It's a bad sign when the opening sequence of a movie not only fails to grab your attention, but has your eyelids drooping before you even meet the main character. Such is the case for Green Lantern, and the frustratingly dull first few minutes set the tone for rest of the film, which is based on the popular comic book series.
Ryan Reynolds is the actor throwing his hat into the superhero ring this time, and he's actually a great choice. With charisma coming out of his ears and a perfectly chiselled body, Reynolds easily fits the bill as Hal Jordan, a self-assured test pilot with a taste for adrenaline. Hal's fearlessness eventually makes him a candidate for the Green Lantern Corps., a league of alien warriors that keep the peace amongst the galaxies. Seemingly out of nowhere, Hal is absorbed by a large green bubble and transported to a site where a dying alien gives him a ring that signifies his place as a Green Lantern (and provides Hal with a slick CG suit and superpowers in spades). If you think the green bubbles and purple aliens sound silly, it only gets more convoluted from there.
To see what else I thought of Green Lantern, just read more . . .
The movie shifts back and forth between the Green Lantern realm in outer space and Earth. On his home planet, Hal wrestles with his new superhero status, which makes for a few entertaining scenes as he shows off his suit to his best friend Thomas and tries to repair his fractured relationship with his childhood sweetheart, Carol Ferris (a mostly bland Blake Lively). I found myself cringing every time Hal skyrockets off into space again where Reynolds' charm is swallowed up in a world that's almost entirely CG. Even Hal's suit is animated, which makes him look like a floating head performing stunts on a cartoon body.
There is some semblance of a good story when you're not having comic book facts spewed at you in rapid succession, thanks in part to Peter Sarsgaard's performance as Hector Hammond. He's Hal's nemesis, (though their history is a little foggy), who's recently acquired some superpowers of his own. Though Sarsgaard doesn't get as much screen time as a standard comic book villain, he makes his mark as a nerdy loser turned evildoer who's drunk on power and literally grows a giant head.
Trying to tell too much at once is ultimately Green Lantern's downfall. Hal's human interest story isn't nearly developed enough, and the climax of the film feels rushed and stuffed in between everything else. The space aspect is what makes Green Lantern stand out as a superhero, but it's an other-worldly experience that's hard not to scoff at. You can't blame Reynolds for seizing the opportunity to get his own action figure, but he may end up with nothing more than a souvenir of a failed attempt at a franchise.