'Green Lantern' Review: Dim, Plodding Entertainment

The Green Lantern Corps may be the “keepers of peace, order and justice in the universe” but that doesn’t mean that they’re worth making a movie about. The Corps is featured prominently in the new film “Green Lantern,” which unsuccessfully tries to blend the story of Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a reckless pilot, with a story about the Corps itself. It often feels like there are two separate stories in “Green Lantern” but neither of them is particularly interesting.

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The story starts out with a lot of unnecessary exposition about the Corps, a group of different species that work together to preserve peace. For fans, the exposition might be interesting but for non-fans, it just sounds silly. Unfortunately for the Corps, a new threat has recently emerged that threatens its existence. That threat takes the shape of a worm-like dark cloud that destroys its enemies with a single glare. Early on, a prominent Green Lantern is attacked by the cloud but he escapes the attack in a spaceship and crash lands on Earth.

In the meantime, Jordan spends his time on Earth flying planes and trying to live up to his father’s legacy. Like “The Green Hornet” who was featured in a terrible movie earlier this year, Jordan loves spending his time sleeping with different women and leaving them in the morning. That lifestyle changes when a “ring” from the alien spacecraft that lands on Earth chooses Jordan to become a member of the Corps.

Although the plot is full of boring exposition about the Corps, its deepest issues are caused because the movie doesn’t try to be anything better than a run of the mill superhero movie with Jordan as the star. There’s inevitably a romance between Jordan and one of his fellow pilots (Blake Lively) but the scenes between them develop neither of these characters. Like in other superhero films, the main character also has to battle his personal issues which, in this case, are related to his father’s success but there’s little depth to this aspect of the story. Additionally, there’s a maniacal villain here but his character is bland and uninspired.

Peter Sarsgaard, who has done some strong work in the past, plays Hector Hammond, who becomes the Earthly villain. Hammond, who works in a building subtly called the “Science Building,” performs an autopsy on the alien that Jordan encountered and receives supernatural powers from it. He uses them to seek vengeance on some of his less-than-stellar students and his father, Senator Hammond (Tim Robbins). Hector starts the story as a creepy scientist and never evolves into anything more. Both Sarsgaard and Reynolds are capable of creating fun and interesting characters but “Green Lantern” doesn’t allow them the opportunity to do that.

The “Green Lantern” had the potential to be interesting. If it focused more on the Earthly storyline and developed its main three characters better, it could have been a decent flick. Instead, it chooses to over-tell the story and ultimately gets lost in space where the story frequently gets dragged down. The back story of the Green Lantern Corps is necessary to a point but in “Lantern,” it feels like a separate movie and an insufferable one at that.

The “Green Lantern” may do well at the box office but its light is dim and so is nearly everything about it.

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