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Film review: GREEN LANTERN from Built For Speed

If super heroes were rock stars Green Lantern would be the drummer from The Smiths.  Apart from those who attend comic conferences, most people don’t know who the hell he is.  The producers of the Green Lantern movie seem, therefore, to be pinning their hopes on the current buzz around the superhero comic adaptations to lure the crowds.

In this film version of the DC comic, Ryan Reynolds plays cocky, top gun test pilot Hal Jordan who, when not flinging off his shirt to flex his shaved torso, spends his time agonising over the loss of his hero pilot Dad.  Hal is mysteriously selected by a group of intergalactic cops called the Green Lantern Corps to join their order, wear a scrotum-threateningly tight green outfit and battle a ridiculous bubble-headed octopus monster; you know, a pretty normal day in the public service.  The gormless Reynolds and the other green lanterns derive their powers – which include phenomenal strength, the ability to fly through space and conjure any object they desire – from a ring which looks like it could have come from one of the cheaper Melbourne show bags.

Most of the alien Green Lanterns are CGI creations voiced by actors such as Geoffrey Rush, who, in a role I’m sure he had coveted for his entire career, plays a wise fish man with a strangely petite waistline.  Michael Clarke Duncan plays an enormous hulking alien drill sergeant while Mark Strong plays the Lantern leader as a kind of 40’s matinee idol with slicked back hair and a spivvy moustache.  Battling Jordan is Peter Sarsgaard who hams it up a treat as a scientist infected with an alien virus which gives him sinister powers and a bulbous noggin strangely reminiscent of the lumpy make up in 80’s b-graders like Big Trouble In Little China. Blake Lively plays the love interest who, despite being a stronger character than the traditional super hero girlfriend invariably manages to get herself kidnapped by the heartless, cackling villain.

This movie ticks all the boxes for the modern superhero film: silly-ass story, reckless, party animal hero, lots of fake-looking cgi and a complete absence of emotional depth.  This is fine if, like the first Iron Man film, there’s inventive, dynamic action sequences and likeable characters but Green Lantern is simply noisy, overblown and unengaging.  That’s not to say it doesn’t have its moments: there’s some ok tongue in cheek humour and Hal’s ability to instantly produce objects  like machine guns or jet fighters is kinda cool although very reminiscent of The Matrix and even Jim Carrey in The Mask.

The promise of super heroes and big budget spectacle will see it survive at the box office but it is unlikely to generate enough heat to warrant a sequel.

 

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