I had high hopes for Green Lantern, this summer's latest attempt at a superhero movie franchise. Its director, Martin Campbell, had helmed the two best Bond films of the past 15 years (Goldeneye and Casino Royale) as well as the stylish Mask of Zorro. But those productions gave Campbell good scripts and charismatic characters to work with. This film does not, and Campbell has nothing to offer in response but his skill as an action-film director. Which isn't nearly enough.
Green Lantern recalls the parts of so many other movies that, as its running time advances, it starts to resemble a celluloid-based Frankenstein's monster. Top Gun, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the second Star Wars trilogy, Iron Man, Spider-Man — all are recalled at least once through elements including an aerial dogfight; a massive creature attempting to destroy Earth; a council of aliens acting as self-anointed guardians of the universe; good guys with daddy/son issues, bad guys with daddy/son issues and a reluctant hero who's not sure he's ready for prime time. But for all that noise, this is a fatigue-inducing film going through the motions of yet another superhero origins story, one with all the distinctiveness of a paint-by-numbers kit.
The challenge of introducing a new superhero to the screen is figuring out how to give the origin emotional heft, since by virtue of being a "first chapter," it must resonate with the audiences so that they care about the impending conflict. Green Lantern never strikes that chord.
As Hal Jordan, the test pilot chosen to be the next Green Lantern (a type of interplanetary cop) by his dying alien predecessor, Ryan Reynolds (Wolverine, Buried) doesn't inhabit his character so much as act callow and cocky. To be fair, he's saddled with some ludicrous lines, and Campbell allows him to employ what is by now his stock-in-trade, the glib persona. Hal Jordan could have been persuasively presented to the audience with a gifted actor and man's man in the role. Reynolds, for all the attention paid to his chiseled physique, is not a man's man, and he doesn't yet have the talent to take on a character like this.
Little wonder, then, that the interaction between Reynolds and Blake Lively (Gossip Girl), who plays Jordan's once and perhaps future flame, is passionless. The only reason we might believe they once hooked up is that they are both attractive and cross paths at work. Lively is one of the dullest love interests in recent comic-book cinema, if not the most boring by far. Every time the movie returns to her apartment for its obligatory romantic subplot, it feels like a regression.
To make matters worse, those awful scenes are as drearily lit as a furniture showroom after business hours. Elsewhere, the film's palette and set design are a bore, including the unimaginative rendering of the Lanterns' home base.
As the nebbishy and supposedly brilliant scientist Dr. Hector Hammond, Peter Sarsgaard (Shattered Glass, Jarhead) chews up the scenery in entertaining fashion, but his character is woefully underwritten, wasting what should have been the movie's main antagonist. Instead, we're stuck with rooting against a floating alien head dragging along tentacles of dust that extend in every direction, reaching and grasping in a way that resembles the film's tone. Green Lantern flirts with being majestic, ironic and fun, but ends up being none of those. Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes), who plays Sinestro, the leader of the Green Lantern corps, is a pleasure to watch because he brings an appropriately bigger-than-life quality to a character borne of comic-book origins.
As bad as its visual effects and aesthetic choices are, Green Lantern fails because it doesn't tell a compelling story. It never once explores what it means to be a guardian of a sector of planets, or what gives a chosen few the right to exercise that power. It asks no questions about duty or responsibility, or about the nature of fear and will power, both of which figure prominently in this film's plot. For the most part, the relationships between its characters are weightless, mere approximations of how real people with a shared history interact with one another. Green Lantern thus suffers both for its poor choices and for its lack of ambition. It is a dull, drab thing released because it's summer and studio heads know that people will go to the theaters expecting escapism. They won't find it in this lifeless film.
After seeing the "new Superman" I thought it was alright but, I kind of hoped…
Gerwig is so awesome all-around. Would love to give her hugs and be friends. :)
Check out the lead on the Drudge Report!
Cant wait to watch it!