Movie Review: Green Lantern
When I was a kid and spending my allowance on comic books every week, I was always very eager to get my hands on the latest copy of Green Lantern. Looking back, I’m not sure what it was about him that was so intriguing to me. Maybe it’s because he was green? There weren’t a lot of green-wearing superheroes back then.
So when I heard they were going to make a Green Lantern movie, I was very excited (Of course, it was inevitable, so it was really just a waiting game). I feel like superhero movies are finally getting to a point where they have a good story and don’t put all the responsibility on the special effects. Sam Rami’s Spider-man series did this for the most part, and Iron Man and Chris Nolan’s Batman movies definitely did. Maybe it’s the calibre of actor, too. But if that were the case, Thor could’ve been saved by its two Oscar winners. When I heard that Ryan Reynolds was going to be Hal Jordan, I knew that all bets were off. I knew I was in for superficial, sarcastic quips and very little range, and I figured my favorite hero from childhood was going to get a terrible, terrible film adaptation. I wasn’t completely wrong.
The premise behind Green Lantern is that an expansive evil called Parallax–which feeds on fear–was freed from captivity and making its way across the universe to destroy its enemies: The Green Lantern Corp, a team of aliens that spans galaxies and polices them. When one of them is injured by Parallax, he must find a successor and the ring (which chooses who will wear it) leads him to earth, to Hal Jordan.
Jordan is a fighter test pilot who takes the risks that no one else does. He’s fearless, which is a requirement to wear the ring. In one scene–a scene lifted almost directly from Iron Man–he leads a pair of drone fighters almost out of the atmosphere where they can’t function, and neither can he. Brave! This is the type of thing we’re led to believe Jordan is known for.
And the Goose to Jordan’s Maverick is Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), who plays by the book and is always very opposed to his antics. We learn that the two of them grew up together, and the sexual tension between them is quite obvious. After Jordan’s drone stunt, she somehow ends up at a desk job and aside from being the love interest, doesn’t really play a huge part in the rest of the story.
After the ring picks Jordan (and after its dying owner stays alive long enough to pass it along with a few vague instructions), he is summoned to the Lanterns’ meeting place and trained to do his duty. There is a lot of information in this section, so pay attention.
Meanwhile, back on earth, the dead alien ring bearer is autopsied by the film’s one good character, Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), who is the opposite of Hal Jordan in every way. He’s nerdy, quiet, unconfident. That is, of course, until he gets the remnants of Parallax in the alien’s body on him. Then he becomes a fine enemy, due primarily to Sarsgaard’s incredible talent. Battles ensue, and you can probably guess the ending. But it’s a somewhat fun ride at least.
Unlike the other superhero movies I mentioned earlier, Green Lantern relies heavily on special effects. The ring can bring to like anything its wearer can imagine, and when Hal Jordan is wearing it, he seems to be only imagining things from The Mask. To me, this kind of ruins the movie, or at least makes it more for kids than 30-somethings who probably read the comics. It’s shot in 3D, too, which is never necessary. In this case, since it was there though, it probably could’ve been utilized a little more. The rest of the film was way over the top and relatively superficial, so I’d expect its main gimmick to be, too.
If you’re a big Ryan Reynolds fan, or just love the comic book genre, you’ll probably want to see Green Lantern. Otherwise, wait for it on DVD or just hold your horses until the new Batman or Iron Man films come out.
The Green Lantern trailer: