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Saturday, June 18, 2011



Green Lantern is a 2011 superhero action film directed by Martin Campbell that tells the origins of Earth's first addition to the Green Lantern Corps. When hotshot fighter pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) manages to destroy a new fighter jet during a simulated dogfight, he comes under heavy scrutiny from his superiors and his peers, especially his wingman (and love interest) Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), for being reckless and irresponsible. Later that night, Hal is whisked to a remote swamp by a mysterious ball of green energy. Once there, he meets an alien who has crash-landed on Earth - the alien soon bestows a mysterious green ring and lantern to Hal and tells him that the ring has chosen him to succeed him. Confused, Hal takes the items home and begins to ponder their power. He soon learns the basics of their use, but as soon as he discovers the ring's hidden power, the same ball of energy takes him to a faraway planet called Oa, where thousands of Green Lanterns reside. Hal begins to learn the ways of the Lanterns via a crash course from lead Lantern Sinestro (Mark Strong). Meanwhile, back on Earth, an aspiring scientist name Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) receives the honor of conducting the autopsy on the aforementioned alien. In the process, however, he becomes infected by another alien source hidden inside the creature's body. Almost simultaneously, the Lanterns learn of an old enemy named Parallax spreading throughout the galactic sectors in the form of a new type of evil that threatens to take over the universe.

To be fair, I'm selling the storyline a little bit short with the synopsis I've given above. There is a little bit more going on than what I've posited already, and it actually comes off as less confusing than what I've written. However, I don't want to delve into too many details lest I give away the entire storyline before you have a chance to give it a gander. We actually get a relatively interesting story to follow. Sure, it's not brilliant, and it's lack in anything truly unpredictable, but it does well enough to keep the audience engaged in something more than the characters. There are holes here and there, but for the most part, the screenplay works relatively well considering the genre.

If anything's really selling the movie as a success, it's the level of acting. It's nothing truly spectacular, but the cast does a decent job with what they're given. Reynolds always finds a way to be engaging and charismatic in his own off-beat way, so he does well as our central lead. There are a few bigger names that are given screen-time but don't necessarily bring much to the table (here's looking at you, Miss Lively and Tim Robbins). We actually get some semi-strong performances from Sarsgaard (whom I never would've recognized aside from his voice) and Strong (who I also probably wouldn't have recognized), two actors who generally bring a higher standard to their roles. We are also graced with some rather good vocal performances from some of our CGI characters. Be on the listen for the likes of Michael Clarke Duncan and Geoffrey Rush as two of the Green Lanterns who aid Hal in his training.

We also get a rather well-crafted soundtrack for the film, and although it's not the most stellar score I've ever heard, I would like to tip my hat to James Newton Howard for his work.

Overall, Green Lantern has its moments, but it never truly pushes itself beyond a level of "good." I think it had the potential to be something more, but for whatever reason, the filmmakers decided to hold back a little too much, going for something rote and a little contrived instead. In different hands, this movie could have been a smash-hit, but as it stands, it will probably be a fun once-view that will quickly fade into obscurity. Although, they did leave a set-up for a potential sequel - be sure to stick through the credits for an additional scene (it comes halfway through the credits, so you don't have to wait all the way through).

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: C+
0.5 Thumbs Up

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