Green Lantern: Movie Review
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Warner Bros. continues its superhero campaign at the box office this weekend with their new release, Green Lantern, starring Ryan Reynolds as famed comic book hero Hal Jordan. Responsible for recent D.C. Comics blockbusters Superman Returns and The Dark Night, the production studio puts its faith in director Martin Campbell to thrill audiences and bring in millions in ticket sales. A feat the action flick it is sure to achieve.
However, the measure of film isn’t – from a critic or moviegoer’s perspective – how much it makes. The question is: is the movie worth the $10 box office ticket?
In the case of Green Lantern, not so much.
The Movie in a Minute
Hot-shot test pilot Hal Jordan lives a self-fulling life in the wake of his father’s legacy. His world is turned upside when he discovers an alien lifeform and is chosen to join the Green Lantern Corps. Protectors of peace, the Green Lanterns are the police force for the universe. Each sector of the cosmos has a Green Lantern safeguarding it, one who harnesses a unified, mystical power to defeat fearful enemies. With this new responsibility, Hal has to learn some lessons and ultimately overcome his fears and fight enemies from faraway galaxies and close to home.
What Works -- and Doesn't -- in Green Lantern
Green Lantern touches on spiritual themes, a plus for the film. Hal’s transformation into a selfless superhero is engaging. Jealousy rears its ugly head – literally, showing the intense darkness envy allows in one's soul. Fear – a central theme in Green Lantern story – is exposed as the one thing that can destroy the universe, consuming the most noble of souls.
The film’s treatment of good verses evil is … interesting. The ideas that fear imprisons and only true light can release the bound is reassuring, as these lines aren’t always so clearly drawn in film. The thing about Green Lantern is that good triumphs by way of a mystical force that gives power to the Green Lanterns and through the willpower of man.
Just as Tobey McGuire was born to play Spider-Man and Robert Downey Jr. was built to be Iron Man, so is Ryan Reynolds a perfect fit as the Green Lantern. Since his first moments on screen as Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Reynolds, a consummate comedic actor, has shown his proficiency for action roles. It takes a strong presence and humorous side to pull off the charming Hal so many comic book fans have loved since his origin in the 1940s. Reynolds delivers on all counts.
Co-stars Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Angela Bassett, Mark Strong, and Tim Robbins do fine to support the story in their respective roles. The problems come with Parallax and the Guardians of the Universe. Fans may love these characters; to a non-fan, they may come across as odd and uninteresting. Parallax, the villain of the movie, simply isn’t terrifying enough.
Green Lantern is surprisingly easy to follow. A narrated introduction gets you up to speed with what’s going on in the universe. Coming in at under 2 hours, the length of the film is agreeable. However, director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Edge of Darkness) may have jumped the gun a bit as the final battle scene feels cut short. It wraps up too cleanly and quickly to be satisfying.
Rated PG-13, Green Lantern is not low on violence and foul language. Prepare to see the life being sucked out of characters, someone being burned alive, and a sharp needle piercing a man's forehead. These violent images, one-night-stand talk, and profanity make this a no-go for kids and young teens.
In the End
Sci-fi fans will likely enjoy this take on Hal Jordan’s transformation. Moviegoers in general? Maybe, maybe not. Though Green Lantern has some incredibly funny moments, a great lead in Ryan Reynolds, and a fairly complex plot made easy to follow, the movie as a whole just doesn’t make you want to stand up and cheer.
Note: If you do see Green Lantern, stay through the initial credits. There's an extra clip.
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