As something fun to do, take a look at the Rotten Tomatoes page for Green Lantern right here. I’ll wait. Back? Okay, as of writing this, the critics reviews are in at 23% fresh whereas the audience is at 72% fresh. That is a pretty big discrepancy and I think I can explain it.
First off, let me say that I enjoyed it and I would add to the fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes if I cared to put my opinion there. The movie was fun to watch and I was able to enjoy watching Hal Jordan’s introduction to the Green Lantern Corps and the adventure he had. I’d recommend watching the movie.
That being said, I can see why critics might not like it. The story is somewhat mediocre with a lot of telling and not showing (especially at the beginning), and the dialogue often isn’t very good and can get cheesy. The CGI isn’t the best CGI in the world and there is a lot of it, with Oa almost being entirely CGI, especially with the Corps. The love story wasn’t all that good and you really don’t know why Carol and Hal are into each other aside from both being attractive. All of that leads to a bad movie in terms of what critics want. All that being said, I can also explain why people other than critics are liking it.
Green Lantern is a fun movie. It really is fun. I enjoyed seeing Hal fly for the first time as a Lantern, see him create various constructs in battle, and trying to master using the ring. I enjoyed seeing the Corps and all the various aliens there, including the non-humanoid aliens and all the various others. There are a couple scenes where you see the Corps in its entirety and you really think that the Corps is incredibly vast and diverse and large. While the costume’s glowing and lines are distracting sometimes, you can see the classic Green Lantern costume within the suit, especially when it is less glowy. Hal, being played by Ryan Reynolds is basically Ryan Reynolds playing himself playing Hal. It isn’t the Hal I remember from the comics, but he has the Hal I know in him. I’ve read the original Silver Age Green Lantern stories and Hal’s attitude in those can be seen in this. While he’s sillier and goofier, because he’s being played by Reynolds, he still has the courage and willpower, along with the determination that Hal had. While the movie decided to just data dump the backstory of the Green Lantern Corps, it didn’t feel that bad as a data dump and I think that it probably helped people who didn’t know anything about the Corps.
I’ve already talked about Hal, but other characters felt well done in some areas and less so in others. Sinestro really feels like a character who likes being a member of the Corps and would do anything to protect what he feels needs protecting, but he also seems more honorable in the movie and the tiny scene in the credits (stick around for a little while) doesn’t seem to fit well with me just because it doesn’t feel like where his character was at the end. Hector Hammond was the classic friend with the main characters, but was less attractive and always wanted the girl and now is using his new powers for evil because he was neglected. I guess they needed to give Hammond more motivation, but I think that getting rid of him knowing Hal and Carol wouldn’t have hurt anything and him just being a douchebag would have worked as well. Carol seemed okay, but was kind of lame as the love interest.
It mostly stuck true to it’s comic origins. While it put Parallax as the main villain behind Hector Hammond, it still was mostly true. Abin Sur, being mortally wounded, crashes his spaceship on Earth, where his ring finds out Hal Jordan, cocky test pilot without fear, and chooses him to be a Green Lantern. After learning about the Corps and training on Oa, Hal goes on to fight evil. Hector’s origins are reminiscent of the Secret Origin version where investigating Abin Sur’s ship leads Hammond to become deformed and gain his powers, albeit with the Parallax twist instead of it being just a meteorite. Sinestro felt like he was heading down the road to becoming the villain everyone knows him to be, but lacked enough development to really go into his motivations. In general, nobody was really developed very well, with Hal being most developed and even then, there were parts that weren’t as developed as they could be. As an example more recently, Thor really hammered (pardon the pun) home Thor’s motivation and personality and development, along with Loki’s. You knew why Loki was so motivated to do what he was doing. You knew why Thor did what he did. Sinestro, in comparison, was a generic Green Lantern who was somewhat harsh and a leader, and seemed to not like Hal only because Abin Sur was his BFF and Hal isn’t Abin Sur.
Despite everything above, what you should really take away from this is that you should ignore the critics. If you’re looking for an Academy Award winning movie, don’t expect that in Green Lantern. If you’re looking for a fun movie that has action, a little comedy, a little romance and some superheroes fighting with glowing green constructs, go see Green Lantern. It isn’t deep and it isn’t necessarily a great movie, but if you go in wanting to have fun, you should find some in Green Lantern.