Friday, June 24, 2011

Green Lantern

Year: 2011
Director: Martin Campbell
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett, Tim Robbins

Plot: Based on the DC comicbook, Green Lantern focuses on Hal Jordan, a rebellious test pilot who is bequeathed a power ring by a dying alien and subsequently recruited into an intergalactic peacekeeping force called the Green Lantern Corps. His first test is protecting earth from Parallax, an alien entity that feeds on fear and has infected a scientist, Hector Hammond, giving him telekinetic powers.

Review: So I read a lot of reviews on this film and most of them were less than stellar. That added to the corny trailer certainly didn't help boost my confidence going in to the cinema for this. But I've read the books, so I had to know for myself if this movie hit the mark or not.

As it turns out, Green Lantern does not suck, not by a long shot. Granted, it's no Dark Knight, but it is rather entertaining. Since this premise involves extraterrestrial adventures, a Star Wars type universe has to be presented, and Martin Campbell does a great job showing it. A lot of CGI was needed to present the Lanterns' training planet Oa as well as their creators, the Guardians of the universe, and other aliens in different shapes and sizes as Lanterns. I'm glad that it all looked very convincing on screen. Also impressive is the CGI used to create the Green Lantern's ring powers, where anything they conjure from their imagination is created by the ring. For GL fans, watching all this is certainly a treat.

Like many heroes, they must endure some self doubt before embracing their destiny, and for this, Ryan Reynolds pulls it off well as Hal Jordan. Hal is basically an irresponsible guy still scarred from a traumatic event in his past, now having a great responsibility thrust upon him, and must overcome his fear to accept it. Reynolds is the right guy indeed for the role, I guess you can say that he was born to play a costumed hero. Blake Lively is a good match for him as Carol Ferris, Hal's love interest. They share great chemistry together, as evidenced in their many hilarious and sometimes poignant conversations.

Peter Sarsgaard is wonderful as Hector Hammond, whose daddy issues become a catalyst for his villainous actions. The role of Hal's mentor Sinestro falls to Mark Strong, and I felt he was perfect to a tee. Sinestro plays a huge role in the history of Hal Jordan, and not only does Strong look the part, he is very much like him in essence. Unfortunately he doesn't get much screentime here, but I do hope he gets more if they make a sequel.

As entertaining as Green Lantern is, the film still suffers from some corniness, like in the scenes you've caught from the trailer, which they could have left out in the final cut. The Lantern's oath especially was the most corny, I wish they didn't include it despite the fact that it is part and parcel of the character. And even when the film only ran for 105 minutes, it actually felt longer than that due to its slow middle third portion. Thankfully the action picks up in the final third of the film.

That being said, why did so many people dislike it? Perhaps Green Lantern is a hard sell compared to his more illustrious brethren like Batman and Superman, and his story a tad more complicated. But I think you ought to give this film a try, as it is quite fun for a summer flick.

Note: Stay during the closing credits for one last scene. GL fans will love it the most, as it sets the tone for the sequel, if it happens. (3.5/5)

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