Saturday, June 18, 2011

Green Lantern is as cheesy and has more plot holes and dangling story strings than a piece of 70’s macrame. But where else are you going to hang your greenery? This is by no means a visual or storytelling masterpiece, but there are enough moments of fun and visual grandiosity to amuse slightly older kids, comic book fans, and any folks looking to chomp popcorn in air conditioning with a pair of dark glasses on.

DC, with far fewer A list superheroes than Marvel, is banking on building a following for a Green Lantern franchise by weaving together enough CGI and starpower to bolster this lesser known emerald entity. Their concern for our ignorance is clear in the opening expository scenes, which, with a voiceover by Geoffrey Rush as Tomar Re, seem to go on forever but without which the rest of the movie would seem like even bigger nonsense.

Before we go any further, a brief synopsis of the plot: There are these intergalactic police folk called Green Lanterns who have rings and special lanterns that power them and these rings allow them to use their willpower to create whatever they can imagine or dream up in their fight against evil and promoting good. One of their best crash-lands on Earth and gives his ring to Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) before dying, and Hal reluctantly becomes the newest recruit. Meanwhile, there’s this creature gone bad going around sucking fear out of lanterns and killing them and whole worlds in the process, and it’s HEADED FOR EARTH!

In this script they’ve tried to include something for everyone, including a romantic subplot, and another with an additional geeky human brainiac turning evil that Hal has to deal with at the same time as the aforementioned galactic creature. It’s all too much. What’s a newly super human to do?

It bears mentioning that one of the supposed top good guys is named Sinestro and looks like a cross between Hitler and the Devil. Do I need a superhero manual or is he going to go bad at some point?

The movie is actually entertaining while you are in the moment. The CGI and 3D are eyepopping and compellingly watchable. Ryan Reynolds does his level best to bring his charisma to bear, sporting the “duh, we can see you behind there” mask with a bit of a wink in our direction, playing off the blue screen with a jaunty ease, and filling out the costume better than a huge percentage of Hollywood hunks. Green Lantern gets a gold star for not becoming utterly ridiculous in the face of machine guns made of green light, superpowers based in a green ring and the supreme importance of a super hokey oath.

Despite a storyline that includes heavyweight actors Tim Robbins, Angela Bassett, Mark Strong, and Peter Sarsgaard, the movie has such a weak script, it doesn’t give us much reason to root for our superhero, or build characters enough to feel passionate about, whether they are on the side of good or evil. Blake Lively, who plays love interest Carol Ferris, was better in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and needs to work on expanding her range. She does look good in a short skirt and as a brunette, so that’s something.

Especially in the wake of two good and even great superhero movies, Thor and X-Men: FIrst Class, this movie seems fluffy and a bit forgettable even at its most intense, sort of like the cinematic equivalent of a Twinkie.

Twinkie: You crave it, ingesting it quickly without thinking about it, and forget about the chemicals and wasted calories. Enjoy it without apology.

Yes, It’s fun. He’s pretty. So is the 3D…so eat it up. Just don’t complain later if you feel a little green in the gills.