"Green Lantern" was in out of development since the 1990s when Warner Bros. scooped it up and finally brought the comic book adaptation to the big screen. And the studio seems to have found the right superhero formula. Despite tepid reviews, the Ryan Reynolds-starring flick nabbed $3.3 million during midnight screenings on Thursday and is looking at an opening weekend total of as much as $70 million.
While that's not quite "Iron Man" territory ($98.6 million in 2008), it's impressive nonetheless, especially when you note how strongly critics have hit back against "Green Lantern." The film, it must be said, is unapologetically wacky. Reynolds' Hal Jordan is a cocksure test pilot who becomes a universe-protecting hero, thanks to the gift of a power ring that harnesses willpower. And oh, there are many problems out there in space, with a smoke monster-style villain feeding on fear and destroying planets. On Earth meanwhile, Jordan is not only struggling to nab his favorite gal (Blake Lively) but also fighting off a scientist (Peter Sarsgaard) infected with the villain's fear-nourishing DNA.
Unsurprisingly, reviewers haven't embraced all this comic-book goofiness. They've dinged the film for having an uneven tone as it bounces from Earth-bound rom-com to space-based action flick. Yet others have admired the film's creative visuals and strong performances. Before you head to the multiplex this weekend, take a deep dive into the "Green Lantern" reviews.
"So there are these aliens, you see, who have divided the universe into 3,000 or so sectors and have chosen one being from each planet — someone absolutely fearless — to wear a green ring that brings superpowers and helps the group maintain peace and order. On Earth, that person is Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a hot-shot fighter-jet pilot who is given his ring by a dying alien who crash-lands on our planet. The ring comes with a lantern that is used to charge it when its batteries run low. The lantern kind of resembles a funky bong, and if you were to make use of one before seeing Green Lantern, the film would be a lot more fun." — Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
"[The movie] finds space for Ryan Reynolds to be funny and charming, Peter Sarsgaard to be completely insane, Mark Strong to be iconic and for Blake Lively to be beautiful and, at times, interesting. ... At the very center of this picture, more so than the weird assortment of aliens or skin-tight CG suits, is Ryan Reynolds' ambitious performance. He is debonair but also vulnerable. And knows how to milk a joke. He sells the CG suit and even that absurd domino mask. He's great in the action scenes, ring-slinging clever green constructs that never fail to impress." — Jordan Hoffman, UGO.com
" 'Green Lantern' looks like a big cartoon, but it's a really cool cartoon. What can you do when all the environments and most of the main characters are CGI? It's bright, sharp and detailed (well, it won't be bright if you see the 3D version). ... The willpower constructs are intricate and clever. That's really the victory of creative screenwriting, to say 'instead of just green energy blasts, what temporary devices could we use to have this guy beat that guy?' Even constructs as simple as swords are meaningful as an homage to the classical duel." — Fred Topel, Screen Junkies
Earth vs. the Universe
" 'Green Lantern' 's biggest problem, never completely overcome, is that there is a serious tonal shift between the devil-may-care Hal Jordan of the opening sections and the dead serious savior of the universe of the finale. The film tries to bridge that gap with unnecessary characters and extraneous plotting, including tedious sections involving other Lanterns, who tend to look like refugees from 'Star Wars' ' Mos Eisley Cantina, but it is to no avail." — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
The Final Word
" 'Green Lantern' is the third comic book movie to come out in what already feels like a long summer movie season, and the third to credit no fewer than four screenwriters ('X-Men: First Class' actually had five). It also suffers the worst from a lot of good intentions and cross-purposes in getting yet another superhero franchise off the ground, chasing character arcs and mythology like a dog after a car, with about as much likelihood of success. With wild space alien characters and a ring that harnesses the power of will, Green Lantern demands more faith from its audience than the 60s-grooving 'X-Men' or the comparatively straightforward 'Thor.' Remarkably it does get you to believe in a interstellar corps of peace-keepers, but gets hopelessly tangled in something far more mundane — that common superhero movie ambition to do too much at once." — Katey Rich, Cinema Blend
Check out everything we've got on "Green Lantern."