I’d be lying if I said I had any interest in the character of the Green Lantern before watching this; the majority of my knowledge of him comes from his card in a deck of Top Trumps, in which the image for him was an Afro-American. So to see Ryan Reynolds cast as the leading man was bewildering, but then I realised he must be like James Bond or something: the ‘green lantern’ was a whole world of people, not just one man. Moving on, the choice to make a film adaptation of a “B” character from comics seems to be a popular one at the moment; Thor, Captain America and Daredevil all have movies either out or upcoming. All of those have varying amounts of momentum already, but Green Lantern is, I believe, still behind the Marvel behemoths. So does it shine brightly or disappear into the blackest night?
After almost killing himself in a routine flight drill, talented but cocky pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is chosen by the ring worn by a top fighter for the ‘Green Lantern Corps’, an intergalactic league of superheroes who maintain peace and justice around the galaxy. Vehemently disagreeing with the rings choice, Jordan fails to come to terms with the task that has been entrusted to him; even Sinestro (the increasingly popular Mark Strong) demoralises him by agreeing that the ring was wrong with its choice. But with the help of his childhood sweetheart Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) he masters his new powers. When a new yet known enemy of the Green Lantern Corps emerges in the form of Parallax and threatens Earth with the power of fear, Hal must conjure all the willpower he can to defeat him.
Not only did I find the casting of Reynolds initially unusual for the aforementioned reason, it was also due to his appearance in another comic book movie: X Men Origins: Wolverine as the villain known as Deadpool. “How can one man be two characters? That’s preposterous!” I hear you cry. Yes, it is, but so is a ring that can create a machine gun (see above). Regardless of his double casting, Reynolds brings his own brashness to the character, and he pretty much plays the same persona that he’s been doing for the past 5 years (with Buried the major exception). You can see Hal Jor.. I mean, Ryan Reynolds in the upcoming comedy The Change-Up in which a married man switches body with his cocky and handsome friend to woo a co-worker. It’s like Freaky Friday, without the freaky.
Blake Lively doesn’t live up to her surname and puts in a yawn inducing shift as the love interest who, if I was Hal, wouldn’t even bother trying to get with; she’s about as convincing as Mel Gibson’s attempt at being Scottish. Strong support from Tim Robbins as Senator Hammond and Peter Sarsgaard as his scientist son and the secondary villain Hector, is welcome. However, a little more explanation of the connection between Parallax (an actually freaky looking cloud-like entity) and Hector wouldn’t have gone amiss.
As expected, CGI is used extensively throughout, with the film opening with a scene which looks solely made up from effects. Whilst for the most part they are impressive, the inevitable sequence of sloppy animation occurs and it’s clearly visible. As for the action, it’s over far too quickly. The final showdown is shorter than the pre-credits opening for Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. Having said that, the final battle in that film is about the length of the whole of Green Lantern so it’s hardly a fair comparison. There are quite a few loose ends that don’t get tied before the end credits roll, but with a sequel already being written I’m sure we’ll see those taken care of in the future.
Not the worst superhero movie I’ve ever seen, but it suffers from being released only a few short weeks after the widely praised X-Men: First Class. However, they’re totally different styles of comic book movies: X Men is an origin story which has more in common in terms of narrative with Batman Begins. Green Lantern is a thoroughly enjoyable 2 hours with some clever creations, decent (albeit rushed) action sequences and a pretty straightforward narrative. Oh, and there’s a scene halfway into the credits that’s worth staying for.