What’s the Story?
Hal Jordan is a fighter pilot. Wait, no, he’s like a test pilot working for the company that is going to make piloted fighters obsolete. Anyway, he’s apparently never completed anything in his life or is a loser or something.
Anyway, a purple alien lands on earth to hand over a green ring that grants its wearer the power to make whatever he imagines come real by the power of will. He is to use this power to protect earth from a planet-sized yellow creature who is powered by fear.
What’s the Problem?
Did you not read that plot description? That’s the least-ridiculous I can make it sound. It gets far sillier when you actually see the film.
Let’s also take as read that the script is a pile of shite.
Stop Being CGI
Gollum has a reason for being CGI. So does Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It’s because they couldn’t possibly make those things. Why oh why do we need to CGI Ryan Reynolds’s costume? They have green spandex, you know. And taking the colour out of his eyes just makes him look creepy.
It’s not even like you need to CGI on his abs (I am reliably informed by a nearby pervert) because apparently he has a full set already.
And that mask doesn’t disguise your face to anyone. Don’t even bother.
The Whole Concept
Some immortal blue beings found a way to turn will into a power. For some reason everyone who gets a Will Ring is a good guy. But bad guys have will too, don’t they – the will to smash your house and take your stuff. Why shouldn’t they be able to use those rings? Why the convenient distinction?
Everyone is a Moron
There’s a twist about halfway through where they reveal that the big bad guy who eats planets (Parallax) is actually one of the immortals who worked out how to turn Will into the ability to create anything you see.
Well, duh. I mean, he looks exactly like them, and there’s that one empty seat at the council of immortals. If that was supposed to be a surprise, you failed.
Also, what the hell were you thinking putting a creature that feeds on fear in a prison so flimsy that if anyone happens to fall into said cavern and see it, their fear will be enough to free it?
And why does the leader of the Green Lantern Intergalactic Space Cops Force think it’s a good idea to fight fear with fear and create a Yellow Fear ring to fight Parallax. Parallax was created when he tried to control the yellow force. IT DIDN’T WORK. HE TURNED EVIL. If you create a yellow ring, you will also certainly turn evil. Moron.
Toward the end of the film, Reynolds flies all the way to the Green Lantern planet to ask the blue immortals to help him defeat Parallax. They give him some brush-off bullshit answer about how they need to think long-term (personally, I think stopping the enemy before he eats so many planets that he becomes all powerful is good long-term strategy, but that’s me…) and therefore won’t interfere.
Reynolds then asks for permission to go back to earth and fight Parallax alone.
What? Of course you can! That’s your frakking job! You don’t need to fly to another galaxy to ask if you can protect your own planet. That’s what you were supposed to do. Go and ask permission if you need help. If you don’t need or want help, don’t waste the trip.
Paralysed Bad Guys are Lame
The human bad guy (who practices appalling OH&S) is Reynolds’s childhood friend. They’ve both wanted the same girl. Reynolds got with her one night. Human Bad Guy (HBG) didn’t. Possibly because he was competing with Ryan Reynolds, and is therefore likely to not win; possibly because he’s not the Hero of this story; and possibly because he is creepy as fuck.
Balding, about 15 years older than Reynolds, leery, worrying. Not the sort you’d want to leave unsupervised children around.
Anyway, this affront to humanity develops telekinesis and chucks stuff at Reynolds during a fight scene. At the end of the fight he collapses beside Reynolds. Apparently something Reynolds did in the mess of battle all but paralysed him.
So for the final showdown, he arrives in a wheelchair. That’s not exactly the thrilling battle we were hoping for, filmmakers…
And He’s a Moron
It’s clearly established that you have to accept the ring and speak The Oath before it’ll work, yet he falls for Reynolds giving him the ring in exchange for the girl.
It’s not too bad, though, because soon Parallax arrives and eats him (possibly to prove that he’s the real bad guy, not some lackey interim bad guy).
What Are the Rules?
If you have a ring that can create anything the wearer can imagine, you need to set some pretty clear rules. Green Lantern doesn’t. A dozen of the best Lantern-Space-Cops attack Parallax at one point, but Parallax eats them all easily.
Yet the end of the film is Reynolds alone against Parallax and he wins. What are the rules here? Did Reynolds want to save the people of earth more than the Lanterns wanted to save the universe? Did he will it more?
Or do special rules apply just because he’s the Hero. If so, that’s lazy filmmaking.
Was like if a Bond film ended because there was a car chase and the bad guys didn’t notice a building. Well, more like a mountain. Yeah, like they drove straight into the side of a mountain. Any bad guy with half a brain wouldn’t have followed Ryan Reynolds where he was leading it and would instead have just waited him out rather than plunging in and dying pointlessly.
Which brings us to: Why didn’t the purple alien just kill Parallax like that in the first place?
What’s the Solution?
Rewrite the whole damned script. Cut out all the cliché and corny dialogue (there goes half the script).
You can get away with some of this stuff – like the green ring granting magic powers – but you need to have a villain who will compliment that. Not a giant space octopus that eats cities.
And don’t spend so long showing us these weird aliens that then have no effect on the film (not just the end, but really any of it). This could have been almost the same story without the Green Lantern planet at all.
Also, I don’t think we needed this to be an origin story. We could have come in at some later point, because Reynolds doesn’t undergo some huge character change. He says early on that he can’t control his fear, and says that he has no responsibility and never sticks with anything, and such, but we’re shown that he’s a top-of-the-line fighter pilot. Pretty sure that takes some training and responsibility.
Also, cut out that lazy shit that Reynolds and Human Bad Guy both wanted the same girl. Or, if they must, have her choose HBG over the hero and see how he reacts to that.
Do you hate yourself? Or good stories? Then this is the film for you! Otherwise, no. This is a bad film, a bad comic book adaptation, a bad everything.