Movie Review: Green Lantern (2011)

Posted: November 27, 2011 in Drama

The Guardians of the Universe live on the planet Oa.  The Guardians have divided the universe into 3600 sectors and have created rings out of the green life force will power. The lantern corps monitors the 3600 sectors of space. The greatest threat to peace in the universe is an entity called Parallax. (Clancy Brown)  A member of the Lantern Corps named Abin Sur (Temeura Morrison) has Parallax trapped on the planet Ryut.  When three aliens crash onto Ryut, Parallax sucks the fear out of them, and breaks out of the prison planet holding him.  Six months later on sector 2814, Parallax attacks Abin Sur.

Meanwhile on earth, Air Force test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds is pushing the boundaries of his own endurance and wrecking the planes he tests at the same time.  One day, Abin Sur crash lands on Earth, and gives the Green Lantern Ring to Hal.  Now Hal has to monitor the universe and guard against Parallax who’s coming to attack Earth with his 3600 guardians from across the universe.  At the same time Hal’s rival Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) injects himself with Abin Sur’s blood, to gain his power. What Hector doesn’t know is that Abin Sur’s blood is infected with Parallax’s evil.  Hector Hammond kills his father Senator Hammond (Tim Robbins), and kidnaps Hals’s girlfriend, Carol Ferris  (Blake Lively) Can Hal save his girlfriend on Earth, and stop Parallax before he gets to Earth on his way to Oa?

This is a very conventional superhero movie. There were lots of special effects, people screaming, people being saved, cars crashing. Five years ago I would have probably looked a lot more kindly on this film than I do now.  Now I view all superhero movies against the template of the Dark Knight, or even Iron Man, and they fail miserably.  There is no complexity of thought in this movie, there’s a hero, a couple of villains, a damsel in distress, and nothing that extends beyond those simple constructs.  The Dark Knight had big thought provoking ideas, even Iron Man went outside the box at times. Green Lantern is nothing but mindless action for the sake of action, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but this movie was not done especially well.  Ryan Reynolds tried to slip into Robert Downey Jr. mode, suave, funny, at ease with the ladies, but alas, Ryan Reynolds is not as good an actor as Robert Downey Jr. so he can’t pull off the dichotomy of hero and man with personal weaknesses.  Blake Lively’s role was underwritten to the point of her having nothing of worth to say, and that’s a shame because she was quite good in The Town, in a well-written role.  There were a lot of good actors, thoroughly wasted in this movie, Tim Robbins, and Angela Bassett had absolutely forgettable roles in this movie, and even Peter Sarsgaard , an actor of some repute was underutilized.  The writers just went through the motions banking on massive special effects (which weren’t that great) and a likable leading actor: that formula didn’t work.

Green Lantern:  Green with envy at The Dark Knight.

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