As far as stupid superhero movies go, Green Lantern was mostly watchable. I wasn’t dying to get out of the theater five minutes in, which was a nice change of pace from most of the other summer blockbusters released so far (with the exception of Super 8). I’m sure my expectations played a role in my enjoyment of the film. I expected it to be god awful, and it was just semi awful.
Obviously the acting wasn’t anything special. Ryan Reynolds is a likeable guy, Blake Lively is gorgeous, and Tim Robbins is that guy from The Shawshank Redemption. My favorite character had to be Peter Sarsgaard as the secondary villain, Hector Hammond. My reason for this was that he was the only character that I hadn’t seen a million times in other superhero movies. There’s the cocky lead that gets responsibility suddenly thrust onto him, there’s the generic love interest, there’s the nerdy comic relief friend, etc. Sarsgaard actually thought outside the box with his character, and gave him some interesting depth that was unique in a movie like this. In fact, I’m kind of surprised the studio executives let him get away with playing the villain as a whiny, darkly amusing nerdlinger. However he got away with it, good for him.
The main villain came in the form of Parallaxagam (or something like that, I’m not bothering to double check imdb for this review), a giant cloud of evil fear gas. This villain was much scarier when it appeared 20 years ago in Fern Gully. The only time Parallaxative was actually menacing was when it swarmed New York at the end of the movie, since the audience had something to compare it to, size wise. This was actually a pretty intimidating visual. For the rest of the movie, it just hung about in space, looking as ominous as a Rastafarian wig that someone dropped in a fish tank. And for the love of God, if you’re going to make your villain a giant cloud of gas, don’t give him a tiny human head in the center. That just looks stupid. Seeing as how he never said anything important anyway, I’d have suggested just scrapping the head and all of its useless dialogue entirely.
I’d like to take a look at the comics the movie was based off of and see if there would have been a way to make the aliens look less cartoony. There was uproarious laughter in my theater every time the “elder” aliens were shown, and stifled laughter every time Mark Strong appeared. If they wanted the effects to look that ridiculous, the filmmakers should have made the movie itself a bit more light and fun, rather than taking itself so darn seriously.
All in all, if you’re expecting Green Lantern to be terrible, you’re mostly right, but maybe not completely. And if you’re expecting Green Lantern to be a masterpiece, nothing I can say is going to dissuade you from seeing it. Everybody wins.