Say you were just sitting around one day and a mysterious ball of green light encapsulated you and dragged you off to the location of a crashed alien spaceship. I would hope you would attempt to pinch yourself awake, or at least question what in the world was going on. Or if you were attending a fancy party, and in the midst of a helicopter crashing, a guy in a skintight green suit appeared and saved the day, one would think you would be a little surprised. All this leads to the biggest issue found in “Green Lantern”" no one ever questions any of these ridiculous occurrences.
The movie is grounded in a world a lot like ours, but the minute a dead alien shows up, the fact is treated with normalcy, almost as if it was expected. And once Ryan Reynolds (“The Proposal”) is transported to another planet and told he was chosen by an unknown force to become a “Green Lantern,” he accepts it without question. What?? I mean, yes, it is a superhero movie so it’s not going to be completely realistic, but a little convincing from someone would have definitely been helpful.
Beyond that, despite a less-than-stellar box office performance, ‘Green Lantern’ isn’t a bad movie; it’s actually quite enjoyable. Based on the decades-old comic book series, the story begins when a dying Green Lantern, Abin Sur, a member of the intergalactic police force, is summoned to find a deserving replacement after being attacked by the enemy, Parallax, a creature who finds its power in the fear of others.
His Green Lantern ring finds test pilot Hal Jordan (Reynolds), who is transported to Abin Sur’s spaceship crash site. After Hal takes Abin Sur’s green lantern and speaks the oath, he is transported to the home planet of the Green Lantern Crops and is trained in what it takes to become an intergalactic warrior. However, the Corps leader sees his humanity as being unfit for the position, so Hal quits and returns to Earth.
Meanwhile, Peter Sarsgaard’s (“Knight and Day”) Hector Hammond is called to inspect the body of the alien Abin Sur and becomes infected by a piece of the enemy, Parallax, and then begins the transformation into an enemy creature himself. Hammond then decides to infect Carol Ferris (Blake Lively, “The Town”), Hal’s longtime love interest, with the essence of Parallax. However, Hal shows up in time to fight with Hammond and attempts to use his power of will to defeat Parallax itself and save his planet.
Despite the somewhat confusing description, the movie’s story is pretty easy to follow, and the special effects, once you accept the fact that aliens are just suddenly a part of the universe, are convincing. And not that it always matters in a superhero movie, but the acting is quite strong.
The standout is Peter Sarsgaard as the geeky and creepy villain, Hector Hammond, who has always played second to Reynolds’ Jordan. Hector becomes infected by the fallen alien and is empowered with the ability to read people’s thoughts and see their memories.
It’s unfortunate that this film was released in the midst of a plethora of summer action movies, such as “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” “Thor” and “X-Men: First Class” because it has seemed to get lost in the shuffle. It has been overwhelmed by such a list of highly publicized movies, and “Green Lantern” has regrettably been unable to stick out.
Spoiler alert: In the end, Hal Jordan saves the world and gets the girl. But if you think about any other superhero movie that you’ve ever seen, is that really a spoiler? Isn’t that why we go to these movies in the first place? “Green Lantern” does what superhero movies are supposed to do. The ending of the film isn’t surprising, but isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? That’s likely why audiences love superhero movies in the first place: They always give us that little bit of hope that in the end everything will be all right, and someone will always be there to save the day.
Three out of five stars