The Green Lantern is a much-loved comic book hero that I knew absolutely nothing about, so don't expect me to decry the movie not being true to the original. Basically, fighter plane test pilot Hal Jordan stumbles across a crashed alien who's part of an elite group of crime-fighters known as the Green Lanterns. Hal is chosen to be the new hero and fight an evil menace that will destroy the earth, then the Lantern's home world, then the universe - you know the sort of apparently undefeatable evil dude that I'm talking about here. In this case it's a creature fuelled by fear - the more fear it causes, the stronger it gets.
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Everything about The Green Lantern feels terribly familiar and it's a typical "origin" movie - unlikely, reluctant hero is chosen, learns that with great power comes great responsibility, gets the girl, loses the girl, gets the girl again after defeating one of the evil dudes who for no particular reason likes the same girl, undergoes training, training appears brutal and unfair, big dude in charge of training doesn't like hero, hero quits, comes across reason to un-quit, saves universe by defeating really big evil dude and wins the respect of big trainer dude, world at large and of course gets the girl (oh sorry I already mentioned that).
So, you get the idea about the plot. Pretty stereotypical stuff, and the characters are as well; reckless, irresponsible hero, up-tight girl who happens to be object of desire for hero and villain, as well as the hero's boss' daughter, etc. The one character I did really like was Hal's friend Tom (Taika Waitti), who added some welcome touches of humour to the proceedings. Ryan Reynolds as Hal and Blake Lively as Carol Ferris (the hero's girl / the villain's lust object / daughter of boss) try hard to make their characters interesting, but don't quite manage it despite a couple of nice scenes between them. Peter Saasgaard has fun as Hector Hammond, freaky doctor who'll soon become a freaky monster courtesy of some yellow alien gunk, while Mark Strong looks grumpy as Sinestro, the Green Lanterns' leader; his CGI-altered appearance is a little odd.
The effects are generally good, there are some impressive visuals occasionally but then agaiun there are some unconvincing looking scenes too. There's plenty of action and a couple of pretty evil-looking bad guys. However, it doesn't hang together too well because of the over-familiar storyline and rather boring characters - and for some really, really stupid plot elements.
(SPOILER WARNING) the Green Lanterns harness the power of Will. The "Guardians", immortal creatures who continually reminded me of the hecklers from the Muppet Show which meant that I couldn't possibly take them seriously!) considered using the power of Fear too, but considered it too dangerous. However one guardian went ahead and used it anyway, thinking he could control it - but he couldn't because it isn't possible to control Fear to use for the good of the universe (remember that, it's important), so he was banished. He is the evil that has returned, and has become so powerful that he is killing even the best that the Green Lantern forces can throw at him. Sinestro therefore proposes that they should - wait for it - harness the power of fear to defeat the evil dude. The Guardians not only don't tell him how downright stupid he is, they actually agree with him and help him to make the Fear doodar (sequel anyone?!). It takes Earthling Hal to come and tell them how stupid they are (not in quite those words) and then go off to save the day all by himself.
This all leads up to the big battle scene near the end of the film, which is so predictable that I not only realised what was going to happen, but the specific characters that were going to be on hand just in time.
There's nothing particularly terrible about the acting, visuals or music - they're all solid enough, if uninspiring, though the idea of being able to create things purely with the power of your mind and them use them is fun and well portrayed visually. The storyline is terribly hackneyed but overall it's okay for people who are either superhero fanatics and really must see every superhero movie that's ever been made, or maybe those who have never seen a superhero movie before so the themes may actually be new to them. Basically though its aimed squarely at pre and early teenage boys, and that's the audience which will probably enjoy the movie most. The Green Lantern managed to reach beyond the mediocre when it was making fun of itself or taking a swipe at the whole superhero genre - such as when Hal, in his Green Lantern guise, visits Carol, only for he to instantly recognise him:
Hal: How did you know it was me?
Carol: What do you mean? I've known you my whole life! I've seen you naked! You don't think I would recognize you cause I can only see your cheek bones. What is this? Why...why is your skin green? Why are you glowing? What the hell is with that mask?
Hal: It came with the outfit.
Hal: Cool, huh?
Sadly, despite the determined ludicrousness of the plot and shallow characters (okay, criticising a comic book movie for having comic book characterisation seems a little harsh, but I'm doing it anyway), The Green Lantern insists on taking itself far too seriously most of the time. I feel that this would have been a much, much better movie if it had just laughed at itself a bit more often.
On the whole The Green Lantern is a relatively entertaining movie despite its faults, though I wouldn't particularly recommend that you watch it.
On a completely irrelevant side-note, this is the first movie I've been able to watch at the cinema for OVER HALF A YEAR! Considering how much it costs these days I don't think I'll start making movie trips a regular thing even if we can convince an unsuspecting relative to babysit for an evening though... ;-D
See also: My Top Ten Superhero Movies
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