“Green Lantern” Movie Review


     Early in the DC Comics adaptation “Green Lantern”, we learn that the Green Lantern Corps are essentially the police officers of the universe, charged with keeping the peace and fighting for good.  Imagine if you were in need of their assistance and what shows up is Ryan Reynolds in a skin tight glowing green spandex costume and a green “Lone Ranger” like mask with a beak.  Feeling safe already are you? Well welcome to a world I thought was left behind with the god awful “Batman and Robin”.  That being the world of campy superhero films complete with nipple costumes and “Wonder Twin” rings.  Yes, Green Lantern has it all and it might be one huge step back for this genre.

     Director Martin Campbell was handed the template to make a proper super hero film directly from Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight).  If the Green Lantern Corps are the cops of the universe why not make the film a pulpy crime drama?  In better hands, the material provided by Green Lantern’s comic origins could have provided us a much more quality picture, but that was not in the cards.  The film’s mistakes begin with the miscasting of Ryan Reynolds in the lead role.  I mean the guy is Van Wilder for god’s sake!  This isn’t to be mistaken with the original thought that Michael Keaton was miscast in 1989’s Batman.  Fact is, Keaton played the Bruce Wayne character perfectly, but Reynolds falters as Hal Jordan and we never really believe in him when its time to get serious and save the world.  What we’re given instead is enough cheese to make the town of Tillamook proud.

     Hal Jordan (Reynolds) is a gifted fighter jet test pilot who is chosen by a dying member of the Green Lantern Corps to take his place and become Earth’s representative.  As he slowly accepts his new found power, he is brought to the Lantern’s originating planet for training and is thought to be incapable of harnessing the powers given him through the Green Lantern ring.  Meanwhile, the body of the dead Lantern, Abin Sur, is found by the government and scientist Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) is assigned to run tests.  The cause of the Abin’s death was a run in with a powerful evil doer named Parallax, who is a giant black tentacle cloud that reveals a huge bulbous head when it wants to say or do something threatening. Each time his head appeared, I thought it would cackle like one of the martians from “Mars Attacks!” The remnants of Parallax within Abin infect Hector Hammond and soon he becomes a disturbing, yet powerful abomination not unlike John Merrick in “The Elephant Man.”  Somehow this triggers Parallax to come to earth and wreak havoc, which is where the Green Lantern comes into play in his attempt to save human kind.  I’d bring up Blake Lively’s role as Carol Ferris (Hal’s love interest), but you could subtract her from the film and never skip a beat.

     To be fair, as a summer film the Green Lantern has a few entertaining moments within it.  The special effects aren’t great, but they are decent.  Why anyone writing for this film would choose to involve a runaway helicopter in an action sequence is beyond me.  The scene is fine and may be the most spectacular of the film but could it ever replace “You’ve got me...Who’s got you?”.  If I’m watching Green Lantern and thinking about Superman, that’s not a good thing. 

     Director Martin Campbell has reinvented popular characters before when he did it for James Bond in 2006’s “Casino Royale.”  He was also responsible for last years mess of a Mel Gibson reintroduction with “The Edge of Darkness.”  I’m not sure why the producers hired him to work with this material in particular because it doesn’t seem to fit him.  The tone and the writing are way off and the casting doesn’t fit the characters.  Earlier this summer, “Thor” and “X-Men First Class” set the standard which this summer’s offerings would be judged and the fact is, Green Lantern doesn’t cut it.  Instead of being creative, I feel like the filmmakers have made a homage to a Joel Schumacher Batman film and no thats not a compliment.  GRADE: D