Friday, June 24, 2011

‘Green Lantern’ – In this case, green does not mean go!

Generally green means ‘go’, we learn this from an early age – in the case of the horrid disappointment ‘Green Lantern’ – green means run-away!

‘Green Lantern’ was one of the many favorite comic book characters that I had growing up. After all, what’s not to love? Everyday guy gains incredible power through the use of a ring, with which he gets to prove his heartfelt bravery each and every day! So much different than say Superman, who is virtually indestructible and thus a pretty boring superhero, I mean, where is the conflict? Which is why most of the Superman movies have failed – we can’t identify with Superman, unless you have an ego that has run amuck that is! The premise of ‘Green Lantern’, much like Batman, is wide open for personal identification, conflict and fantastic storytelling; although someone should have told the writers of ‘Green Lantern’, four of them (really? You need four writers to mess this one up?), and director Martin Campbell that.

It is really a shame when a movie that has such great potential to just simply fail to live up to that potential. ‘Green Lantern’ should have been an operatic space epic, filled with stunning scenes, fantastic sequences and lots of great emotional pathos. Instead, we are treated to nearly two hours of worthless storytelling that fails to even connect one scene to the next in a coherent manner; shortly before the midpoint of the film I was wondering when it would be over. The problems in this film are many, not including Ryan Reynolds who has a chance of doing a decent job as Hal Jordan, the human destined to be the hero Green Lantern. Unfortunately he is not given much to work with and must rely on his patented ‘smoldering stare’ to cute his way through the movie. It works for a scene or two and then it just got downright annoying.

Reynolds is Hal Jordan, a reckless fighter pilot; it is his recklessness that causes the program he is working on to shut down – costing jobs and the potential demise of the company. Finding himself now unemployed and wandering the roads pondering his relationship with his father (yes, I am being sarcastic – this is never really fleshed out as it should have been); he stumbles on a dying alien that has crashed landed to Earth. It seems the ‘ring’ has chosen Hal to be the savior of the universe. It is from this point that the film goes from bad to worse as it does little to help us invest in the movie in any way. The rest of the movie becomes a confusing mash of meaningless scenes and even more meaningless exposition as Hal trains and learns what the audience already knows based on the opening credits (really, are we that dumb that we need to be told twice?).

The villain, Peter Sarsgaard as Dr Peter Hammond, has to be the worst I have seen is a superhero movie since the Richard Pryor character Russ Gorman in ‘Superman 3’ (see, I told you the Superman movies, as well as the character, are pretty much worthless). Give Sarsgaard credit though for an over the top performance in a very lame role; in a movie such as this, the villain really needs to be something we can sink our teeth into, not one which leaves us scratching our heads and repeating over and over: ‘really?’.

I am sorry to say, ‘Green Lantern’ is a poorly developed, poorly written and poorly directed mess of a movie. While I am sure there will be another, I for one am hoping that it gets the visionary writing and direction it deserves. The character of Green Lantern is still an amazing idea and deserves an amazing treatment, not this 2 star mess.

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