‘Green Lantern’ Review: Turn Off the Fear

Muscle lantern--I mean, Green Lantern! Poster from Warner Bros. Studios

So while Disney’s Marvel Comics has churned out mutants and Norse gods for this summer, Warner Bros.’ DC Comics are answering back with a bang. A green suited, hunky looking—oh, wait. That’s so inappropriate, I’m sorry. This is supposed to be for kids, right?

Only if you want to give the young ones nightmares of an evil octopus. But for us in the PG-13 set, this is a decent green-tinged, action movie. The plot is easy: reckless hero who could claim to be Tony Stark’s (Iron Man) younger brother is given great power in the form of a ring that inducts him into intergalactic brotherhood of G-men.  Tony Stark turns into Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and is humbled by the new-found responsibility of becoming earth’s protector. He could have just asked Superman how he does it. Much like the Man of Steel, pilot Hal Jordan has his own “Lois Lane” in the form of Blake Lively’s Carol Ferris, the daughter of Hal’s boss and soon-to-be his boss.

But back to the man in the green spotlight. Like most superheroes of our day and age, our Hal Jordan met tragedy early, watching his dad perish on the runway before taking off in a jet. Since then he sometimes hits a speed bump on his adrenaline rush that costs him dearly. Fear paralyzes him, and from that, we get the tie-in of the unraveling of the universe. Ryan Reynolds plays his part well and flexes a heroic amount of muscle. This is not an Oscar winning performing by any means. He’s just playing the hero, the girl plays the love interest, and the bad guy plays the bad guy. Nothing shocking, but it’s fun to watch something so simple after a forced effort to try and make a superheroes deeper than their screenwriting allows. I’m looking at you, X-Men: First Class. It can be done, like we saw in The Dark Knight. But Green Lantern is no Dark Knight.

The film does a decent job introducing the lesser known world of Green Lantern mythology. The Green Lantern ring, fresh off of a mortally wounded alien, chooses Hal to succeed the good fight against a monster that feeds off of its victims’ fears to the point of death. The monster is a mix of CGI monstrosity and retro-big headed invaders from the 1950s. The other lifeforms that make up the Green Latern squad are either intimidating or laughable, depending on your mood. The same goes for the monster, but I found that to be the much more intimidating incarnation of the aliens from Mars Attacks, which only leaves behind the skeletons. It’s scary enough, especially the attack through the city. It kind of reminded me of a traumatic event in New York ten years ago, and I’m pretty sure that’s the sort of fear the filmmakers wanted to tap into.

Turn “Iron Man”‘s suit into a one-size fits all ring, and make Tony Stark apologize for his swagger. But as far as action movies go, it’s fun and non-challenging. “The Green Lantern” is good old fashion fun where you know who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. Green light, Go! B

About Monica Castillo

Monica Castillo (CAS '11) is a Film writer for the Quad. Drawn into the world of film studies accidentally, she's continued on writing, writing, and writing about film since. She also co-writes on another blog, http://beyondthebacklot.wordpress.com/, which is about even geekier film stuff. If you have the time, she would love to watch a movie with you.

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