Just when I thought that the summer was going to be defined by great films, I watched Green Lantern. Based on a storyline that’s more suited for Saturday morning cartoons than a cinematic production, the film had the awkward feel of a children’s made-for-TV animation that got repurposed as a live-action adult movie.
The Green Lantern Corps is an intergalactic police force that utilizes the green energy of Will, and serving is considered an extraordinary honor. The universe, we learn, is split into 3,600 sectors. The Green Lantern who is assigned to our little galaxy has a disastrous encounter with the evil creature Parallax, and it’s his ring that selects ne’er-do-well test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) as the next Green Lantern.
Jordan is a cocky daredevil in the Top Gun vein, but he runs from difficult situations, including his unresolved emotions about the death of his fearless and beloved test pilot father. His on-again, off-again girlfriend is Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), daughter of Ferris Aircraft president Carl (Jay O. Sanders) and a superb test pilot in her own right.
Meanwhile, back in Green Lantern intergalactic headquarters, Sinestro (Mark Strong) leads the Corps and debates the threat of Parallax (who is powered by “yellow fear” rather than “green will” energy) with the council of Guardians, an immortal circle of wise puppets who look like rejects from E.T.’s prop department.
Sinestro doesn’t believe humans are good enough to be in the Corps and tells Jordan quite bluntly on their first meeting, in what was intended to pass as some sort of interpersonal tension.
If you guess that Parallax is the evil bad guy creature that the Corps can’t stop but that new Green Lantern Hal Jordan can because of his new-found courage, you’d be right. But it’s all so extraordinarily predictable that’s not a spoiler, just a statement of the obvious.
And that’s the core problem with Green Lantern, that the story is so asinine, so rife with clichés that it was boring and completely un-engaging, a factor exacerbated by the fact that the majority of the special effects look like they were done for a highbudget kids cartoon, not a full-blown big screen flick.
There are enough half-baked story elements that it’s quite possible the director’s cut will be at least 90 minutes longer. One character changes into an evil scientist (using a story element that is completely illogical) and can read minds, but that goes nowhere. There are computer-controlled fighter planes that come and go, a secret government organization that’s in control of alien research, and a gang of Ferris Aircraft employees who beat up Jordan, who retaliates with his new-found superpowers. Are they hurt? Do they come back and apologize later?
From the tedious 3-D effects to the pantheon of silly characters and the never-ending parade of clichés and cinematic tropes, my best advice to you is to just skip Green Lantern and spend your time elsewhere. You’ll thank me for it.