Ryan Reynolds is Hal Jordan, aka DC Comics' Green Lantern. This origin story follows Jordan as he is bestowed the mystical green ring with otherworldly powers. Directed by NZer Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) and co-starring Taika Waititi. Screening in digital 3D. Opens June 16, click here for movie times & the trailer.
A point of difference for flashy blockbuster Green Lantern is the amount of cosmic fantasy. If Batman, Spider-Man and the X-Men are grounded in a recognisable reality, Green Lantern instead jettisons Earth for the distant planet of Oa, a place of glowing things, immortal martians and thousands of weird and wonderful beings that will make for good action figures.
Immediately this seems like a more kid-friendly outing. On the flipside, however, there’s some scary stuff involving psychological elements of willpower (green energy) and that of fear (yellow energy). It’s a bit reminiscent of Ang Lee’s Hulk: a mix of larger-than-life monsters and a hefty dose of the id.
There are no real surprises to be found, though, and aside from interesting design elements (Those of a more cynical bent might call it ugly, but let’s say kitschy), Green Lantern is largely a by-the-book origin tale. Ryan Reynolds feels jarring as the hero, he’s too self-conscious and glib to make an empathetic lead. There are plenty of small bit parts from the likes of Tim Robbins, Mark Strong and Temuera Morrison, but my favourite would have to be Peter Sarsgaard as the devious Hector Hammond. After being infected by alien juice, he’s also seemingly infected with a dose of hamminess; his brain growing to epic proportions, outgrowing his ridiculously receding hairline and making him ‘super evil’.
When it’s fun, it’s fun and the 3D is clear and effective, especially in action scenes involving malicious dust clouds or intergalactic travel. Green Lantern makes an effort to differentiate itself on an aesthetic level, but otherwise it’s what you’d expect – a special-effects bonanza following formula.