Very, very meh.
Aside from a few glaring flaws – Blake Lively, the plodding second act – the film is just generally poor, mediocre, which comes as a huge disappointment to me, a big GL fan.
Just everything falls short. The overall plot is very generic, the dialogue is unimaginative and cliche, most of the performers are phoning it in or getting no time to shine, and the ending is flat.
Reynolds just doesn’t have enough to work with. His lines just don’t mark him out as Hal Jordan for me. Blake Lively is just awful as Carol Ferris. Mark Strong is super-generic as Sinestro and doesn’t get much more time than the rest of the Lanterns.
Saarsgard is decent as Hector Hammond, but again, his role is clichéd to the hilt and suffers from some stuff that was clearly cut (they imply a past relationship with Hal and Carol, but don’t elaborate). I have no idea why Amanda Waller was in this movie, or why someone as distinguished as Tim Robbins was landed with the unimportant role he got.
The sequences on Oa are pretty, but far too short to be worthwhile, the idea of a Lanterns training taking all of five minutes leaving me a little slackjawed. Kilowog is criminally underused in this flick, and the relationship between Sinestro and Jordan, the relationship that is supposed to define both (and set up a sequel) is given way too little attention.
The films pacing is bad, the middle 45 minutes especially, where the plot seems to just trip along from boring scene to boring scene, where everything is predictable to the hilt (I have rarely seen a more obvious Chekov’s Gun then the construct “Sun” Kilawog creates). The action scenes are very lax, a cardinal sin for a superhero movie and the ones we do get aren’t really that great.
The score is forgettable, very unfortunate for this particular genre, which has given us some memorable themes. No Super or Spiderman level stuff here.
What’s good? Well, I suppose the overall plot is good, just really badly executed. As mentioned, this film might suffer from what I call “Kingdom of Heaven” syndrome, where the theatrical cut tears the soul out of the film, with the inevitable extended cut being far more watchable.
The effects are ok, but the 3D is redundant. Parralax looks fairly dumb, a space octopus with a baby’s head but everything else – the suit, Oa, the Guardians, the constructs – look fine, good even. That being said, the movie cannot help but come in for criticism of the blandness of Jordan’s constructs, which is almost inevitable for Green Lantern adaptations.
Thing is, a very decent origin story for Jordan was written very recently, the “Secret Origins” tale. Part of this film was taken from that, but large parts weren’t. It’s a shame, because “Secret Origins” was a brilliant story. Things like Sinestro having a hands-on role in Jordan’s training, a more effective main bad guy, better fleshing out of Jordan’s younger life, it all would have gone towards creating a far more watchable film.
Instead, we got a very bland offering, one that does not do justice to the rich Green Lantern mythos. Perhaps GL is better suited to an animated format. The evidence suggests the big screen is not the way to go.