Lamar Reviews: The Green Lantern

Green Lantern
***

Directed by Martin Campbell
Screenplay by Greg Berlanti & Michael Green & Marc Guggenheimand Michael Goldenberg
Screen Story by Greg Berlanti & Michael Green & Marc Guggenheim

Cast
Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan Green Lantern
Blake Lively as Carol Ferris
Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond
Mark Strong as Sinestro
Tim Robbins as Senator Hammond

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action

Reviewed by:  Lamar Kukuk

Marvel and DC comics have been at war in one way or another since they became the top two producers of superhero comics in the early 60’s.  For two decades from the 1978 release of Superman:  The Movie through the fizzling out of the Batman franchise in 1997, DC utterly ruled the cinematic landscape while Marvel’s characters were relegated to direct-to-video nonsense.  That all changed with the 2000 release of X-Men, which began a relentless march of Marvel heroes onto the big screen while DC successfully rebooted Batman and produced a single Superman sequel that failed to restart a franchise whose rights are slipping away from the company.  Trying to turn things around, DC and its Time Warner corporate ally Warner Bros have lavished a couple stray hundred million dollars on the first major DC superhero movie to star neither of the company’s leading icons.

Instead, Green Lantern seeks to do what Marvel’s Iron Man did a few years back:  take a character beloved by the comic-reading faithful, make an inspired casting choice to play him and wrap it up in an endlessly expensive uber-blockbuster that makes said character an international marketing phenomenon.  Easy, right?  Well, a funny thing happened on the way to turning Hal Jordan into the next Tony Stark.  For all Ryan Reynolds’ hard work in a role that fits him like his glowing CGI super suit, Green Lantern is really nothing more than an OK time-killer of a superhero movie.  Riddled with narrative shortcuts and underdeveloped (though well-cast) characters, Lantern relies on its high spirits and good intentions to get us through a plot that never catches fire.  The sequel-generating tag in the end credits just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever:  it’s probably wishful thinking.

While Green Lantern is nothing special, I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel at all because its central character really is a great hero I’d like to see in a better movie.  Reynolds is a perfect choice for the role, with the square-jawed sincerity to speak that utterly awesome Lantern Oath (“In brightest day… in blackest night… no evil shall escape my sight.  Let those who worship evil’s might… beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!”) without a twinge of irony, while at the same time able to wink and joke his way around some of the character’s more absurd attributes.  How cool is it to finally see a superhero movie where no one who knows Hal Jordan is fooled for a minute to see him wearing a mask?

And you can’t help but get behind the central will/fear metaphor as it relates to Hal’s heroic journey:  the movie is working hard to raise a generation of kids who’d do the right thing because that’s what Green Lantern would do.  While Lively isn’t quite the revelation as Carol that Warner Bros.’ hype machine suggested she’d be, she’s got a nice goodness and truth about her that make her the ideal girlfriend for a hero who’s power flows from his sense that he’s doing the right thing.  And Taika Waititi makes a fun best friend for Hal to bounce his Lantern brainstorming off of.  Pity neither of their characters ultimately has much to do, especially once the climax kicks in.

For the full review, go to lamarsmoviepalace.com or click  here.