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green lantern
Click for full sized poster

Green Lantern

Starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Mark Strong, Peter Sarsgaard
Screenplay by Greg Berlanti & Michael Green & Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg, story by Greg Berlanti & Michael Green & Marc Guggenheim, based upon characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics
Directed by Martin Campbell

FANBOY HISTORY: Hal Jordan, this Green Lantern is the second in the DC Comics Universe. There was an unrelated GL created in the 1940s). This character was created by John Broome and Gil Kane, with major developments by Denny O'Neal and Neal Adams, and Geoff Johns.

OK Cranky here. Long time readers already know what is about to be written: We've been reading and collecting comic books for years. That means we have to shut out decades of continuity when we see a big screen version of a character we know well. Luckily, in the case of Green Lantern, we don't know it all that well. There are numberous details in the Green Lantern saga that are "important" to the continuity of the entire DC Universe, most of whose characters haven't yet made the move to the big screen. Unfortunately for Green Lantern most of those "universal" details are stuffed into its first eighty minutes, overwhelming the basic story.

You'll know when it's just about done if your kidneys are screaming for the bathroom <g>. We stepped out just in time for the big action sequence to start its run towards film's end. But said sequence was too little, too late. Or, as a couple of young ladies were telling their dates on the way out "(I) think that may be the first comic book movie (I) didn't like." Or, as we'll put it . . .

IN SHORT: You need a really good movie before you can start thinking trilogy. Green Lantern is not a really good movie. Nor is it worth the extra couple of bucks for 3D. (Rated PG-13. 114 minutes.)

There's just a wee bit of action to keep you occupied in the first act -- all before the ring thing. Once the Lantern begins to establish itself, there are some very clever moments. But they don't gel into the rockin' action flick you're expecting. Once the big action sequence starts its run towards film's end, in a glorious bit of CGI, it was also too little. Too Late. Or, as a couple of young ladies were telling their dates on the way out "(I) think that may be the first comic book movie (I) didn't like." Or, as we'll put it . . . you need a really good movie to begin with before you start thinking trilogy. Green Lantern is just an average movie not worth the extra couple of bucks for 3D.

Thanks to a heaping helping of voice over continuity, we learn that in a Universe that is billions of years old there exist a race of blue skinned, self-important creatures who have named themselves the "Guardians of the Universe." They have divided said Universe into 3600 space sectors -- ours is 2814 -- and have assembled the Green Lantern Corps, a sort of stellar police force. Each member wears a power ring and each ring is powered by a green lantern linked to a central power source on the home planet, Oa.

The Guardians have determined that, at least for their purposes, basic emotions are eached linked to a primary color. This Emotional Spectrum begins with Red (Rage) and ends with Violet (Love). In between are Avarice (orange), Fear (yellow), Willpower (green), Hope (blue) and Compassion (indigo). For film purposes you need only know Green (Willpower) and Yellow (Fear).

Yellow is the color of the evil, planetary destroyer Parallax. Parallax was once defeated by lantern Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), the acknowledged greatest lantern of all. But Abin Sur is killed early on in this story -- his corpse is infected by a bit of his foe, the entity of Fear called Parallax -- and his ring seeks out a successor. Which brings us Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a reckless test pilot who, to the distress of boss Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) thinks outside the box, way too often. He's the kind of guy who runs from responsibility but, when he is kidnapped by the energy of the dying Abin Sur's ring, he has no choice but to do as he is told.

Jordan's first encounter with the Green Energy is a visual blast as, surrounded by Ring Energy, Jordan goes blasting through the universe (wormholes and all) until he arrives at the planet Oa, for initiation and training at the hands of lanterns Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush) and Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan). Fanboys will get a couple of big screen groupings of various Lanterns. We're sure ID'ing the cameos will keep them happy. But, as reported earlier, Jordan doesn't do well with authority. It isn't long before he quits the Corps.

Just in time for that Parallax monstrosity to start gobbling planets near and dear to everyone in the cast. To fill gaps in the earth story, we have a childhood friend of both Jordan and Ferris, one Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard). Hammond is a shlub. He teaches science. He is nothing in the shadow of his prominent, mover-and-shaker father, Senator Robert Hammond (Tim Robbins). Thanks to daddy pulling some strings, Hector is assigned the ultra-secret hush hush job of doing the autopsy of an alien . . . yep, Abin Sur. During said autopsy, Parallax jumps from the corpse of Abin Sur to the living Hammond, a guy who isn't exactly emotionally stable in thefirst place. his mind is a jumble of jealousy and envy and rage and all sorts of things that evil yellow power feeds on.

It just sounds dumb, folks. Just go with it.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Green Lantern, he would have paid . . .


Green Lantern is just dumb fun. The effects merit the big screen view.

With a second tier character a film maker can get stuck in continuity hell or observe the basics and let his/her imagination run wild. The shame of it all is that the film is cast beautifully.

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.