Green Lantern is ultimately let down not by the weight of its ambitions, but total lack of them.
Green Lantern is another slice of expensive ho-hum cinema from Hollywood saved only by its director’s professional polish and the production team’s craftsmanship. Indeed, Michael Bay and others practitioners of loud and obnoxious blockbusters could learn a thing or two from Kiwi director Martin Campbell.
Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a super-duper test pilot haunted by the memory of his father, another super-duper test pilot who died on the job. Hal is cocksure, arrogant and cracks jokes. It’s a role that fits Canadian actor Reynolds like a glove.
The fantastical sci-fi context and rich art design offer a sumptuous visual experience. The special effects, after early geek brigade online grumbles, are suitably stellar. The huge planetary landscapes and eerie lunar vistas bring to mind the curious writings of Lord Dunsany or HP Lovecraft’s cosmic horror fiction. Parallax, the chief villain, is a monstrous giant entity with Cthulhu-like tentacles.
It almost feels perverse to complain of a busy plot in a Hollywood summer flick, but this one crams an awful lot into 114 minutes of running time. Only Peter Sarsgaard, as scientist turned villain Hector Hammond, really sticks out among the starry supporting cast.
The director usually puts feisty female characters into his films but Blake Lively’s Carol Ferris is so lacklustre and patently absurd, suspension of disbelief is required more for her than the English-speaking aliens.
Four writers worked on the script (that we know about) and it seems too many cooks do indeed spoil the broth. Especially since what we are served up is the bog standard origins of a superhero plot.
Campbell, the man who delivered two of the great modern 007 movies, GoldenEye and Casino Royale, knows his way around a stunning action set-piece or two and there’s plenty of spirited effort to deliver the goods. The final showdown in outer space is brilliantly realised.
Green Lantern is ultimately let down not by the weight of its ambitions, but total lack of them. A charitable soul might describe the film as a classical genre piece, but feels more like a studio playing safe. Definitely not franchise material.
Ryan Reynolds in a superhero action adventure… again.
Martin Campbell is the real hero.
Fantastical sci-fi designs, massive set pieces and incredible special effects save this from being a complete waste of time.