Those familiar with the comic series may be turned off by the film's manipulation of events within its adaptation of the “Parallax” storyline, and that is all fine and good. The film does take some liberties with the plot, and obviously distorts it enough to coincide with the origin of Hal Jordan's 'Green Lantern', but this is not fine art, it's a comic book adaptation, and a pretty darn entertaining one at that. If you're expecting a note-for-note transcription, you're simply setting yourself up for disappointment.
What is here is entertaining, yet not without the occasional misstep. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly is the casting of Ryan Reynolds. Not a terrible choice, as he does look the part of “The Green Lantern”, however too often it seems as though this is just 'Ryan Reynolds looking like The Green Lantern', hard to suspend disbelief when the actor playing the hero simply looks (and feels) like the actor playing the hero. What's surprising, however, is that this is not primarily Reynolds fault, as the script too often has him acting goofy, which really pulls the audience out of the film. Truthfully, when Ryan Reynolds doesn't go too “Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place”, he's actually pretty good at playing the hero.
Secondly, the writers had no concept of scope when penning the screenplay. Parallax, while not so much an inspired choice as the villain, is certainly the most obvious. The most terrifying villain in the 'Green Lantern' canon, it lends itself to a large-scale project, one which spans worlds. This would be fine, and even exciting, but this is an origin story, one in which the character needs to be set-up for those who are unfamiliar with the comic. In order to establish a believable character it is incredibly important that the audience can focus on 'that character'. The three films I mentioned above are so successful because they are about the people behind the masks. They are stories in which the action is driven by the character. “The Green Lantern” often feels disjointed as it can't decide whether it wants to be about Hal Jordan, or the Green Lantern's battle with Parallax. How can we, as an audience, appreciate a film in which the creators don't even know where they want to take us? The film would have benefited from a smaller-scale story which would allow the character of Hal Jordan a little room to breathe.
Now, it may sound very much like I disliked the film, but in actuality, I did not. As I mentioned, Parallax is hardly an inspired choice, but it is one of the coolest villains I've seen in a comic book adaptation to date. The cloud-like embodiment of fear, gaining strength by devouring planets and their populations, Parallax is as threatening a villain as they come. Watching it destroy anything in its way is incredibly enjoyable.
Secondly, there are moments where the film is genuinely funny. The screenwriters make light of a few of the traditional superhero concepts, my favorite being the Green Lantern's mask... his tiny mask... you know the one that only covers his eyes but the rest of his face is fully visible. I've had numerous arguments about the legitimacy of Superman's secret identity, even with my co-writer, Scott Wood, a man who's opinion on both movies and comics I respect more than any other. There's no way that anyone would be fooled by Superman's secret identity. “It's the attitude... No one could believe Clark Kent was superman, their personalities are too different.” That's horse puckey, as my dad would say. If my best friend was an incredibly shy glasses-wearing watermelon (I know that sounds strange, but follow me, here...), and coincidentally another watermelon (with no glasses) saved a bunch of people from a burning bus... The first thing I would think was “That watermelon looks just like... Wait, a second... my best friend just saved a bunch of people from a burning bus!” Because glasses or no-glasses, a watermelon looks like a watermelon. The Green Lantern's mask falls under the same description and the writers have fun with ideas like this. It makes the movie more enjoyable.
There will be, and have been, a lot of people who won't enjoy “The Green Lantern” for one reason or another. Being a DC Comic that isn't Batman or Superman (or to a lesser extent, even the Flash) a good portion of the audience will be watching it as fans of Ryan Reynolds, some simply because it is an action movie... a summer blockbuster. Fans of either should have a relatively good time with it. It's the people who go into the movie expecting something to the calibre of “Spider-Man 2” or “Iron Man”, that will be disappointed. “The Green Lantern” is fun, and if you simply adjust your expectations to assume something more in line with “Spider-Man 3” or “Iron Man 2”, you'll be more than pleasantly surprised.
'Cause those movies sucked.