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Green Lantern Reviews: "Inert, Underwhelming," Reynolds "Little More than a Torso and a Smirk"

by Sophia Savage
June 15, 2011 5:44 AM
5 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood


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."
Thompson on Hollywood


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."
Thompson on Hollywood

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."
Thompson on Hollywood


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."

5 Comments

  • civicspoon | June 23, 2011 12:19 PMReply

    firstly i'm not a green lantern fan, as here in Asia we are seldom expose to DC and Marvel comics.but i've know them as I was in states when i was 7 yrs old. those times every saturdays i've watched smurfs,transformers,GI Joe, many more. Superman,batman,spiderman,x-men, these are comic heroes i known before. green lantern?if not mistaken i thought in the comics Hal Jordon was black?
    back to the movie i must say the cast is ok. ryan with his nice abs and blake is nice to watch. but the script was terrible. it seems that the script was written last minute or the guy was on drug. get this info, hal was amaze how he gets all the info about green lantern corp after his induction. but then he starts to ask questions bout the planet...etc. what happend to the briefing?i think this is my first time encounter such movie with bad dialogue. i think with more attention in detail im sure green lantern could be the best DC movie. it's quiet a different story as we used to superman and spiderman. i must say ryan and blake and the CGI saved the movie.

  • The Pontificator | June 20, 2011 11:09 AMReply

    There is a fine line between a good movie and a great one – and this film flirted with that line but didn’t quite cross it. It couldn't decide if it wanted to be story driven or a summer blockbuster. And while trying to be a blend of both, became neither and left me feeling like there should have been more. It was a good time that had all the potential to be a great time...

    See my full review...http://theboxedoffice.blogspot.com/

  • Darren Mooney | June 16, 2011 10:01 AMReply

    Yep, not a great film at all. I didn't think it was bad, so much as just very bland and workman like.

    If you'll forgive a link to my thoughts:
    http://m0vie.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/non-review-review-green-lantern/

  • Brian | June 15, 2011 9:46 AMReply

    You left out the more scathing parts of Karina Longworth's Village Voice review:

    "I could easily fill pages running down the plot obstacles that Lantern director Martin Campbell soullessly cycles through; identifying all the characters introduced by the film's four screenwriters, only to be easily disposed of; and "explaining" the complete hodgepodge of psychological cause-and-effects, from the pervasive daddy issues and complete absence of mothers, to the arbitrary, less-than-convincing confidence issues that Hal is able to surmount as soon as it becomes clear that Carol really wants to kiss him. But the movie never bothers to suggest that any of that really matters: Campbell’s ADD style privileges spectacle over story—so much so that the film never rewards the viewer for even trying to keep track of what is going on.

    So you give up, and instead try to grab on to the small pleasures, which momentarily distract from the fact that the narrative is nonsensical, the characters so boilerplate that their every action seem preordained from the earliest frames, even as the action on-screen is often incoherent."

  • Sergio | June 15, 2011 9:03 AMReply

    Why am I not suprprised? If the Warners was happy with the film they would have screened it to the emdia weeks ago instead of two days before it opens. Obviously they know what they have and they want to keep the media from seeing it except to those who they thought would like it. (i.e. fanboy geek virgins) But they don't like it either so they're really screwed.

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