Movie Review: ‘Green Lantern’
Green Lantern commits the cardinal sin for a summer tentpole movie. It’s flat out boring. There is a fairly entertaining finale, but by the time it rolls around, you couldn’t care less. It’s a pity, because I know a lot of people who adore the DC comic hero, and this film just doesn’t do him justice.
Ryan Reynolds plays a cocky fighter pilot (Hal Jordon) who is plucked from obscurity by a magical ring that belonged to an intergalactic warrior who was a member of an elite force charged with keeping the peace in the universe. He is whisked away to the planet Oa, where he meets the Green Lantern Corps, and is immediately trained to harness his will in combat. With the help of the ring, he can physically manifest anything he imagines, a nifty fighting device.
Meanwhile scientist Hector Hammond (a delightful Peter Sarsgaard) has been infected with an alien virus he contracted while performing an autopsy on the fallen warrior. He mutates into an alien-human hybrid, and things get nasty. Hector has the hots for Hal’s sometime girlfriend Carol (Blake Lively), who also happens to be Hal’s boss (yeah, right). She’s a jack of all trades-a fighter pilot, business savvy heir to the fighter jet empire, and a size zero hottie who wears inappropriate and distracting clothing to the workplace. When she finds out that her old flame is the Green Lantern, she helps him gain the confidence he needs to perform his new duties as peacekeeper. Naturally, Carol’s life is put in jeopardy by the now evil Hector. It’s all pretty standard fare for a superhero movie.
The film takes a long time to actually build any type of momentum. It drags along until the last twenty minutes or so, when a giant black cloud tries to invade earth. None of the characters are fully developed, so there is little emotional investment in their fate(s). There is way too much CGI, the entire planet of Oa looks like a painted backdrop, and Hal’s costume is all CGI, for no discernible reason. The stars are actually okay. Reynolds has a lot of charisma, and fits the hotshot role well. Lively is miscast as far as age, but she is stunning in every scene, and she looks great as a brunette. She doesn’t have a lot to do, though. The real treat is Sarsgaard, who rips into his role with great relish. Mark Strong and Michael Clarke Duncan play some of the Green Lantern Corp warriors.
This film is a post conversion 3D, but it doesn’t look too bad, besides the fact that it is predictably dark, like all 3D movies. Of course, the 3D is not necessary. I actually took my glasses off for long stretches of time, and couldn’t tell a difference, particulary when it was a non-action sequence.
Director Martin Campbell knows his way around an action flick (Casino Royale, Edge of Darkness), but here he stumbles. Perhaps the fact that there are over four writers credited with the screenplay has something to do with it. You can’t expect a cohesive, well paced story with that many collaborators. It’s rumored that the film cost over $300M to produce. That’s too bad, because it is one of the biggest disappointments of the summer.