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- Blu-ray: Green Lantern
- Rating: PG-13
- Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard
- Written By: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg
- Directed By: Martin Campbell
- Distributor: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
- Original Year of Release: 2011
- Extras: See Below
- Series: Green Lantern, The, Green Lantern
Green Lantern Blu-ray Review
It’s not easy being Green Lantern
By Tim Janson
October 13, 2011
I suppose it was inevitable…in what became the Summer of the Superhero film, one entry had to be the whipping boy and unfortunately for DC Comics, the whipping boy was Green Lantern. Deserved? No, not entirely. Director Martin Campbell’s biggest mistake was reaching too far and being too ambitious by trying to introduce so many elements of the Green Lantern mythology into a two-hour film. Credit him for making the attempt.
Ryan Reynolds was a curious choice for Hal Jordan/Green Lantern. While Reynolds is mostly known for lightweight romantic comedy roles someone apparently thought that if it worked for Michael Keaton in Batman it might work for Reynolds as Green Lantern. Ehhh….not so much. I like Ryan Reynolds but his smarmy goofiness didn’t translate well into Hal Joran, DC’s resident stick in the mud conservative superhero whose greatest attribute is his fearlessness, a trait in which Reynolds’ version of the character is solely lacking.
You know the story…Test Pilot Hal Jordan is chosen by the dying Abin Sur, or more specifically by his ring, to become the new Green Lantern of Sector 2814. Hal takes the ring and is soon off to Oa, homeworld of the Guardians of the Universe where he is inducted into the ranks of the Green Lantern Corps and trained by Kilowog (voice of Michael Clarke Duncan). As the first human to become a Green Lantern, Hal is met with skepticism from other Lanterns, particularly Sinestro (voice of Mark Strong). This only adds to Hal’s incredible self-doubt about himself. The guy goes through such self-loathing and pitying you’re praying that Guy Gardner shows up to kick his ass and take the ring from him! No fear? Hal Jordan is the guy that leveled a city and became the next Spectre for God’s sake. Reynolds is a milquetoast who would rather toss the ring away and forget the whole thing.
Perhaps laying the blame at Reynolds’ feet isn’t fair. He didn’t write the script after all, so there’s equal blame to go around. It isn’t until Hal gets a good swift kick in the backside from the loopy character of Hector Hammand (Peter Sarsgaard) that he pulls himself out of his funk to save the love of his life, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively). Hammond’s character is based on the Green Lantern Secret Origin and Rebirth storylines rather than the original Silver Age version. Scientist Hammond is infected by Parallax while performing an autopsy on the body of Abin Sur resulting in his growing a really large cranium and having extraordinary telepathic and telekinetic abilities but it also makes him a puppet of the film’s main villain, Parallax who looks like a giant cloud of tentacles with a face. The embodiment of pure fear, Parallax escapes the prison where Abin Sur placed him in and is intent on wiping out the entire Green Lantern Corps.
This is where Martin Campbell stumbled badly. Granted most non-comic fans will have no clue who Parallax is or who most of Green Lantern’s villains are. He’s just not as widely known of a character as say Superman, Batman, or Spiderman. But using Parallax as the main villain would be akin to having Doomsday as Superman’s main villain in his first film. Campbell tried to hit a grand slam with no runners on base. Think smaller Martin! But as I said, give Campbell credit for one thing, he didn’t shy away from the vast GL Corps mythology…he gave us everything…the Guardians, Oa, Abin Sur, Sinestro, Killowog, Tomar-Re (voiced By Geoffrey Rush), as well as several other recognizable Lanterns in non-speaking roles. And he does a very good job of this. He could have easily just ignored much of this and non-essential to the film. But of course it all came at a price of a lot of the plot, which ended up feeling rushed in the last half-hour.
For as much as I disliked Reynolds as Hal Jordan I’m fully inclined to give him another chance with a better script. As it is, Green Lantern wasn’t as bad as a lot of the theatrical films would have you believe. It’s loud and moderately fun when it isn’t stupid and poorly written.
Maximum Movie Mode – Watch the film within a film with pop-up commentary and featurettes as well as six focus points that can be viewed during the film or separately. The focus points run for a total of 47 minutes and cover things like The Art of Green Lantern, the UCAV Dogfight, Ring Slinging 101, 10 pounds of Silicone which looks at the films makeup and makeup effects, and more.
The Universe According to Green Lantern (20:12) This featurette looks at the history of the character and has interviews with comic creators like Dan DiDio, Denny O’Neil, Peter Tomasi, Geoff Johns, and Dan Jurgens
Ryan Reynolds Becomes Green Lantern (8:48) Looks at the physical training and stunt work that Reynolds did while preparing for the role.
Deleted Scenes (7:16) – Nothing of great note in these handful of scenes. The best was Sinestro and Hal talking after Parallax and defeated and killed several Lanterns in an attack led by Sinestro. This showed Sinestro as being more contrite and less of a jerk to Hal
Justice league #1 Digital Comic
Preview of the Green Lantern Animated Series (6:32)