With any luck, Green Lantern will signal the death knell for the overblown, mindless comic book adaptations that Hollywood has been obsessed with for the last decade. With Lantern, they have finally reached the bottom of the barrel with what is the most lazy superhero creation of all time. Having exhausted (read: exploited) every possible adaptation, hopefully studios
will soon find a different money-making gimmick and leave comic books to the nerds once and for all.
I say “lazy” when referring to Green Lantern because it is just that: an asinine hero with the vaguest “power” that allows him to do absolutely anything. The reason superheroes are entertaining is both their powers and their limitations. Wolverine wouldn’t be nearly as fun to watch if he wasn’t an amnesiac who didn’t know his own origins. Batman would be like any other superhero if he wasn’t mortal and death wasn’t always a potential threat. Hal Jordan a.k.a. The Green Lantern (Ryan Reynolds) has none of these limitations which make him not only boring to watch, but devoid of characteristic with which the viewer can relate.
Apparently Lantern has a die-hard fan base, so for the uninitiated, here’s the plot: Hal is a cocky, brash fighter jet pilot who plays by his own rules because he’s never gotten over his father’s death (completely original so far, right?). His childhood friend/occasional booty call Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) is an equally talented pilot but who is by the book and is constantly trying to keep Hal in line. Not only is she beautiful, she’s also business-minded and is set to take over her father’s company.
While this is going on, we learn about a group of intergalactic cops called the Green Lantern Corps who are sworn to protect the entire universe from bad guys. This seems rather daunting until you find out that they have, very neatly, cut the universe up into equal parts and assigned one Green Lantern to protect each sector. No big deal. One of them, Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), is attacked and crash lands on Earth. As he is dying, his magic decoder ring, the source of his power, seeks out a fitting successor to the Corps. Hal Jordan is that lucky person.
The film is as absurd as it is tedious. According to the comic book creator and the filmmakers, every alien species is able to survive in similar environments regardless of whether or not they breathe oxygen; the ring gives Hal the ability to create anything his mind can imagine, but also makes him invincible and immortal and able to breathe in space and withstand
the freezing temperatures; and makes the effects of gravity completely irrelevant unless it is important for fighting an evil creature threatening the galaxy.
Director Martin Campbell is so in over his head on this movie that it’s a good thing he’s already said he won’t return for any sequels. Though there are no less than four writers credited with the story, though not one of them is able an interesting character or appealing arc. Time and time again we hear that the ring’s only limitation is “what your mind can imagine.” Well,
we know the limitations of these writers and apparently they are working under serious constraints.
Reynolds is pathetic as Hal, relying on his good looks and the Van Wilder-esque performance he gives time and time again. The only bright spot, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, is Lively who gives the only real performance in the movie. She’s attractive, but does not coast by on her physical appearance. She does a good job portraying Carol who is stuck always being the responsible one because Hal is always such a child.
Green Lantern is as terrible as a movie can get and makes no attempt to contribute whatsoever to the superhero genre.
The film is rated PG-13 and runs 105 minutes.