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Green Lantern Does Not Light Up the Screen

It’s 10 minutes before a human character appears on-screen in Green Lantern, a personality-free franchise-launcher that builds toward a quaint, if explosive, argument in favor of the nebulous quality of “humanity.”

Via a heavily CGI'd prologue, we learn that The Universe is patrolled by a group of fearless, multi-species warriors called The Green Lantern Corps––and, yes, each member is issued an actual old-school camping lantern, which they use to recharge the clunky rings that allow them to harness “the emerald energy of willpower” to “create what you see in your mind.” A new threat known as the Parallax—illustrated as a constantly morphing mass of something like flesh blended with rock, almost an Anselm Kiefer construction anthropomorphized—has managed to kill four members of the Corps, including an arrogant purple humanoid alien who crashes on Earth and uses his last breaths to command that his ring seek out his replacement.

The ring ropes in Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a bad-boy but regular-old-human pilot given to a specific brand of cockiness that manifests itself via conspicuous self-deprecation. “I may be a total screw-up in every other part of life, but the one thing I do know how to do is fly,” he says, after nearly dying in a test-flight exercise when he’s suddenly distracted by an attack of convenient exposition––er, that is, an uncontrollable flashback to the plane-crash death of his own dad. Hal doesn’t give himself enough credit: He also knows how to flirt, often via terrible double entendre, with Carol (Blake Lively), a former girlfriend now in line to run her father’s aircraft company.

Shortly after the ring finds him, Hal is transported via a green energy bubble into space, where he meets Lantern leader Sinestro (Mark Strong), an alien who is skeptical that a human could have the skill and intelligence to make it in the Corps. Hal, ever the self-saboteur, is also sure there must have been some kind of mistake, and he takes the first opportunity to escape this new assignment. But then the Parallax gets its hooks into Hector (Peter Sarsgaard), a scientist creepily obsessed with Carol, and from there somehow it becomes apparent that the future of the Earth is in danger, so, you know. . . .

I could easily fill pages running down the plot obstacles that Lantern director Martin Campbell soullessly cycles through; identifying all the characters introduced by the film's four screenwriters, only to be easily disposed of; and "explaining" the complete hodgepodge of psychological cause-and-effects, from the pervasive daddy issues and complete absence of mothers, to the arbitrary, less-than-convincing confidence issues that Hal is able to surmount as soon as it becomes clear that Carol really wants to kiss him. But the movie never bothers to suggest that any of that really matters: Campbell’s ADD style privileges spectacle over story—so much so that the film never rewards the viewer for even trying to keep track of what is going on.

So you give up, and instead try to grab on to the small pleasures, which momentarily distract from the fact that the narrative is nonsensical, the characters so boilerplate that their every action seem preordained from the earliest frames, even as the action on-screen is often incoherent. Sarsgaard, with a major latex assist, gives a grand camp performance only rivaled in the last 12 months by Michael Sheen in Tron: Legacy. While hardly even registering as a villain, the Parallax is a breathtaking visual idea––roasting its victims alive while simultaneously slurping up their flesh, the entire maneuver rendered as a lacy spray of golden fire and charcoal ash.

This is pure cinematic magic, but the motives of the menace are muddled if not completely opaque. And while Reynolds isn’t a sharp enough actor to really find the crackle in his standard-issue superhero wisecracks, his body is a marvel of precision sculpting. As he breathes in and out in the skin-tight, digitally enhanced Lantern suit, each abdominal muscle seems to pulse independently. It's transfixing––and the closest Green Lantern gets to character detail.

 
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56 comments
Brettster
Brettster

Lol sounds more like karina was having a moist moment over Ryan and knows that some fugly like her will never get there, and must say the spiteful remarksabout this movie you obviously have a problem female...maybe find a new line of work as you really aren;t up too the task for this job.

Sunelf82
Sunelf82

I have to say, did you see the same movie I just got done watching? I mean, this comment here "so much so that the film never rewards the viewer for even trying to keep track of what is going on" How exactly did you have a hard time keeping track of what was going on? I don't pride myself on being one of the most intelligent people in the world but I will say that I had absolutely no problem keeping track of what is going on. Did you maybe get up and go to the bathroom several times? Fall asleep? Texting on your phone during the movie? I mean surely there is an explanation of why I had absolutely no problem following everything and you seemed to have trouble keeping up. This line "So you give up, and instead try to grab on to the small pleasures, which momentarily distract from the fact that the narrative is nonsensical" The narrative simply explained things that you might have missed while you were in the bathroom, nothing nonsensical about it. This line "the characters so boilerplate that their every action seem preordained from the earliest frames, even as the action on-screen is often incoherent." Of course the characters are boilerplate, it is a comic book movie and based off a comic from the 50's, that was the way almost all comic book characters acted then. As for the action being incoherent, again where you watching the same movie as me?

Too many times people go to movies expecting the wrong thing. If you are going to see a comic book movie don't expect shakespeare, don't expect a masterpiece of the english language. Go see the movie for what it is, an entertaining story that many people from childhood fantasize about.

Sunelf82
Sunelf82

First off, "It’s 10 minutes before a human character appears on-screen in Green Lantern" The Green Lantern Corp. Is a multi-species orginization and Hal Jordan is the FIRST human Green Lantern.

Second, It is a movie based on a comic book, what did you expect? If you go to a movie based on a comic book expecting to be blown away by the witty dialogue and character development, then you went for the wrong reason.

Marty
Marty

How did Karina Longworth land her job? I don't often see movies on the big screen. Most of the current releases are not worth the price of admission or the hassle of going to a movie theater.

I decided to take a chance on "Green Lantern." I'm so glad I didn't listen to Ms. Longworth and all the other critics who simply cannot offer praise to a movie that offers and succeeds in providing a "fun" and visually stunning experience. Is it beneath you to praise a movie that is not thought provoking, dark, or intellectually challenging on some level? But wait, this critic states: " . . .the film never rewards the viewer for even trying to keep track of what is going on."

Well it really wasn't difficult. For the record, some of my favorite movies of all time are considered by many to be some of the most intellectual. Then sometimes, I just want mindless fun and that is what I got--in 3D, and in my opinion, well worth the cost of admission.

Adam Thede
Adam Thede

"Campbell’s ADD style privileges spectacle over story—so much so that the film never rewards the viewer for even trying to keep track of what is going on."

I refer you to my response to Kirk Honeycutt's review of "The Losers" from last year: http://fanoffilm.com/im-not-se...

Longdong
Longdong

omfg..it's a superhero movie from the comics. you pissed because you're man wants to see this more than be with you?

Jacques DeCock
Jacques DeCock

This isn't a comic book it's a film. Theres only about 2 hours to tell a coherent story that will be bring in ppl who never cared for the green lantern and want to see more of the character and the mythology and this is not how to do it. If I was a fan of Green Lantern like my friend is, I would be pissed at how little of the green lantern comic is used to good effect here.

CHris Kaufman
CHris Kaufman

This is going to be a fun movie. It's Green Lantern - not The King's Speech. Reviews like this remind me of people complaining that a Jim Carrey movie isn't serious enough. As a movie goer I don't always want THE DARK KNIGHT, - I want to ESCAPE TO OA

Sam Todd
Sam Todd

"from the pervasive daddy issues and complete absence of mothers, to the arbitrary, less-than-convincing confidence issues that Hal is able to surmount as soon as it becomes clear that Carol really wants to kiss him."

Wow, this movie must be terrible. It's like they made him a real person!

Not to be terribly sexist, but if you were a man, you may know that we can all overcome our issues quite quickly when a girl responds positively to our interest. ;)

ModernTenshi04
ModernTenshi04

Why are you using a fan made image from several years ago, when Reynolds was first announced to be Green Lantern?

Scotty McFanboy
Scotty McFanboy

Idiot. You obviously haven't even seen the film otherwise you would have given it 5 stars.

Clancy
Clancy

Thor has an 80% approval rating from critics, lets see if GL is so lucky merlin aka GL fan lol. Love how you bring Thor into a Green Lantern film review fanboy. As you said you like what you saw in the trailers and will see the film, that should be enough. You tell the critic to get an imagination. I suggest you get a thicker skin and not act like the rabid fans who were apparently all over poor poor roger.

merlin
merlin

When critics tell you have lousy a movie is, l usually go see it. Roger Ebert was almost burned at the stake for saying he did not see any value in Thor, the rabid fans were all over him, so l went to see it- Roger was right. Piece of Crap. Now we have another one here telling us not to " waste our time".. well l am going to see it. l liked what l saw on Youtube. Movies are for the imagination.If you cannot imagine another world like Oa- l suggest finding an imagination..

vansau
vansau

I just want to know where your picture came from. That's clearly not a shot from the movie, it's some sort of fan art (the costume doesn't look anything like this in the trailers).

Sam
Sam

How much credit can i give to a review that uses a FAN MANIP PICTURE to ilustrate the article?!

Stan lee
Stan lee

I havent seen the film so I feel it allows me to totally disagree with someone who did.

For me the green lantern was by far the best movie ever And this "critic" just doesn't get comics.

With comics you can't base things on facts. You have to go with continuity and more the gist.

Sure, In the trailers Ryan looks as wooden as a tree, but if you read green lantern you could loo through crappy acting and see what really matters.

Yes a guy wearing the freaking green lantern outfit and on a big screen!!!

That tells it all there, this obvious male hating baby eating "woman" doesn't get that plot, acting ability. Special effects and good writing DONT Matter.

Get back to your real life bitch leave the fantasy world to those who really appreciate comics and no distractions like "women"

Stan lee

Kpedlow222
Kpedlow222

This review is a bunch of scuddlebutt. You had all this planned out before you even saw it. And you credibility is awful. You gave X-men and Bridesmaids bad reviews. X-men was the best out of the series BY FAR and a very engaging movie. And Bridesmaids is probably the funniest movie of the summer. VERY FUNNY.

Lickalotapus420
Lickalotapus420

Um...you did know there is a review embargo until tomorrow, right? Someone is in big trouble for posting a Green Lantern review.

joe
joe

village voice are snobs, they should only review films like kings speech and stay away from fantasy., or at least get some geeks and geekjuice on the payroll who understand sci fi. then they will reach a demographic they are missing and probably even generate some more ad revenue... just a thought. Email me if you need help.

Dfsdf
Dfsdf

wow first she bashes a film (xmen) which has a 90% positive on rotten tomatoes, and now green lantern.Lady , honestly, for the sake of journalistic integrity, go see midnight in paris, and leave the super hero , fantasy films for the boys.i could be wrong, but martin campbell is a very capable director and im sure hes done a good job. ill let you know.

Neal Adams
Neal Adams

Some people just don't like comic books, and can never get past that. You'll see me in the theater, more than once.

Neal Adams

Stephencannon75
Stephencannon75

The premise of "Green Lantern" is partially rooted in lots and lots of alien characters! Critics do often get it wrong...

Joel
Joel

Look, the Voice has always disliked genre and mainstream movies in general. It's always been that way. And,let's be honest, women are not big fans of science-fiction and comic-book films. Not trying to be sexist...that's just the way it is. And having a fan-made picture accompanying the review instead of one from the film shows a lack of attention, at the least. While Karina is entitled to her opinion, the reader should also have a context. So here are some films (in addition to Lanetrn) that she also did not like:

-X-Men: First Class -Buried -Machete -Kick-Ass -Up in the Air -500 Days of Summer -Gran Torino

Ron Morris
Ron Morris

I'm not going to see the film till the midnight showing, but I do understand why Campbell went for an all space alien adventure. He did it 'cause it's different! If it was the common Earth-bound back story of a Superhero, the audience would have a real tough time picking out something truly different. Spending a lot of time in a CG'd off-world environment is a big chunk of why Thor was so refreshing! We all got to see frozen worlds, and the glory of Asgard! Well, I frakkin' well want to see Oa! I have ever since I was a kid! A full on, live-action film version of Oa, in all the splendor that CG can now provide!Karina, you haven't mentioned anything that would deter me from seeing this film! Not every movie is supposed to be the Godfather! Green Lantern is a popcorn flick that hopefully takes it self a tiny bit more seriously than Green Hornet.So go ahead and look for sexism because there was no mention of Hal's mother, if that's what you gotta do.I'll be in the theater with some Swedish Fish, and a smile on my face, sitting next to my wife who will no doubt enjoy the film because of Ryan Reynolds.

amanda
amanda

It doesn't seem that this person writing the article paid that much attention to the movie.

Joel
Joel

What movie did you see? The photo accompanying your review is not even from the film! It's some sort of fan-made picture! Starting to wonder if you even saw this movie. (Hint: that is NOT Ryan Reynolds in the pic.)

Dan
Dan

Sit down, fanboys! The first of many impending negative reviews. I predict this movie will garner a "rotten" on Rotten Tomatoes and the simple reason is that the makers of GL went too cosmic with the first chapter. Keeping the film more earthbound and leaving out the Corps would have created a more personal story. See: Iron Man 1-- It's not like they started that one with the Armor Wars. This movie is primed to be the Daredevil of the DC movies. Which is to say, not very good.

Jason Morris
Jason Morris

Wow. Pretentious much? Reading between the lines, it's apparent the author of this "review" probably doesn't even like this genre of film to begin with. Sounds like she missed the plot being distracted by Reynolds' abs.

Dfads
Dfads

Can you at least use a real picture and not a fan made one?

RealAlias
RealAlias

BITCH, BITCH, BITCH.

GREEN LANTERN FOREVER, MAN!!!!

FUCK
FUCK

Reviewer is a sad cunt trying to get hits for her shitty website, picture is incorrect, so... I guess the slag hasn't even seen the film. CUNTING BIRCH WHORE

Zenstrive
Zenstrive

F-ing hell, you got the wrong picture there. You sure you got the real deal to review?

Scoundrel
Scoundrel

I have to agree with Mrravenage here. Miss Longworth may be proven correct later, though the very negative review she gave to X-Men: First Class (a genuinely well-made film currently at 87% on RT) makes me disinclined to take her word for it.

bl1y
bl1y

When a movie wants to make you lobotomize yourself so you can stop trying to process how stupid it is, it ceases to be fun.

Jacques DeCock
Jacques DeCock

You haven't heard? Most of the movie takes place on earth! and when Hal does finally say he needs to fight paralax, he asks his friends on earth for help instead of the fuckin green lantern corp who he left in the middle of training. Its really not a great movie. Oh and all those characters from all those posters you see everywhere only show up in the film for like fuckin 10 minutes. They dont even make Hal and sinestro gain a kind of friendship and understanding of each other like they should have and just tell after the credits that Sinestro is gonna be the bad guy in the next one.

Scotty McFanboy
Scotty McFanboy

Because they're idiots who don't know what they're talking about.

Jacques DeCock
Jacques DeCock

It was poorly written man, It's a good green lantern film for 11 year old fans, but not for anyone else. This is a movie ppl should go see right when its out for a rental, but theres nothing that makes it worth seeing in a theatre at all. They threw away alll the mythology for a film that takes place on earth and was just very dull.

TonyM
TonyM

Lol Hi Karina

theaceofknaves
theaceofknaves

Her problem isn't with imagination. it's that GL has a poorly told story and poorly characterised lead character. those things are more important than wild special effects.

Playhouse
Playhouse

Except that it is tomorrow (the 15th) on the East Coast when this review was posted.

Irkininvadergir
Irkininvadergir

you'd have to be completely retarded and by far the lamest person on earth to not like kick-ass. And i thought burried made a great political statement. that movie, i feel, delivered what was expected. i agree, poor critic. and i agree that few women out there would have the comic knowledge and apreciation for the art to write an appropriate review.

Irkininvadergir
Irkininvadergir

woot woot ron morris. ryan reynolds is the ultimate eye candy, that will get women to watch. And the review said hes not clever? of course he is. i havent seen the film yet, cuz ive been at work, but i will, wether its good or bad, im sure it will be a pleasurable experience, but anyway, ryan reynolds has never struck me as too stupid too play his part. everyone nowadays is so negative, its a shame, all the time and effort that goes into the production of a movie and all people can do is slander it....

Yogie
Yogie

Hahah well said! Ms. Karina Bitch Longworth --- Credibility SHOT!

Charlie
Charlie

i see Ryan Reynolds and his green mask

Joel
Joel

Charlie, that is NOT Ryan Reynolds!

Joel
Joel

It's obviously not Reynolds...and it's not even the movie's GL suit! The fact that you think it is... Man, you guys are scary. But having a fan-made, phony image at least puts the review in its proper context.

 

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