Green Lantern Movie Review

FILMS based on comics are quickly cluttering up the cinema box office.

Marvel seems to have stolen a march this year with the epic X-Men: First Class, while Thor was passable.

And they still have to release Captain America. DC seems to be hedging their bets on next year’s grand finale to Chris Nolan‘s Batman trilogy – The Dark Knight Rises.

However, this year they have thrown their hat into ring with second-tier superhero Green Lantern.

Clearly, they’ll want to match – at least – what’s already been released in 2011 but there must be an in-built fear that their production could become the new Daredevil or, heaven forbid, Jonah Hex, and there’s a fine line between success and failure.

With Green Lantern, director Martin Campbell cast the always-reliable Ryan Reynolds in the role of cocky fighter-polit-cum-slacker Hal Jordan/Green Lantern.

Reynolds takes a partially dodgy script – riddled with tiresome cliches (he still has trouble dealing with the death of his father) – and still manages to come out the other side with his credibility in tact.

When the world of Oa – populated by all manner of Green Lanterns – discovers it is in danger from threatening-looking dark cloud Parallax off goes Abin Sur to do battle with it.

However, he comes a cropper and heads for the nearest planet in search of someone who can take his ring and take over his mantle.

Up steps irresponsible Jordan, who is in the midst of what could turn out to be a disciplinary hearing at his work after he destroys a fighter jet.

Replacing Abin Sur, he struggles to cope with the pressure of being a superhero – not helped by Lantern leader Sinestro (Mark Strong) and his refusal to accept Jordan among the ranks – a nice side story that could grow legs for any planned sequel.

A further hurdle arises when Hector Hammond (a creepy and criminally underused Peter Sarsgaard) examines the body of Abin Sur and is inadvertently possessed with the power of Parallax which results in him turning into a 21st century Elephant Man.

A battle ensues between Jordan and Hammond – but that seems like a sideshow until Parallax arrives on earth looking to consume the fear of us mortals.

There’s quite a bit not to like about Green Lantern. First – the pointless (and incessant) need to chuck post-production 3D into a film that doesn’t use it consistently, rendering it all a bit ‘meh’.

Then there’s the cringeworthy ‘sincere’ scenes with Reynolds. Seeing him as Jordan, the cocky devil-may-care smooth talker, it seems out of character when he tries to be heartfelt to the point you don’t believe him.

Reynolds does funny. He does it well. And he can do cocky in his sleep. But trying to make him sincere when Jordan rarely cares about anyone other than himself is barely plausible.

We can add to that the under-used Sarsgaard (who also has ‘daddy issues’).

And finally, there is the dodgy CGI effects at the beginning of Green Lantern that do nothing but make it feel like an animation.

However, there is quite a few things to enjoy with this latest comic adaptation.

As already stated, Reynolds’ charisma shines through regardless of the script and dialogue FOUR writers provided him with.

And as the film progresses there are some impressive action sequences (a fighter jet chase and the battle between Jordan and Parallax, to name two).

Fortunately, the initial fears over how Jordan’s energy suit would look on screen are banished for the most part. It looks impressive – and Reynolds’ physique will leave most men feeling somewhat out of condition.

Blake Lively – as Carol Ferris – is given a few scenes to show she’s not the typical damsel in distress. Only for her to then become…well, a damsel in distress, thus negating the earlier parts where she shows she can stand up for herself.

On the whole, Green Lantern is an enjoyable, if flawed, romp that doesn’t reach the heights of an Iron-Man, Dark Knight or X-Men: First Class.

But we can thank the lord it doesn’t plumb the depths of Jonah Hex or bore audiences like Superman Returns did.

Stick to 2D where possible and remain in your seat when the credits roll.

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