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We Review: Green Lantern

The Green Lantern movie has just popped up on our cinema screens, so I went along to go and see if it was worth any fuss. You might know his mantra of “in brightest day, in blackest night”, but is the movie any GOOD? Hit the jump to read my review (no additives, no fats, no spoilers. Lots of greens).

It looks like comic book to movie translations are the thing at current, and the latest one to hit is Green Lantern. Some of you might not have been aware that there was a superhero called Green Lantern, and that he frequently fought alongside the more famous Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. For the purposes of this review, I’m going to assumed that you’re still….green. As it were.

As you may or may not know, DC (the chaps behind some of the comic characters mentioned above) have decided to reboot their confusing mess of a comic book universe and start again from issue #1 of EVERYTHING. One suspects that the movie incarnation of Green Lantern, played by Ryan Reynolds, is meant to coincide with the DC universe reboot. If you were not a big fan of the comic books, it might help to know that over the course of Green Lantern’s 50 year (give or take) history, several men have donned the costume, and the movie follows the second (and arguably most famous) Green Lantern, Hal Jordan.

The movie screenplay follows the induction of Hal Jordan into the Green Lantern Corps, a bunch of hyperpowered, multispecied, green intergalactic peacekeepers. Is the movie suitable for someone who is completely new to the Green Lantern stories? I’d say so. The movie gives you a very good overview of what the Green Lantern Corps is, why they exist, and even to quite an extent, how they get their power. All of this is nicely covered in the first 5 minutes of the film, too. The story and dialog, while not, perhaps, as engaging and deep as some would have hoped (given that the Green Lantern comic book series has some deep morality stories behind it), is still pretty suited to introducing new people to the superhero, while attempting to not alienate old fans.

The acting in the movie was about as average as you’ll find; the problem is that Ryan Reynolds’ performance comes off as somewhat cheesy as he delivers his lines. I think it’s the grin and goofy look. I don’t think he is suited to this role, and I am pretty certain that the internet hivemind can easily suggest three or four other actors who might fit the role better. Despite his pretty ripped physique (which the Green Lantern costume goes to great pains to show off), his personality just is not right. He tries to make it work, however, and at least he doesn’t fail completely. His co-star, Blake Lively, on the other hand, had a pretty forgettable performance. In that order. She’s pretty. And she’s forgettable. The better performances came from Peter Sarsgaard and Mark Strong, but either way, you’re not going to be blown away by any of the human actors. It seems to be becoming more and more typical these days that the virtual actors are now more captivating than the real ones.

My biggest criticism of this movie is that, for an action flick, there just was not enough action. The fight scenes are short, scrappy, and too few and far between. You also see too little of Green Lantern’s awesome abilities, and you leave the cinema feeling as if they’d just barely kissed the green cap of the iceberg that is Green Lantern’s power. Frankly, I’ve seen more special effects and action in Days of Our Lives. Maybe they were saving all that for the sequel? I do understand, on the other hand, that there is a fine balance between supersaturating a movie with action, and squirting the movie with a tiny plastic water pistol half-filled with bits of action. Green Lantern manages to fall just short of that delicate balance, sadly.

Despite what you may have heard or read, and despite its problems, it’s not a terrible movie by any means. It’s a good, fun romp and a decent introduction to the Green Lantern story if you have no prior experience with it at all. Because Green Lantern is a superhero movie, you should not expect anything heavily cerebral, which is as it should be: superhero movies are meant to be bright and flashy and fun, which is certainly what you’ll get with this movie. And you really can’t ask more of it than that.

Score: 6 ½ prawns (3½ prawn loss for lackluster story, lackaction movie, and lackbetter actor)

Details

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett, Tim Robbins

Director: Martin Campbell

Producers: Donald De Line, Greg Berlanti

Screenplay: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Release date: 22 June 2011

Running time: 114 minutes

Rating: 10LV

Wait for post-credits scene? Yes