2011’s Green Lantern was lauded as a failure, and with good reason. Crappy casting, terrible dialogue, and major plot deviations left the audience with a bad taste in their mouths. The movie is so bad that it would take a miracle to even entertain the idea of a sequel.
Chief among Lantern’s faults is the casting of Ryan Reynolds. When the project was first commissioned, fan favorite Nathan Fillion was the world’s unofficial choice for Hal Jordan. Fillion, having proven himself in the trial of fire that was Firefly, had the acting chops to be at once bewildered (being chosen for an intergalactic police force is a bit overwhelming) and serious enough to get the job done. Fillion was a done deal in the eyes of the fans.
Instead, they got Ryan Reynolds.
Chosen for his popularity from comedic films, it is important to understand that Reynolds doesn’t (seem to) know how to turn his inner comedian off. Hal Jordan is not a comedian. In the comics, Jordan was selected for the Green Lantern Corps due to his ability to overcome great fear (witnessing his father’s death and still following his footsteps as a pilot). Reynolds’ Jordan, on the other hand, is a coward. He runs away from the Corps, runs away from his job as a Ferris Aircraft test pilot, and even runs away from his love interest, Carol Ferris, when things get complicated. Reynolds’ Hal Jordan is a child, whereas the film needed Hal Jordan the man.
The film’s villain is Hector Hammond, a scientist portrayed by Peter Sarsgaard. While Sarsgaard is a fine actor, there is little material for him to work with. Hammond is a typical stooge. His original inferiority complex (his selection to head the first alien autopsy comes from his father’s Senatorial connections rather than his scientific ability) ultimately develops into a murderous hatred for his father. Imbued with mastermind Parallax’s power of fear, Hammond now has the means to exact revenge upon all who belittled him. It’s sad to see Sarsgaard hampered by such stereotypical restraints.
There is no reason why Blake Lively should be in this film. The notion that Ryan Reynolds has a chance with this supermodel-type woman is laughable. Her Carol Ferris, like Sarsgaard before her, is shackled by stereotypes. Lively has little room to work with. In the end she serves nothing more than being the typical inspiration Jordan needs at the eleventh hour.
There are other issues. The computer graphics are uninspired. The Green Lantern constructs (born from Jordan’s imagination) are the same cookie-cutter arsenal a child might envision. Ultimately, it is the cast that makes Green Lantern the stumbling, bumbling failure that it is. Reynolds simply doesn’t have the chops needed for a serious leading man, and the rest of the cast does what they can with their limited roles. Nothing short of a miracle can revitalize the Green Lantern, and it doesn’t look like that’s coming anytime soon.
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