‘Green Lantern’ review: Beware this ‘Green Lantern’
Newest superhero movie fails in almost every way
For a movie whose superhero has the ability to harness willpower to fashion literally anything he can think of to thwart his enemies (and with a $150 million price tag attached to it), it’s shockingly pathetic to see how clichéd and unimaginative “Green Lantern” is. From the lame jokes and evocations of better movies to the cookie-cutter plot involving major daddy issues, a damsel in distress and a world to save, “Green Lantern”has single-handedly halted the stellar run of superhero movies this summer.
Maybe Warner Bros. is concerned about profits, considering its “Harry Potter” franchise is finishing this July. And given the blatant sequel-spawning scene during the credits, it’s obvious the company is jonesing for a “Green Lantern 2.” Maybe the movie’s production crew was rushed to release it. Maybe an asteroid destroyed the original, much-better film and the director only had a limited amount of time to create a new movie. Whatever sad excuse director Martin Campbell (“Casino Royale”) settles with, in the end, it doesn’t matter because what we get is a movie that caromed from one story thread to another faster than you can say “soap opera drama,” each thread worse and cheesier than the former. Not to mention that it takes almost forever before anything of interest happens, and when it does, it goes nowhere.
“Green Lantern,” starring Ryan Reynolds (“The Proposal”) as the emerald-green titular character, introduces us to a universe where magic rings grant the wearer nearly limitless power. And that’s where the first of the shoddiness starts.
Look, we get it: “Green Lantern” isn’t nearly as popular as some other DC comic heroes, including Batman and Superman. Exposition was needed, but it didn’t have to involve a laborious voice-over sequence closer to an opening for a National Geographic series than a $150 million summer blockbuster. And considering it stole from a plethora of other superhero movies, why couldn’t “Green Lantern” take a page from the first “Iron Man” and create an intriguing, tell-all opening, one that told those unfamiliar with the story enough to have them interested without succumbing to a narrative bore? No one cares about the creation of Oa, the home world to the Green Lantern Corps. No one cares about the useless Guardians of the Universe, the immortals who harnessed the green-colored power of will in order to protect the universe.
Eventually, the audience is taken to a different sector of the universe, one just a bit more exciting than the last. Pilot Hal Jordan (pre-Green Lantern) and pilot/aeronautics executive Carol Farris (a badly miscast Blake Lively, “Gossip Girl”) show off their dazzling flying skills, vying to out-gun some hyped-up automated jets, a sequence meant to show the fearlessness of Hal (even if he is haunted by some traumatic father issues). Soon after, Hal joins the Lanterns, a group of intergalactic beat cops, after being tapped by a dying purple alien. After becoming accustomed to his role, Hal and his fellow Lanterns must combat the evils of Parallax, an entity capable of harnessing the yellow power of fear (even if it does looks like a giant octopus). And to make matters worse, a socially inept human scientist, Hector Hammond (a commendable Peter Sarsgaard, “Jarhead”), is tainted by the power of Parallax, goes all Hunchback of Notre Dame and tries his best to defeat Hal.
It’s obvious the actors are trying their best to make this enjoyable. And even though that effort is admirable, it falls short time and time again.
The most regrettable part is that Reynolds, a talented actor in his own right, wasn’t wrong for the job; the movie is. This is the second comic book movie that hasn’t lived up to him. (The first was “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” where he played Deadpool.) It’s a shame, too, because no matter how badly scarred you are from “Van Wilder,” Reynolds is a decent and affable actor.
But it wasn’t just the awful script that bogged this movie down. Just wait until you see the waste of money that is special effects. From the almost-naked digitally created suit Hal summons to the comical representation of Parallax (a being meant to strike fear into the hearts of its enemies), “Green Lantern” and its animation rivals that of 2002’s “The Scorpion King.”
Investing in quality, which seems to be at a premium these days, should be a staple for any company aiming to create a new franchise. Seriously, if Warner Bros. is going to flood every conceiveable marketing area from fast food to toys with images of the digitally clad superhero in an effort to convince moviegoers to venture to the theater, the least it can do is give us a good movie, and this should have been a good movie. Instead, what we get is another “Johan Hex.” Remember that catastrophe?
The Green Lantern, famous for his hyper-colorful duds, is just as well known for voicing his oath: “In brightest day, in darkest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power… Green Lantern’s light!” If only moviegoers were lucky enough to escape “Green Lantern’s” sight, because, honestly, there’s no worse evil than a movie gone this wrong.
One star of out five.