I’ve always been a sucker for a superhero movie. I think it began with Christopher Reeves as Superman, at one of my first cinema outings as a kid. Skip forward a decade or so, and Tim Burton graces us with Batman. Since then, we seem to have enjoyed a veritable ‘golden age’ of superhero movies, ranging from the sublime to the downright awful. So when The Green Lantern appeared on the horizon, I was filled with a mixture of anticipation and dread.
Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a rebellious test pilot, who has the good (or possibly bad) fortune of being chosen by the ring of a dying alien, to join an intergalactic police force – The Green Lantern Corps – to battle evil throughout his sector of the galaxy. Their power is drawn through their harnessing of Will (which is a lovely green colour). However, an opponent has risen to challenge the Green Lanterns, by the name of Parallax. His power is drawn from his harnessing of Fear (a nasty yellow colour), and so ensues the battle of Green versus Yellow!
The special effects in this film are (as one might expect) stunning. Ryan Reynold’s performance as Hal is the only saving grace for this structurally clichéd superhero film. It’s your typical story of ‘boy wants girl, but girl’s not interested, so boy becomes superhero and saves the galaxy and hopes that’ll be enough to get the girl to like him’. In true Hollywood fashion, it uses visual hype to hide the lacklustre writing/acting.
The female lead (Blake Lively playing Hal’s co-pilot/love interest Carol) was rather bland, but Peter Sarsgaard’s performance as the protagonist infected with the Fear was good enough to balance this out. Tim Robbins and Angela Basset also take supporting roles and Geoffrey Rush voices for one of the Lanterns (Tomar-Re).
One can’t really take these types of superhero films seriously; we don’t expect subtle acting or nuanced dialogue. All we expect is that the hero gets the girl, the evil villain is defeated, and the world is set to rights. In these aspects, The Green Lantern delivers.
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