Review – GREEN LANTERN

Posted: June 20, 2011 in Film, Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

“One Ring To Rule Them All…”

As much as I’d like to be, I just don’t think I have the willpower to cut it as a member of this Green Lantern Corps. While there are parts of this latest paint-by-numbers superhero origin tale that really work, those occasional inspired nuggets just make the parts that don’t, and there are many, stick out even worse.

Directed by the usually reliable Martin Campbell (THE MASK OF ZORRO, CASINO ROYALE), Green Lantern follows the first Spider-Man flim’s template almost to a tee—you have the intercutting of the hero and villain’s rushed origin stories, Hal’s first big save (of the girl)/coming out party in front of a large gathering, and, of course, the forced love story with an overrated actress who does nothing for me.

Speaking of, I see now why the emotionless and monotone Blake Lively never made another appearance in any advertising after that initial trailer. She absolutely sucked. Seriously, Megan Fox looks like Meryl Streep by comparison. I knew nothing about her prior to THE TOWN, where she played a convincing enough crackhead, but this “poozer” was easily the worst part of the movie. That said, I’m not sure any actress could have shined with what was given to them in the screenplay, which came to a screeching halt every time it revisited her character.

And I know Ryan Reynolds has his haters, but he does his best here in a rather subdued performance. Tim Robbins is wasted in a bit part, loopy and grinning in his few scenes like he is just that. Then there’s Peter Sarsgaard who, as a buddy of mine stated, “is the only one acting like he’s in one of the Davids’** films.” Brundlefly, anyone?

There was some good: Mark Strong was about perfect as Sinestro. The sequence with him and Kilowog training Jordan, albeit brief, was cool. I liked most everything involving Oa—the Guardians, Tomar Re, The diverse Lantern Corps—and actually wish there was more time spent there.

But, overall, despite a pretty decent opening and ending, the story was bogged down with way too much fat (including a wedged-in scene with Hal’s family that had absolutely no purpose or payoff), not nearly enough of the Corps and Oa, and a dead-on-arrival love story thanks to some lazy dialogue and worse delivery (mostly from Lively; did I mention she sucked?). Maybe the inevitable sequel, which we’re given the setup to midway through the end credits, can elevate the series a la X-Men 2 and Spider-Man 2. But I won’t hold my breath.

That’s what’s so frustrating about Green Lantern. It is not an understatement to say that this film franchise could easily be another Star Wars—the reluctant hero’s journey, the massive scale sci-fi/fantasy landscape featuring an intergalactic peacekeeping force. Instead this felt more like a Star Wars prequel… and most of you know how I feel about those cartoons. Speaking of ‘toons, I would recommend you renting DC’s animated Green Lantern feature, ‘First Flight,’ instead. It’s the best interpretation of the character I’ve seen on film.

** “the Davids” being directors David Lynch and David Cronenberg

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