Escape my sight!
After years of trying, Ryan Reynolds finally scores himself a substantial superhero franchise. After a brief appearance as Deadpool in Wolverine, and all of those rumors about him as a possible choice for The Flash, he finally gets his big chance with Green Lantern.
Unfortunately, all of that waiting has netted him a superhero role that’s as interesting as dust bunnies behind your bathroom door.
Reynolds plays Hal Jordan, a hotshot test pilot with social issues who finds a purple alien in a crashed spaceship—as we all do sometimes—and is handed a fancy ring by the dying one. Jordan is ultimately whisked off to another planet in a protective green orb of energy. On the mysterious and wholly uninteresting planet, he learns he’s the first human Green Lantern, co-protector of the universe and all-around swell guy.
Jordan goes through a training regimen of getting punched in the face by bulky aliens before returning to Earth to begin his crime-fighting crusade. (Actually, Jordan is more of an accident preventer than a crime-fighter in this film.)
One of the problems with Green Lantern is that his superpowers are kind of lame. Hal can use the ring, which transforms him into a green muscleman with a useless mask, to create anything he wants during battles. So, instead of just stopping a helicopter from crashing, he changes it into a racecar and has it come to a safe stop on a spiffy air road.
That’s just a stupid and wasteful use of energy, and it’s not like the film’s special effects team makes it anything worth looking at. It’s just a bunch of fluorescent green stuff.
A lot of the movie looks trashy. The alien planet is just a cartoon, and the malevolent alien force cloud with teeth that threatens Earth looks poorly conceived and sloppy. As a visual experience, even with 3-D, Green Lantern is flat.
As for the romance between Hal and Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), the two have no sparks onscreen. While Lively is lovely, her part requires her to do little more than yell, pout and exhibit quiet yet bemused confusion.
Worst of all is Peter Sarsgaard stuck in the unintentionally hilarious role of Hector Hammond, a nebbish scientist and son of a senator (Tim Robbins), who gets infected and becomes a monster guy. The makeup department gives Sarsgaard a freakishly large forehead and strange hairline, and this is before he becomes infected. Afterwards, those features get greatly exaggerated and slimy to the point where he looks like Ron Jeremy after a long shoot day.
Sarsgaard is a good actor and he gives it his best, but the villainous Hammond never makes a lick of sense. I got the feeling there was much more to his back story, but what’s presented here is far too little to qualify Hammond as a tragic villain. He’s just sort of a really ugly guy who causes some shit before getting his ass smoked.
Reynolds should be the perfect choice for a superhero role. He’s damned handsome, he’s good with the one-liners, and, most importantly, he’s got one of those superhero chins. But Reynolds’ Jordan never truly emerges as a heroic force. He’s just a cartoon character being manipulated by some special effects dudes drinking a lot of coffee and feeding stuff into their computers at a rapid pace to meet their release date.
There are hints of a sequel—stay for the credits … well, if you still care at that point—involving another “good guy” Lantern named Sinestro (Mark Strong). Not much mystery here—somebody named Sinestro is eventually going to go bad, isn’t he?
Where does Green Lantern rank in the superhero movie listings? It’s not nearly as bad as Batman & Robin and The Phantom, but pretty bad along the lines of Batman Forever and Spider-Man 3.
With less of a boring origin story, Green Lantern could become something sort of worth watching, although I kind of doubt it. He’s an ill-conceived character to begin with, and his superpowers are super dopey.