Director: Martin Campbell
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Tim Robbins, Taika Waititi, Angela Bassett, Temuera Morrison, Geoffrey Rush, Michael Clarke Duncan
Synopsis: Test pilot Hal Jordan has a close encounter with a crashed alien, whom gives him a green ring of power, and a lantern by which to charge it. He becomes a Green Lantern, part of an intergalactic peace keeping force known as the Green Lantern Corps. Their oath; ” In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power… Green Lantern’s light”.
This film comes relatively late to Australian shores, it having been released in the US over a month ago. Box office overseas has not been overly kind, and many have considered Green Lantern a flop. Despite being a comic book fanatic myself, I have never really followed any specific Green Lantern titles, so perhaps my lesser degree of familiarity may make me forgive any divergence from the source text this film takes. Overall, my impression was one of entertainment, and if I had to provide a reason for the film’s lack of success, it would perhaps be that audiences may be starting to fatigue of superhero films.
In addition, this is also not just another superhero movie, it is another superhero origin movie. Director Martin Campbell though has previously proven himself to be an able hand at reviving well-worn genres. He has done so twice already with the James Bond franchise, having helmed both GoldenEye and Casino Royale. Though he does not do much to reinvent the superhero origin story film he does at least put a very well structured and enjoyable film with high entertainment value. Jordan’s inner conflict in feeling he has been chosen incorrectly as he does not possess the Lantern quality of lacking fear is a very real prospect for anyone thrown into that situation. A reasonable history is provided for this fear, but in the end it does come across as a natural human response. Reynolds successfully balances the cocky self-assured test pilot persona with a man battling within himself to find his true courage.
It is largely Reynolds show here, but there are other strong performances on hand. Peter Sarsgaard is always a very reliable presence on film, and he portrays the villain of the piece, Hector Hammond. Unlike Jordan getting the green power of will, Hammond receives by accident the yellow power of fear. His make up threatens to rule his performance, so it is to his credit that he can rise above this limitation. Lively is the love interest, and the plot does not serve her character very well, often feeling like she is there because every hero must have a romantic, humanising interest. Lively does rise to the challenge though, and she makes both a sympathetic and even a courageous counterpoint to Jordan himself. Special note must be made of Robbins as Senator Hammond, Hector’s father, in a smaller but certainly memorable role.
The effects are of course brilliant, given the tools available to film makers these days. One of the loudest complaints about the film in online circles has been that the fully CGI costume looks unrealistic. The accusation is not entirely without merit, but there is also a degree of logic in the decision. Though originally jarred by the appearance of the costume, as I got accustomed to seeing it, I considered that if that was my most significant complaint, it is a relatively minor one.
This is a film that does not break boundaries, nor does it need to. It ticks all the right boxes for an entertaining two hours in which one can leave the real world outside the cinema and just sit to enjoy popcorn while simultaneously having candy for the eyes and the ears. By that definition, the film is a success.
3.5 stars out of 5