Starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Tim Robbins & Angela Bassett
Directed by Martin Campbell
PG-13, 105 minutes
Release date June 17, 2011
The latest superhero saga to hit the big screen adheres to a rigid color scheme: Green is good, yellow is bad, and Ryan Reynolds’ eyes are brown…until they glow blue.
Got it? Good—because you’ll need all the navigational help you can get to make it through The Green Lantern, an unfocused, CGI-driven mess of a movie.
As a popular DC Comics character that’s been through several shades of comic-book mythology since he was introduced in 1940, the original Lantern was a railroad engineer who discovered a magic talking lamp that bestowed him with a green glow and an arsenal of superpowers.
Now, 70 years later, hotshot test pilot Hal Jordan (Reynolds) is reluctantly knighted as one of an elite squadron of intergalactic peacekeepers—and transformed into Earth’s first member of the Green Lanterns.
The movie is banking on the considerable eye-candy charms of Reynolds, its leading man, who’s given plenty of opportunity to showcase his buff physique both in and out of his jade-colored, custom-fitted bodysuit.
But Reynolds, so effective in other movie roles playing dashingly handsome, otherwise more-or-less ordinary guys, doesn’t seem quite up to the superhero snuff. He’s less than convincing as a green-tinted protector of the cosmos with some of the most awesome power in the universe in his fingertips.
There are other problems, too. The story rambles, cramming and cobbing together templates from a number of other, better, often iconic movie franchises, including Star Wars, Superman and Top Gun.
The special effects aren’t all that special. A space menace, meant to be horrific as it makes its way across the cosmos to devour Earth, looks like a computer-generated Halloween porch decoration made with a wad of dreadlocks. The romantic subplot, between Hal and his one-time squeeze/current boss Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), never catches any real spark or sizzle.
The 3-D is a waste. Two fine supporting actors, Tim Robbins and Angela Bassett, are given far too little to do. The quips, jokes and zippy one-liners that you might reasonably expect in a movie based on a comic book are in woefully short supply.
And too often, Reynolds just looks silly in his Lantern suit. His ex-lover even breaks out in giggles the first time she gets an up-close look at him, seeing instantly through his ridiculously thin disguise. “Hal??? Did you really think I wouldn’t recognize you just because I can’t see your cheekbones?!” she asks.
In a movie season that’s already had Thor hammer up the box office, and with the much-anticipated, red-white-and-blue Captain America still to come, this subpar superhero saga is already looking wan and washed out by comparison. In a couple of months, this Lantern’s green glow will likely be long gone.