Green Lantern blasts its way into 4000+ megaplexes this weekend, and audiences are going to be scratching their heads at the end of this one. Call this my ‘lead pipe’ lock – a big opening, followed by a sputtering 50% loss in audience over the next few weeks. It’s not that it’s a bad film, because it’s not. Solid acting, a super hot feminine lead, and some really great attention to detail in the special effects driving the Lantern suits — but it doesn’t move right. Not exactly cartoony, and not serious enough, it tries to ride a line of appeal to all ages and like the ill fated Speed Racer of 2008, it’s going to win over neither.
Green Lantern is the comic book turned film about a hot shot test pilot, Hal Jordan. Hal is tormented by the untimely death of his father who was a show pilot and he leads a reckless and self indulgent lifestyle as a result. When fate drops an alien warrior, Abin Sur, on Earth, dying from wounds imposed by a new super evil named Parallax, Hal is chosen to take the warrior’s place and wear the ring that makes him the famed Green Lantern. The ring turns thought into reality in the form of projections — giving a Lantern the ability to create and do almost anything. When Parallax realizes that the ring belonging to Abin Sur, the warrior who once vanquished him, is now on Earth — a collision course ensures between Hal’s newfound powers and the unstoppable Parallax evil that feeds on fear.
I was never a fan of the comic book series, and for me Green Lantern was just a guy in a green suit that flew and had a ridiculous mask to hide his eyes and cheekbones in some misguided thought that it would hide his identity. Suffice to say, the same mistake was made here. I read weeks ago that the film was granted an extra few million in ‘post’ to go back and add details to the suit and mask. The detail is amazing, no doubt, but all the attention to pixels in the world doesn’t make up for a story that just moves horridly. It drags into a culmination that seems forced, even the 3D doesn’t help your enjoyment.
Ryan Reynolds (Van Wilder) does a great job as the foolhardy, rash test pilot Hal. He’s mildly charismatic, and his relationship with Carol Ferris (Blake Lively — The Town) is fun and playful to watch. As far as Blake’s performance, she once again displays poise and execution, but she’s victim to bad placement. I’m all for equal rights in the workplace, but it’s a tough stretch to get me to believe that the heir apparent to a military contracting company would be this attractive and conduct business in super high mini’s and 4 inch Jimmy Choo’s. I understand the need to build appeal into the feminine lead, but this is a bit ridiculous. Like Megan Fox in Transformers, she’s distractingly too good looking for the role. Angela Bassett (Strange Days) returns to the screen in a bit part as Dr. Amanda Waller, a government research scientist. I love Angela, and have always looked for her to re-appear, but her role in this film was entirely too short and I questioned if she did it just to get her face back out there. She’s powerful and dynamic — what did she possibly feel this role would bring for her? Even Tim Robbins’ (The Shawshank Redemption) turn as Senator Hammond was boring and opaque. The bright light in the film is Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes) as Sinestro. No stranger to playing stern and disciplined characters, he brings conviction to Sinesto and commands respect with his dialogue.
Fans of the comic may find this one a great retelling of Green Lantern’s origin, but moviegoers will be ho-hum about its 3D, dazzled by Lively, and thinking to themselves, how could a villain so smart fall for Lantern’s oh so simple plan to thwart him? Before I forget, stick around when the credits roll — there’s a nice teaser surprise in it for you.
Green Lantern is rated PG-13 for violence and gore, and brief profanity. Running Time: 105 minutes.