Mmmhhhhh. Let’s see …the movie “Green Lantern” makes the following pronouncements: “emerald energy of willpower,” “the power of fear,” “green is the color of will,” “Intergalactic Green Peacekeepers,” “3,600 sectors” and then there is an octopus-looking cloud of a villain. Pow! Wow! Holy Smokes! So you get the idea of where this is going. Too many directions, only one hero. Unless you are a $100 bill, a vegetable or Kermit the Frog, very few things sell well in green.
So while D.C. Comics and its super heroes consistently lack the pathos of Marvel Comics dudes, there is no shame in trying. And tried they did. In fact, the movie feels like a comic book. Problem is that on screen, I expect my superhero and his villains to be more dimensional … especially if it’s 3D. Not even the absolutely stunning Ryan Reynolds can make this color work … or the movie for that matter, especially in this saturated superhero movie galaxy.
The reliable Reynolds, the lovely Blake Lively as the love interest, the awesome Mark Strong who even under all that Sinestro makeup is still magnetic, the hammy Tim Robbins as a funky Senator and the dedicated Peter Skarsgaard as his son and nemesis, and wait, let’s not forget the bonus of seeing at least a little bit of the beautiful Angela Bassett as a researcher working for the U.S. government … they are all trying. And in command of them all, the same man who brought us “Casino Royale,” director Martin Campbell. So much proven talent. What can go wrong? Or perhaps, the question should be, why couldn’t they get it right?
Let’s start with the 3D extravaganza. While the production values are up to the task, I hardly think that it’s worth it. There is just no substitute for the real issue here … lack of story. You see, all the CGI effects in the world cannot mask the fact that nothing interesting happens. Remember how we enjoyed “Star Wars” and its special effects, which seem almost quaint today. But we felt in love with the movie. In fact, the entire franchise. Never underestimate the relevance of a good story. A good story is always key and a good reason to spend a lot of money. The alternative is a waste of money … or “Green Lantern.”
In this installment, we meet Hal Jordan (Reynolds), a daring and incredibly talented test pilot who is chosen by a mystical green ring to become a green lantern, which means he will now will have otherworldly powers as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe. This ring came as courtesy of a Green Lantern who crashed not far from Hal’s and did convey some relevant info: The ring chose him and trouble is headed your way. Hal, much like his other colleagues in the superhero world, had a terrible childhood trauma which has led him to lead the life of a daredevil. Always getting too close to danger, but never getting close to the ones he loves.
The talented heiress, who is also a pilot (love that!) Carol Ferris (Lively) is in love with him and fully supports his new superhero career. So a galaxy away, all is not well and a villain who looks like a cloud is getting ready to make his next move … which will eventually mean the destruction of OA, which is where Green Lanterns like to hang. Hal trains hard to become a Green Lantern, and therefore a peacekeeper of sorts. But before Hal can get to save earth, he will also meet a local nemesis, Hector Hammond (Skarsgaard), who is driving himself big and crazy with rage and jealousy over Carol and who was definitely given his own special talents after coming in touch with the body of the Green Lantern who crashed. So the world may be at the brink of destruction, but this story is really about 3 people and their hill of beans…
This green ring gives its owner almost infinite powers (just imagine it and it shall be!), but it’s pretty hard to fear the dangers that may lie ahead… We see enough training and coaching so that Hal can be a worthy Green Lantern, but what we don’t see is the growth, development and internal struggle of the man. It almost seems too easy to become a superhero. Where’s the struggle? Where’s the drama? Where’s the pain? I think I did see a tear, but a tear a story does not make. OK, so he fears he is a coward. But you know what? His struggles seem rather pedestrian and even boring. Somehow, we really don’t care. And this is a problem. Because there is not investment, all the action sequences seem a bit empty and short in suspense.
While the 4 credited writers have done their best to keep the dialogue light, fluffy and funny, this is just a movie with funny moments and a good looking cast who can act. Maybe it’s just that absolute power is plain boring. Maybe. But you know who was also green and mighty and not even that pretty? Yoda … but he was never boring.
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Screenwriters: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldberg
Rating: PG-13 Duration: 115 minutes