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Green Lantern Review

By Joe Lozito

It ain't easy seein' "Green"


The origin story of the superhero Green Lantern is pretty out there. And I mean way out there - like in another sector of the galaxy (sector 2814, to be exact). It seems a race of immortals called, fittingly, The Guardians of the Universe, have harnessed the sheer power of Will (no, not Will Smith; self-discipline). The combined Will-power of everyone in the Universe takes the form of a roiling green ball of energy which the Guardians harness and dole out to the Green Lantern Corps - a kind of intergalactic policeforce made up of aliens from across the Universe. Each alien is chosen by a glowing green orb and given a power ring that transforms him, her or it into a besuited superhero capable of giving solid form to anything they can imagine.

Whew. Okay, all that hooey is explained in the distractingly expository opening minutes of "Green Lantern", a special effect-ridden adaptation of the DC Comics character.

Following an equally unnecessary opening action sequence, the film introduces test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds, who can play cocky and still retain his charm) who is running late to engage in a mock dogfight with his partner Carol Ferris (Blake Lively - yes, a fighter pilot!). These opening scenes - the only ones that make any dicernable use of the film's 3D technology - play like a comic retread of "Top Gun" (which, if you think about it, is quite a feat).

Hal, of course, disobeys orders and winds up in trouble. He's also got a cutesy bickering relationship going with Carol. But this is all prologue. One day, while Hal is walking to his car, that pesky green orb picks him up and saddles him with a power ring. The rest of the film deals with Hal's reluctance to take on his new responsibilty (there are some half-baked themes of courage and fear thrown in) and defeat an honest-to-goodness mad scientist (Peter Sarsgaard, putting in a valiant effort despite all the screaming). Oh, and did I mention the evil entity known as "Parallax" that threatens to destory Earth?

So yeah, Hal's got a lot on his plate. And the script, by Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg, struggles to keep it all together. Director Martin Campbell keeps the pace brisk, rocketing past plot holes and logical flaws in a blur of green-tinged aplomb.

Happily - and thanks largely to Mr. Reynolds - the film doesn't take itself too seriously - except when it comes to its effects sequences, which are the worst kind of overblown spectacle. Parallax, in particular, is threatening mostly for its ability to overwhelm the film. There's the kernal of a solid story buried somewhere in this pile of half-scenes, cliches and cardboard characters, but even the light of the Green Lantern can't illuminate it.

What did you think?

Movie title Green Lantern
Release year 2011
MPAA Rating PG-13
Our rating
Summary Ryan Reynolds' most heroic feat in this effects-laden comic book adaptation is saving it from being a complete dud.
View all articles by Joe Lozito
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