Green Lantern review

9 Jul

DC comics has been shitting itself recently (not literally). The reason for said shitting-of-selves has been caused by Marvel comics. Marvel have floated a wide range of superhero projects on the movie market, with the likes of Thor, X-Men, Iron Man and Blade among others achieving great success. That was over one decade. In the same period, DC have released one Superman movie and two Batman movies. They were good, and indeed in the case of Batman they were hugely successful, but they haven’t enjoyed the broad success that Marvel has enjoyed.

This, the Green Lantern, was an attempt to launch a less well known property onto the general public. The Green Lantern, as directed by a geriatric Kiwi, Martin Campbell, had a budget of over $300 million. And you can tell.

This movie suffers slightly from a case of style over substance. The computer effects are great. Blake Lively is gorgeous (even if she wears so much make up she looks Hispanic at times), Ryan Reynolds is buff and easy going in the way that he always is. Tim Robbins hams it up as a crooked senator and Mark Strong uses his intense eyebrows to the same effect that he achieved in Robin Hood as Sinestro (probably the villain planned for the sequel). But while the cast are running around being likeable, there is a palpable lack of urgency in every major plot development, and oddly, although a great deal of exposition is delivered, not a lot is actually explained.

This is partially because the Green Lantern is perhaps the worst written of all DC characters. He has a magic ring (tech-based for those post-1959 revamp) that allows him to forge solid energy constructs, essentially granting him unlimited power. However if something is yellow (the power of fear, obv!) he cannot affect it. And through the wearing of a tiny mask, no one can recognise who he is, a la Clark Kent. Before that he is an ordinary guy (who drives fast cars, sleeps with hot girls and flies fighter jets with Blake Lively). We don’t get any sense of who Hal Jordon is. Sure, he doesn’t like responsibility, but beyond a weird flashback about his father, we don’t get any sense of motivation. Lively doesn’t bring much to her underwritten role, and most characters fall a little flat. Peter Saarsgard shines as a mad scientist, however he isn’t given enough air time and feels tacked on at occasionally.

It feels at times, that Martin Campbell didn’t understand the Green Lantern. We are treated to beautiful sweeping shots of space and a gloriously weird planet, however, we don’t spend much time there. We spend most of our time following some trans-dimensional smoke octopus guy who sucks the yellow out of people, an intergalactic bogeyman. Parallax is non-threatening and is merely a foil for a plot.

In short, Green Lantern is all fur coat and no knickers. They’ve spent a fortune making the film look good and spent far too little developing a script with meaning, character and wit. By all means go and see it, but expect popcorn entertainment and nothing more. The Green Lantern won’t be remembered as the greatest comic book film of 2011, but it is a pleasant light show nonetheless.

Sean Cameron



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