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Friday, May 6, 2016

'Green Lantern' fails to live up to its potential

Thursday, October 13, 2011

(Photo)
Blake Lively (Carol Ferris) and Ryan Reynolds (Hal Jordan/Green Lantern) star in Warner Bros. Pictures' action adventure 'Green Lantern'.
By CAINE GARDNER

Film Critic

This is going to be one of those tricky reviews. Deep down I truly liked "Green Lantern", but I would be lying if I said it didn't live up to its potential. It's a prime example of how many small things can add up and bog down a movie.

"Green Lantern" stars Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, a cocky test pilot who's chasing the shadow of his father's legacy and always feeling as if he doesn't live up to expectations. It's the type of role Reynolds is known for, but as they say, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

Jordan is selected to become a member of the Green Lantern Corps when Abin Sur is mortally wounded and crashes to earth. The ring's green willpower seeks out and chooses Jordan as his successor. In doing so, Jordan becomes the first human member of the Green Lanterns.

A force of pure fear called "Parallax" is unleashed after years of being imprisoned on a distant planet and now is making its way across the galaxy sustaining and building its power on the fear of others.

Jordan takes his new ring and the lantern Sur gives him back to his apartment, speaks the Green Lantern oath and discovers his powers after he's attacked outside a bar. After laying out three bullies with a mammoth green-fisted hit, Jordan is taken to Oa, the home planet of the Green Lantern Corps where he trains and gets fitted for his new superhero duds.

Jordan puts his newfound powers on public display at an event for Senator Robert Hammond (Tim Robbins) when his son Hector (Peter Sarsgaard), who was infected by Parallax when he examined Sur's body, attempts to bring down his father's helicopter using telekinesis.

He saves the senator and the senator's daughter Carol (Blake Lively), Jordan's love interest. In what I like to call the "Clark Kent Syndrome", neither Carol nor any other partygoers recognize Jordan as he man behind the green mask. She eventually does, because the superhero always gets the girls, right?

In the meantime, the leader of the Green Lanterns, Sinestro (Mark Strong) learns the truth behind Parallax and convinces the Guardians that the only way Parallax can be defeated is by using fear to defeat fear. The Guardians agree to create a yellow ring and allow Sinestro to go after their enemy.

Jordan continues to struggle coming to terms with who he is and why the ring chose him, but he gets set straight by Carol and races to Oa in an attempt to convince Sinestro and the Guardians against using fear to defeat Parallax. He delivers a heartfelt plea to the Guardians for help defend Earth, but Jordan is left alone to defend his home world.

As Parallax attacks earth, Jordan must fight off both Parallax and Hector. Jordan lures Parallax into space and uses the most powerful force in the universe to destroy the evil -- the sun. He's saved before succumbing himself by Sinestro and company.

With Parallax gone, Jordan's heroics have gained the respect of Sinestro and the rest of the Green Lanterns and he becomes the protector of his sector. And as with every franchise, the ending set up the sequel as Sinestro takes off his Green Lantern ring and slips the yellow ring of fear on.

Reynolds' likability really holds the film together for me. The plot and script are weak, but the promise of a new superhero on the block is an appealing one to me. We've been spoiled in recent years with great superhero movies such as "The Dark Knight" and "Iron Man", so when we get an OK superhero flick, we freak out.

"Green Lantern" is nowhere close to being on the same levels as the mentioned movies, but to completely dismiss it is too easy. The movie held much promise, but its weak writing really held this movie back.

Reynolds is perfect as Jordan and Lively continues to impress me. I think a little more care with crafting a better plot that's less confusing and has much more concentrated action could really turn the franchise around.

One of my biggest problems with the film was some really cheap looking special effects. The suit and Oa look great, but simple effects like the helicopter crash look way too cheap. One would think with a $200 million budget, a crashing helicopter would be the least of your worries.

The DVD version of the film is a stripped down, no frills disc. You have the movie and that's all you get. If you want some goodies, you're going to have to fork over some more cash for the Blu-ray.

On the Blu-ray, you get some cool bonus features such as deleted scenes, an extended cut of the film and a "Ryan Reynolds Becomes Green Lantern" featurette. For what you get, picking up the Blu-ray is a no-brainer, unless you truly are an individual who believes less is more.

Final Cut: "Green Lantern" never lives up to its potential, but it's a fun watch with Reynolds giving another solid performance. Some people may hold his choices against him, but someone has to play "that" role and right now no one does it better. Let's hope this isn't the last time we see "Green Lantern", but his return has to have a little more plot and a little less cheap looking special effects.

3.5 out of 5 stars