Green Lantern (2011)
Green Lantern (2011)

Genre: Superhero Running Time: 1 hr. 45 min.

Release Date: June 17th, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Martin Campbell Actors: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Leanne Cochran, Temuera Morrison

 


 

T

he filmmakers are under the impression that audiences will accept anything, as long as it’s drenched in special effects. Balls of gaseous substances, electrical fields of lightning, pulsing rays of color, billowing smoke, fiery explosions, and glowing energy beams all shown rapidly and accompanied by piercing noises – these tricks are sure to impress even the most cynical critics. Unexplainable things happen all of a sudden and viewers are expected to sit back and soak up the visual zaniness without questioning all the cryptic events. This is simply not true. For an origins movie, “Green Lantern” certainly has a lot more explaining to do.

For centuries, the emerald energy of willpower has been fueling intergalactic peacekeepers known as Green Lanterns. Thousands of specially chosen warriors and guardians police the galaxies, using their unimaginable powers to quell the evil forces of fear. Legendary legionnaire Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), aglow with purplish, translucent skin and rubbery tendons, discovers that an ancient monstrosity called Parallax has been steadily growing and is responsible for the recent deaths of several highly skilled Green Lanterns. When he encounters the frightful anomaly firsthand, he’s mortally wounded and must crash land on Earth.

The viridian energy works in mysterious ways, and purposefully chooses the individuals that harness its powers. When Abin dies, the ring he possesses, recharged by a literal chartreuse lantern, seeks out devil-may-care, foolhardy, hotheaded jet pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds, who hasn’t changed drastically from Van Wilder) to be its new caretaker. At first he has no interest in assuming the responsibilities of protecting a massive sector of civilization, but with the help of negativistic ally Sinestro (Mark Strong), bulky alien Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan) and bird-beaked mentor Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush), Hal will become the most powerful Lantern of them all.

From the very start, solemn narration, intrusive flashbacks and countless tongue-twisting alien worlds, names and devices are utilized, going overboard to stay faithful to the DC Comics characters and entities. With such a swift running time, too much mindboggling content is thrown at the screen rapidly. In the vein of “Star Wars” or “Star Trek,” the ideas are completely science-fiction, working on a level closer to “Thor” than “Iron Man.” Almost nothing is grounded in reality, and because of this, little is deemed worthy of explanation. An “induction process” allows for communication between the human and his newfound comrades, along with quick acceptance of his lime green muscle suit, comical mask (to protect his identity, despite merely covering his cheekbones), and super powers. “The ring’s limits are only what you can imagine,” insists Tomar-Re, making further definition pointless.

A subplot with Dr. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) is unnecessary and wasted, the primary villain Parallax is built up to be invincible but then casually discarded, and Hal’s love interest Carol Ferris (Blake Lively, proving she can only play one character) is hopelessly generic. It takes over an hour to devise a plot and forge an antagonist, and just a few minutes to hastily resolve it all. Impressive makeup goes the route of repulsive instead of awe-inspiring, and the costumes and character designs follow suit, appearing absurd rather than impactful.

While trying to stay true to the look of the original comic books, “Green Lantern” has crafted some incredibly silly stuff. The visuals are entirely too goofy for non-fans to readily digest. There’s also a huge focus on responsibility, facing fears, and never giving up, which passes as noticeably bland and uninteresting. Like “Iron Man 2,” “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” “Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” and most of the X-Men sequels, “Green Lantern” is a mishmash of outdated graphic novel lore, reinvention, redesign, revival, adaptation, stale humor, and budget-busting special effects, all of which are an abrasive assault to the senses and dolefully dreary filmmaking.

– Mike Massie

  • 2/10