The DC Universe’s latest offering to the silver screen is Green Lantern. Based on a comic book of the same name, it is the first in a new slew of DC films being released and is the first not to include the ‘big two’ of Batman and Superman. It was originally conceived as a project for Kevin Smith to direct, although he turned it down. It then became a comedy starring Jack Black, which was panned as an idea by the comics online community and finally was written as a standard superhero film.
The plot revolves around test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) and his discovery of a dying alien who bestows upon him a ring of power that grants him entry into the intergalactic Green Lantern Corps. Once there he discovers the need to stop a villain of pure yellow energy (fear) that is threatening to destroy the green energy (willpower) and earth with it.
Reynolds plays the Green Lantern’s Jordan the same way he played Van Wilder, but long gone is the youthful exuberance he once had and so it feels tired and stale. There is an unconvincing story thread about his father that feels trite and ultimately pointless. The action scenes are well-handled and the ring, which turns his imagination into reality, has some rather novel uses that are very in-keeping with the source material. The supporting cast are mediocre with neither sub-villain Dr. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) nor love-interest Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) being interesting or charismatic enough to hold your attention.
Directed by Martin Campbell (Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro), Green Lantern suffers heavily from ‘first franchise film syndrome’ in that it spends too long explaining the background, the characters and the enemy. There are some neat action sequences once Hal discovers the unique way of controlling the ring, but his fellow Lanterns are merely bystanders whilst a giant monster, seemingly made of mud, floats around screaming a lot. What a waste for characters like Sinestro (Mark Strong) and Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush).
Overall Green Lantern is disappointing, slow and dull. Reynolds is the biggest let-down and the original idea for him to have a spin-off of his Deadpool character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine seems like a move that may come back to haunt him. That being said there is enough action and special effects wizardry to stop this being a complete waste and it will no doubt make enough money to thrust a sequel upon us in due course.