Green Lantern directed by Martin Campbell; written by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Green
Even though I understand the movie making is a business aimed at earning money, and since there seems to be an unremitting audience for superhero films, I have to wonder why studios keep green-lighting them. The overwhelming number of superhero films released in the past decade seems intent on making the genre reach saturation point. When Hal Jordan, fated to be the Green Lantern, happens upon the wreck and ring responsible for her imminent superb prowess there’s little about it that’s awe-inspiring. But, of course, this has as much to do with the oversaturation of the genre as it has to do with the weakness of the film itself.
Green Lantern, a successor to a long line of heroes, depends on such a great number of clichés that it’s difficult to give it legitimate credit. Our hero is a golden boy, with a penchant for rash brazenness – which is to become his ultimate weapon. He has unresolved daddy-issues, as a prerequisite for potential emotional profundity and is flirting with a romance in the form of one of his superior’s daughter. Because Green Lantern is a film celebrating activity the villain is a professor – because, all science professors are frumpy and lonely. By now, my issues with the writing in some of these films has turned into a veritable litany and Green Lantern, I’ll admit, is hardly inconsistent. It’s simply consistently pedestrian. For a film whose production values are in excess of 200 million dollars it’s surprising that it looks and sounds so cheap. I’d essentially relegated myself to a film that would be poorly written but beautiful to watch, but it’s hardly satisfying on that scale.
There’s a consistent sense of indolence in the film’s tone. Moments that should be grandiose and resounding end up coming off as mere trifles. I’ve never understood the massive goodwill for Ryan Reynolds who I find diverting in Van Wilder but hardly enthralling. He’s fine here, but he seems to be on the wrong intent on playing Hal with a wave of humour that the actual film is maddeningly devoid of.
Curiously, Blake Lively is the only actor who gives as much as he does. Maybe everyone else is just thinking of their salaries but from Sarsgaard to Robbins to Bassett – the supporting cast seem mostly disinterested. Lively is far from excellent, and as stock as her role is she seems at least concerned with doing something sufficient.
And, I haven’t even addressed the film’s dubious message of thinkers versus doers. Who am I to say that the message is flawed – it takes all kinds, doesn’t it? But, it becomes confusing since the very concept of the Green Lantern depends on thought, more than action. For all the flight manoeuvring that Campbell has Reynolds doing, he’s probably the most lethargic of superheroes – which makes the conflict between the thinker and doing concepts so ridiculous, and the movie’s already flirting with absurdity. If only the movie audiences had had the fore-knowledge to be wise enough to follow the film's dictum to eschew thought and act instead – heading in droves away from this one.