One thing I got out of the new Warner Brothers / DC Comics comic book extravaganza ‘Green Lantern’ is that the character of Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) never seems to dress for comfort. Late night at work crunching numbers, Carol Ferris is wearing a tight cocktail dress. A normal day at work, Carol Ferris is wearing a tight evening gown. Minding her own business at home, waiting patiently to be abducted by the bad guy, Carol Ferris is sporting a slinky snug club party dress. Somebody needs to buy Carol Ferris a pair of loose fitting jeans and some sweat pants. I did get more out of ‘Green Lantern’, a movie that’s getting murdered pretty good right now, than Carol Ferris’ suspect apparel decisions, and for a movie about some guy who wears a magic ring to fight space crime it wasn’t all that bad. I didn’t say ‘magic’ did I? It’s not magic.
So all that stuff about God, and the universe in six days and ‘Let There Be Light’… forget all of that. The Universe was actually created by these prunish looking aliens who wear super long capes and glass bubbles on their enormous heads. Powering this universe of theirs is the green power of ‘Will’ but the word is that some time ago ‘Will’ was running low so these immortals tried to harness the yellow power of ‘Fear’. Kind of like what we’re dealing with over here with oil deficiencies and Wind Power. As it turns out Fear, while plenty powerful, is plenty evil and it has turned one of these immortals into the completely uncontrollable being known as Parallax (Clancy Brown). Fortunately for The Universe, the legendary Lantern Abin Sur (Temura Morrison), the Lantern’s being the all powerful galactic police force, put Parallax down and all is good. That is until Parallax found a way to get free and now all is not good anymore and tragically Abin Sur has been mortally wounded.
Say hello to ace fighter pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds). Irresponsible, brash, tortured, flip, aloof and the perfect candidate to be the first earthling chosen by the ring to take the place of the dying Abin Sur. For reasons we can’t imagine. Hal has issues, most of which we are not going to get into, but his main issue is avoiding responsibility and avoiding his cocktail dress wearing ex-girlfriend and boss Carol Ferris.
Skipping past all of the dead alien investigations, fear infected scientists, experimental jet fighters and Area 51 stuff, since the ring has chosen Hal he is quickly shunted off to Oa, the immortal homeworld, for some training and some verbal and physical abuse from Top Intergalactic Cop Sinestro (Mark Strong). We all know with great power comes great responsibility, right? Hal wants nothing to do with this responsibility but the ring chose him for a reason. We still don’t why. But Parallax is on its way to earth, a slight layover before it makes it way to its number one destination of destroying Oa, and it looks like this brand new Lantern who runs from responsibility and is filled with fear is the only one in the universe that can stop it. I would say it’s looking really bad for The Earth right now, but a dead planet earth is bad for sequel opportunities. In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night… yada yada….
Another thing I got out of this movie is the Green Lantern Core is filled with assholes. There are literally thousands of Lanterns in the universe but Hal Jordan had to beg these jerk off immortal guardians for the privilege of dying for the planet earth, and when they finally said ‘okay’ all they left him with was ‘good luck’. How about sending a couple of troops to help my man out?
As far as director Martin Campbell’s movie goes, what we have with ‘Green Lantern’ from where I was a sitting, is a two hour, unwieldy, shallow and fast moving collection impressive explosive computer generated pyrotechnics. This is not necessarily a criticism. You see, when ‘Green Lantern’ was being explosive, flying through galaxies, introducing us to the hordes of interesting looking if not completely useless other lanterns, this movie was a lot of fun to watch. However when the movie became grounded in earthly issues such as Hal and his various family issues, Hal and his problems with his girlfriend, Peter Sarsgaard’s Professor Hammond and his issues with his old man The Senator (Tim Robbins) ‘Green Lantern’ became less interesting to sit through. It’s not that the movie doesn’t need this stuff, because even the most insanely action filled movie requires some kind of dramatic base to launch itself upon, there just wasn’t enough time dedicated to these issues to make them worthwhile.
Ideally, this being an origins movie, you would like to see the time taken to establish characters and history before gradually revealing the hero that is to be. The first ‘Superman’ movie is a classic example of this approach, but that was over thirty years ago. With the perceived short attention spans of today’s audiences and the outrageous costs of these films (an est. 300m), you better be able to squeeze some character development in-between stuff blowing up. That didn’t really happen here.
We can say that Ryan Reynolds does his best to rise above these restrictions with his trademark sardonic wit and high level of fitness, though his transition from irresponsible earthbound schlub to the galaxies mightiest hero was suspect at best, this being a more of a script shortcoming than a shortcoming of Reynolds performance. And Blake Lively might be just a little too young and adorable to be ace fighter pilot and the Vice President of a major corporation? A little?
I imagine, if there’s another ‘Green Lantern’ movie in the future, that it would be better than this one simply because it should have more focus than this one did. But all that being said, this installment of ‘Green Lantern’ still filled the bill for explosive, entertaining, summertime entertainment. Flawed, but fun. Come on now.