Thursday, June 16, 2011

Green Lantern (2011)


IMDb link

Director: Martin Campbell
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Robbins, Mark Strong, others.
Release Date: June 16, 2011 (UAE)

In a year that has seen two excellent superhero movies from Marvel already with another promising one on the way, rival super-hero publisher DC’s only outing this year is Green Lantern, and what an embarrassing movie it is. While fans of the comic-book hero are bound to be disappointed, the movie does not hold much for those new to the Green Lantern lore either. There is enough of the good-looking lead pair and by-the-numbers action and special-effects to keep the summer-movie audience engaged during its runtime, but it has little to call it a good movie. In an era when the standard for superhero movies has been set by The Dark Knight (the same studio behind Green Lantern as well) this film is a comparatively dismal effort.

Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a test pilot for the US Air Force. After a botched-up day at work (Jordan crashes a new fighter jet after sacrificing his wing-man as bait), he becomes the first human chosen to join the Green Lantern Corps, an age-old team of warriors who police the Universe against any threats. Green is the color of will, a good energy that gives the Green Lanterns their power. Unfortunately for them, Yellow is the color of fear, a bad energy that gives power to the evil being Parallax that devours worlds – a being so powerful that no lantern, alone or in teams, can stop it. Damsel-in-distress Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) is Jordan’s boss and unnecessary love interest. Dr Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) plays an ugly and uncool Silver Surfer-esque , Earth-based agent for Parallax, and Sinestro (Mark Strong) is a politician in the guise of a Green Lantern – he talks a lot and promises much but hardly does anything.

Ryan Reynolds tries to play off his charm to make his character likeable, but it works against him this time. The role of Hal Jordan, one of DC’s leading second-string characters, demanded a "Hero", someone who could embody honesty, bravery and the willingness to set things right for the sake of doing right. These qualities have so well been embodied by many other actors playing superheroes in varying degrees based on the hero they play (Tobey Maguire, Christian Bale and chief among them: Christopher Reeves). Reynolds' Hal Jordan though is just a goofy guy who cannot be trusted with anything. The "Green Lantern" ring finds him for what is in him, a quality that even he may not be aware of, and daresay the ring may be right, but the movie fails in showing it to us. The lack of any growth in the character becomes the movie’s biggest flaw. Without seeing Hal Jordan grow from a regular guy to a world-saving hero, he's just a guy in a bad CGI suit and a bandit mask.

The grand finale of the movie, the supposed action set-piece is also a half-baked attempt. With thousands of Green Lanterns from all over the universe unable to save Earth, Hal Jordan manages just that, not because he is fearless or has "humanity". It is because the rest of them are not clever enough to think of the plan that Hal Jordan comes up with. Either director Martin Campbell did not seem to have understood what the modern super-hero movie requires, or was the wrong man for the job. His final product lacks interesting characters and suffers from predictability, bad effects and a haphazard narrative. Presenting it in 3D is also likely to give further impetus to the detractors of this technology. Though Warner Bros may have been hoping for a new franchise with Green Lantern, its fate may as well be the same as the title of Ryan Reynolds’ previous movie, buried.

My Rating --> 1.5 of 5

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