This summer has seen three big Hollywood films (Thor; X-Men: First Class; Green Lantern) based on comic book superheroes released in theatres with a fourth one, Captain America, due out on July 22. Greenwich Library will be showing the animated 2006 Ultimate Avengers film on July 21, one day before the Cap film opens (details here). Face it, there's no getting away from the superheroes!
Of the films released so far this summer, Green Lantern was supposed to have made a big impact on the box office. The projected first installment in a potentially long running movie series, based on this classic character, Green Lantern the movie just doesn't make the grade.
In a nutshell, the film has way too much going on. We got the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic police force run by the Guardians of the Universe (and possibly based on this classic science fiction series), that covers the 3500-plus sectors of the galaxies who lose some of their own when the evil Parallax (a former Guardian) wiped them out. One of the dying Lanterns, Abin Sur, bequethes his power ring & lantern to an Earthman, cocky but lovable (I guess) test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), who has his own problems. Later, part of Parallex's DNA from Sur's body is injected into the body of scientist (and Hal's rival for the affections of Carol Ferris, played by Blake Lively) Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) during an autopsy. Hector starts getting (and looking) weird.
Meanwhile, Green Lantern Sinestro (Mark Strong) disses Hal, causing the latter to quit the Corps after a brief training session on the Guardians' home planet, Oa. (For some reason, Hal gets to keep the ring & lantern.) While Hal files around on Earth doing good & staring at his navel, Sinestro tries to rally the other members of the Corps to attack Parallex all together. And where's Parallex during all this? On his way to Earth, where... But I've said too much already.
Green Lantern the movie has enough plot for three or four films. There was no reason, aside from making the fans of the character happy, to cram so much detail into the film. The two leads, Reynolds and Lively, lack presence and charisma, there's too much busy stuff going on, and by the time you get to the end, you're worn out. Director Martin Campbell, who's done better movies (GoldenEye; Mask of Zorro; Casino Royale) and the four (!) credited screenwriters never get a good handle on the characters and situations. If the producers hope this film will spark a long running series, they're mistaken. Green Lantern has lots of neat special effects and an inherent sense of adventure, but it's overcomplicated storyline and rushed pace will turn off the average moviegoer and potential fan. Here's hoping the Captain America film does better.