attempt to infuse an earnest piece of comicbook lore with an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek sensibility yields decidedly mixed results,..Martin Campbell's visually lavish sci-fi adventure is a highly unstable alloy of the serious, the goofy and the downright derivative. Sans Batman/Superman-level name recognition, this risky DC Comics franchise launcher will rep a real test of Warners' marketing muscle, though it functions well enough as eye-popping spectacle to appeal to summer moviegoers beyond its core constituency of salivating fanboys."
Karina Longworth, Village Voice:
"This is pure cinematic magic, but the motives of the menace are muddled if not completely opaque. And while Reynolds isn’t a sharp enough actor to really find the crackle in his standard-issue superhero wisecracks, his body is a marvel of precision sculpting. As he breathes in and out in the skin-tight, digitally enhanced Lantern suit, each abdominal muscle seems to pulse independently. It's transfixing––and the closest Green Lantern gets to character detail."
Drew McWeeny, HitFix:
"I think the movie is pretty much inert, artificial and dead on arrival…I don't think [it] is the first building block of a world I want to spend more time in,..I don't have any faith in this as a franchise, much less step one in the DC Universe,..this is not the role for Reynolds, and it's not his fault. The marketing is more successful than the movie, and made promises the movie just can't fulfill. Martin Campbell is as wrong for this film as he was right for Casino Royale. In general, I was deflated and depressed by the film I saw."
Neil Smith, TotalFilm:
"The result is a film that’s all set-up and no pay-off: an origin story for a hero we don’t much care for with an elaborate lore we have zero interest in, toplined by a star who’s little more than a torso and a smirk…In a summer stuffed with superheroes, this underwhelming offering will likely leave you jaded. How it could have used some of Thor’s charm and The Green Hornet’s chutzpah."
Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York:
"Enter square-jawed daredevil Hal Jordan (Reynolds), he of the Ken doll physique and perfunctorily addressed daddy issues. The guy needs a calling, dammit! And boy, does he get one after being summoned to the side of a fallen Lantern, who gifts him his laser-light-show ring and cosmos-protecting powers. Time to kick it into high gear, right? Uh, sure, just after we attend to Hal’s nonstarter romance with plastic girl Carol Ferris (Lively, who isn’t). Oh, and there’s this other supervillain we gotta deal with—Hector Hammond (Sarsgaard, made up with a hilarious John Carpenter–esque bald pate). And hey, you ever wonder what happened to Angela Bassett? Oh, brother…whenever this Lantern returns to terra firma (too often), its imaginative flights are ground down under the Warners overlords’ demographic-pandering heels."