2 1/2 Stars
Green Lantern is the latest superhero to get the blockbuster treatment in a mass marketed studio tent-pole release. It has all the elements one has come to expect from this type of fare, breathtaking special effects, a corny human interest subplot and an appropriately rousing score pulsating on the soundtrack. You can rest assured Lantern has all three. What it’s lacking is any reason for the audience to care about a single character in the story. A funny word kept popping into my mind as I watched the film; outlandish. This film is full of so many ridiculous sights that credulity is stretched early on and then eviscerated within the first ten minutes. Audiences willing to accept the absurd nature of the picture may find joy in the ‘outlandish’ aspects of this peculiar D.C. Comics adaption. Green Lantern is so joyfully absurd it may turn out to be a ‘cult classic’ in years to come. For now it ranks as one of the great ‘guilty pleasures’ of recent times.
Ryan Reynolds is cast here in the role of jet fighter pilot Hal Jordan, an irresponsible man-child chosen by an alien force to become part of the Green Lantern Corps. A society of intergalactic space police comprised of 3,669 species and races. Jordan is chosen by this alien force for reasons that are never made fully clear. It’s as if the filmmakers were so ready to get to the effects sequences they cut down early scenes. In fact the entire film feels like it has been trimmed down for maximum playability from a two hour plus film into a 100 minute ride. I’m not saying that I encourage the producers to crank out bloated ‘event pictures’ but in this case the script is so full of interesting side stories that they should have either cut them completely or take the time and further explain their relevance within this established universe.
Blake Lively is an attractive actress with a relaxed screen presence her bright eyes and easy smile brought to mind Gywneth Paltrows radiant charm in the Iron Man pictures. For all the media hype this young starlet has garnered for her big screen debut you’d expect more than a few fleeting scenes played broadly against Reynolds cocksure superero/savior. The pair do have a chemistry but their scenes together as written are flat and uninvolving.
Green Lantern has a nice theme about the use of strong will as a weapon to combat fear. An adapt metaphor for the omnipresent threat proposed by the cold war in the 1960’s around the time Lantern hit it’s stride inside the inked pages of comic books around the country. The special effects are some of the best that money can buy. I especially liked the look of the ‘Guardians’ a race of grey colored gods that serve as high council on the alien planet of Oa. The end sequence in which the Green Lantern takes on the space beast known as Parallax is ripped straight from the pages of the source material. It’s fantasy escapism of the highest order. In those moments Green Lantern achieves a level of magnificence that is sorely lacking throughout most of it’s running time. This is a film of it’s time, the effects wouldn’t have been possible ten years ago. They say special effects are tools to free filmmakers imaginations; this is one instance where they should have been reigned in.
Director: Martin Campbell
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong