Green Lantern underwhelms

The Green Lantern is the most recent big budget import from Hollywood starring Ryan Renolds, Blake Lively and Peter Sarsgaard. The $200 million dollar project introduces yet another superhero to America. This time the offering is helmed by action movie veteran Martin Campell, who is best known for GoldenEye, Casino Royale and The Mask of Zorro. While the acting passes and the story is mostly alright, the effects are magic. While there are not many physical stunts, the fantasy imagery takes the audience away. By many standards The Green Lantern is not good, but it’s too-beautiful cast and exciting sequences will please dormant summer minds.

Like most superhero movies, the film compromised between pleasing long-time advocates and indoctrinating neophytes. To do this, the filmmakers had to include both the origin story for background and a villain to fight. In this case, the two are combined well to make the story feel cohesive enough. However, the script is definitely one of the weakest points of the movie. It tries to both introduce the superhero world and fight a villain at the same time resulting in a stop-and-go feel that never quite seems to hit a stride. The story works, but the execution is jagged and feels both slow and fast at the same time, not spending time where it should and dragging through others. The rushed pacing makes the socially-conscience material involving will power and fear come off as silly and small-minded.

While Ryan Reynolds is charming enough as the carefree test pilot, he never seems to move beyond this one-dimensional characterization. As the Green Lantern, the gravity of his undertaking never seems to settle in to make him a more serious person. As a mostly flippant character, he seems ridiculous saying the names of alien planets and pleading to other beings for guidance; he always is just too cool. The rest of the cast is mostly surprisingly good with Angela Basset, Geoffery Rush, Peter Sarsgaard and Tim Robbins. However, Blake Lively as the leading lady is unbelievable from the get-go. With glassy, far away eyes and glacial facial expressions she possesses the emotional sting of a mosquito, always buzzing around and bothersome to the skin.

The most pleasing factor about The Green Lantern is the effects. They are by and large the best of any movie recently. Nearly every frame is packed with stunts, computer-driven fantasy and unreal feats. People may say that, as usual, Hollywood has come up with more wizardry and is just showing off a new effect. While this is probably not true, the movie would have bee totally different if produced only a few years ago. When the main character can create anything he can imagine, it is hard to say there are too many effects. The effects come loud and fast, but they are rarely overbearing or over-numerous, especially given the subject matter.

What makes The Green Lantern enjoyable is the escapist pleasures it offers. It not a particularly great movie, but it is exciting and fun. Iron Man proved that comic book movies can be really good, but The Green Lantern does not really aspire to as much greatness. If the audience does not think too much or try to make too much sense of the fantastic images onscreen the movie will pass the hours pleasantly enough.

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