“Green Lantern” introduces a new comic-book superhero to the cinematic pantheon, and while at points the hero is flying high, overall the film can’t maintain that altitude.
Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a test pilot for Ferris Aircraft. Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), Hal’s wingman and onetime girlfriend, is being trained to take over the company.
Hal is following in the footsteps of his father, also a pilot, who died in a training accident.
Hal is supposed to be the best, most fearless pilot around, but he also has a knack for running from responsibility.
When a dying alien that’s a member of the intergalactic peace force, the Green Lantern Corps, must quickly find a replacement, his ring seeks out Hal, the earthman who seems to best exemplify the spirit of the Corps.
Whisked away to Oa for training by a bevy of aliens including Tomar-Re, Kilowog and Sinestro (Mark Strong), Hal thinks he might not be up to the task. Returning to Earth, he considers quitting.
Meanwhile, an old friend of Hal’s, xenobiologist Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), has been asked to examine the alien’s body. He’s the son of a senator (Tim Robbins) who also has ties to Ferris Aircraft.
What the government doesn’t know is that Abin Sur had been partially infected with the fear-being Parallax, and now Hector’s infected as well.
Hal must prove to the Corps he has the right stuff, especially once Parallax sets his sights on Earth.
The film is a mix of different summer hits — “Top Gun,” “Independence Day,” and even a bit of “Star Wars.” Unfortunately that’s true for both the positive and negative aspects.
The Green Lantern’s planet of Oa is beautifully rendered, and the alien species that make up the Corps are immaculately designed.
However, the film runs into pacing and editing problems once Hal returns to Earth.
Despite quite a bit of exposition throughout the film, there are places where it’s not clear why or how Hal has gone from one scene to another. Furthermore, parts of the film’s conclusion seem to come together too easily.
Still, for Green Lantern fans, seeing the world of Oa, Green Lantern Corps trainer Kilowog, and Hal Jordan reciting the Green Lantern Oath will cover over some of the film’s flaws. Reynolds is a charming Green Lantern, and Strong is a driven Sinestro, both of whom would be good to see in films again if “Green Lantern” does well.
Given that at one time, the plan was to make “Green Lantern” as a Jack Black comedy vehicle, Warner Bros. and director Martin Campbell (“Casino Royale”) deserve credit for delivering a film that stays true to the conception and spirit of the DC Comics character.
– Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman
PG-13/ 1:45/ 2 ½ stars
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Mark Strong, Peter Sarsgaard, Blake Lively.
(Intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action)