Green Lantern

Green Lantern PosterRating: ★½☆☆☆

Of all the second-rate comic book movies that has occupied most of 2011’s summer, “Green Lantern” is the only one of its crowd without a saving grace. “Captain America: The First Avenger” saw a true hero in Steve Rogers, giving as much attention to his human character as with his superhuman attributes. It was the goofy playfulness of “Thor” that made its overall silliness acceptable. “X-Men: First Class” was a prequel that founded itself on prior knowledge, instead of avoiding it. “Green Lantern” doesn’t have a singular thing that could make it more than what we already expect. It fulfills the requisites of the superhero genre, then immediately stops trying.

Millions of years ago, long before the nuisance of 3-D, an assembly of aliens called the Guardians formed an intergalactic peace-keeping organization. Each member, called a Green Lantern, was assigned to protect one of the 3,600 sectors of the universe. We’re not sure how many planets or galaxies each sector covers, but we trust the judgment of the Guardians. With the whole universe accounted for, the blue, big headed Guardians have decided to spend the rest of their immortal lives in a planet called Oa. This peace is interrupted when a colossal, evil force named Parallax figured that it would be real evil if he started to eat planets; Earth and Oa are on his menu.


Meanwhile, on Earth, our central human characters who coincidentally all have daddy issues, are introduced. Hal Jordan is a reckless test pilot whose actions on the job are always questioned by his authorities. When a severely injured Green Lantern crash lands on our planet, Hal is the one chosen by the Lantern’s ring as his replacement. His duty later lands him in Oa, where he meets the Guardians. Plot details are discussed, obvious questions are asked, and shallow dilemmas are regarded with undeserved seriousness as a delay for the obligatory climactic confrontation, like taking 90 minutes to get to a destination 60 minutes away.

“Green Lantern” never earns involvement with its audience by detaching itself from all senses of reality. In a scene before Hal received the ring, he is kidnapped by a green ball of energy which flies him several miles. When the power of the ring is bestowed upon him, Hal hovers through the open atmosphere to, uhm, impress a girl. The world is entirely oblivious of his superhero activities. Either that or the ring also grants him invisibility.

Ryan Reynold and Blake LivelyThe remaining characters are just about as naive as Hal. The Guardians, whose planet is also facing literal consumption, are unmoved by the gravity of the situation. They sit in their pillars, filled with wisdom… pondering. I assume the state of Parallax for most of the movie isn’t so different. He, or it, is a giant, sloppy, shapeless blob of goop, gunk, and scum. There’s not much for him to do before the obligatory climactic confrontation on Earth. I imagine Parallax floating in space, filled with hatred… scheming.

I may have neglected to mention Hal’s love interest, Carol, who is played by Blake Lively. Ms. Lively was given a small part in “The Town”, but that was a real role. Here, she is downgraded as the object of intimacy that, when secrets are found out, will also become a cheap target of villainy. Behind every superhero is a woman waiting to be captured.

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Green Lantern