Review – Green Lantern

Originally posted at The Portland Mercury 06/16/2011

“Green Lantern” is pretty goddamned dumb.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. It looked pretty goddamned dumb in every trailer and TV ad. This was no misrepresentation; no confused, bumbling media machine improperly selling their sci-fi epic. “Green Lantern” is exactly the giant-size lump of glowing green stupid it’s always appeared to be.

Being dumb isn’t necessarily a condemnation when it comes to the story of Hal Jordan, a hotshot test pilot so courageous that a dying purple alien gifts him with the Green Lantern ring, which allows him to tap into the green light of pure will, one of the strongest energy sources in the universe. With that power, he can manifest solid objects via the power of his imagination, and combat those turned evil by the yellow light of fear.

That’s dumb; but that’s the story, and variations on that story have worked over the course of Green Lantern’s comics history. Maybe not frequently, but people have taken that engine, and used it to fuel some fun storytelling. Not here, though.

When it’s letting itself be a goofy sci-fi movie filled with outlandish things like Mohawked Fish-Chicken Space Cops (voiced by Geoffrey Rush) it’s fine enough. But the movie is largely a lazy homage to Top Gun, with some decent sci-fi action haphazardly slapped into this basic program:

10 – expel mountains of exposition
20 – decline to visually augment said exposition with anything resembling “visual storytelling”
30 – do exactly the opposite of what the exposition just dictated
40 – insert big dumb action sequence, now made inert by its total uselessness.
50 – GOTO 10.

Ryan Reynolds gives a good performance in a subpar movie, a.k.a the entirety of his resume. Peter Sarsgaard is a great villain lost in a movie that doesn’t deserve him. Blake Lively does 2 things of note; look like young Jane Seymour, and provide Hal his motivation: “If you didn’t quit something you were good at for once in your life, what’s the worst that could happen?” That’s a call-to-arms, right there.

A scene near the beginning works as metaphor for “Green Lantern” as a whole. Hal Jordan is trying to wrap his nephew’s birthday present via a wad of newspaper and absurdly long strips of scotch tape – all while doing 90mph in a residential area. Such is the film: A pretty thing, covered up by a bunch of throwaway words, badly taped together, just barely avoiding catastrophic crash status.

Published in: on 12/31/2010 at 1:11 am  Comments Off on Review – Green Lantern  
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