Review: Green Lantern
No matter how bad things get, something good is out there, just over the horizon…
Hal Jordan is a test pilot chosen by a “dying, purple alien” named Abin Sur to take his place and become a member of the Green Lantern Corps – an intergalactic police force tasked with keeping peace in the universe. Chosen as he has the ability to overcome fear, Hal Jordan must rise to task of not only dispelling the doubt within himself but fending off the twin threats of Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) and Parallax to stop Earth from being destroyed.
Even for a comic book, the premise of Green Lantern is slightly out there and at times director Martin Campbell (The Mask of Zorro, Casino Royale) recognises this, having a few laughs at the film’s expense.
However what’s surprises about Green Lantern is just how bog standard the narrative and direction ultimately are. It’s sorely missing a spark that enlivens proceedings and more often than not, the film strings scenes together in a predictable manner.
It’s by-the-numbers directing and scripting mean whole sequences lack energy, characters barely have any vitality in their interactions. Featuring plot holes the size of asteroids, Mark Strong’s Sinestro tries to valiantly plug them with chunks of exposition, the film teetering on being pedestrian. There’s a rule in filmmaking, “show, don’t tell” and Green Lantern has to get through so much mythology that it makes the drama inert.
Much is squandered, whether it’s the unsatisfying relationships, disappointing villaims or the lethargic romance. Even worse is the squandering of this fantastic world, the Green Lantern corps as they’re relegated to secondary status as Jordan’s plight is given more screen time. Animated film Green Lantern: First Flight managed to introduce the corps in much more organic way, embracing the galactic possibilities. By comparison this film is grounded.
Reynolds is fine as Jordan but the rest of the cast are quiet (apart from Sarsgaard’s hammy villain) and despite the whole world being at stake, the stakes aren’t felt. It’s not a total bore, there’s some very imaginative effects on display and the climactic scene is good, if a little obvious. Green Lantern is not a disaster; just a disappointingly average take on a universe that deserved better.