Green Lantern DI
2011 Running time: 114 Certificate: 12 Rating: 3
KA Green Lantern

Synopsis

The DC Comics legend gets the cinematic green light with Ryan Reynolds as hotshot test pilot Hal Jordan, the first human to be recruited into the Green Lantern Corps, sworn keepers of intergalactic peace. Learning to harness his willpower via a special ring, Hal must also master his fear before joining the Corps against its greatest adversary yet - the mega-fiend Parallax. While Bond director Martin Campbell supplies the requisite whizz, bang and zap, the adventure gets a further boost from Mark Strong as chief Lantern Sinestro, Blake Lively as Hal's on-off sweetheart Carol Ferris, and Peter Sarsgaard as his earthly nemesis - and Parallax's puppet - Dr Hector Hammond.

Director

  • Martin Campbell

Cast

  • Ryan Reynolds

  • Blake Lively

  • Peter Sarsgaard

  • Mark Strong

  • Tim Robbins

Review

After protecting the cosmos for over 70 years, you'd think that someone might have given the Green Lantern brigade some on-screen credit before now.

Amazingly, while the movie universe is littered with lesser comic book heroes, this is the first outing for one of the genre's most enduring creations.

Perhaps, as the film's miss-it-and-you're-stuffed prologue explains, it's because there isn't just one Green Lantern, but thousands of them. So choosing one over the others would be unfair.

After all, each is responsible for maintaining order in their own vast sector of the universe, which was divided up gazillions of years ago by immortal 'Guardians' who now just sit around on the planet Oa looking grumpy when things go wrong.

And things couldn't currently go much wronger. See, the rogue guardian called Parallax has just re-appeared as an evil, nebulous mass that feeds on fear. Parallax has already killed three Lanterns and, having mortally wounded the legendary Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), is about to make it four.

But not before the stricken warrior has flown to the nearest inhabited planet where his willpower-channelling ring might seek out a worthy successor. No green trinkets and Spandex leotards for guessing where and who that might be.

Thus fearless aviator Hal Jordan (Reynolds) finds himself the first human to reach Green Lanternhood.

Actually, it isn't the worst time for Hal to become a superhero. His latest aerial antics have almost cost his fellow pilot, ex-girlfriend and Ferris Airlines heiress Carol (Gossip Girl star Lively) a military contract with the influential Senator Hammond (Tim Robbins).

Meanwhile, Hammond's son, the eminent 'xenobiologist' Hector (Sarsgaard), has been infected with Parallax's evil yellow essence (yellow being the colour of fear) while performing a top-secret autopsy on Abin Sur.

Despite giving him the ability to read minds, the goop also turns him into the nastier twin of Eric Stoltz in Mask.

Naturally, before Hal can go thwarting mad geniuses, getting the girl, and saving the fearful souls of everyone on Earth, he must learn how to be Lantern.

So it's off to Oa for stern lessons in willpower and responsibility from an alien colleague, voiced by Geoffrey Rush and bearing a marked resemblance to the fishy dude from Hellboy, a combat coach with a cosmically un-PC name (Michael Clarke Duncan), and the Lanterns' devilish-looking leader, Sinestro (Strong).

Good and evil done in green and yellow. That's green for box office bucks and the yellow of popcorn. As director of the best two Bond films of the last 20 years - GoldenEye and Casino Royale - you can rely on Martin Campbell to get on with it.

Unfortunately he's underserved here by some ordinary visuals (emphasised in 3D, most noticeably in a particularly shonky helicopter stunt) and a po-faced script that takes itself way too seriously and delivers no surprises.

Led by the ever-watchable Reynolds, the performances are fine. But as written, Hal is a pale imitation of Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark, while we've seen the Sarsgaard, Robbins and Lively characters a dozen times before.

Three parts Superman to one part Iron Man... with a dash of Top Gun. It's a comic-book cocktail for happy hour, a shot of quick-release gratification designed to give you a buzz - from a top shelf of generic brands.

"In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight..." goes the Green Lantern mantra. If there's a vehicle to put that kind of poetry into motion, this is definitely it.

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