Green Lantern Movie Review

A superhero comic movie that’s all about Green Power and saving the earth but is in no way ecological or referencing Homeland Security color coding either for that matter, Green Lantern is a psychedelic-saturated collage. And obsessed with all sorts of ways on how to conquer evil, but never why.

A hallucinatory state of affairs which obscures the World War II period roots of the DC comic that flourished back then, and seemingly subliminal emphasis instead, on what green stuff may have been in those pipes the filmmakers were smoking. In any case, nice palette.

Ryan Reynolds is Hal Jordan in Green Lantern, a hotshot fighter pilot who’s made an offer he can’t refuse, when a dying Green Lantern alien crash landed on planet earth and turning purple instead, passes on his superpowers to the reckless danger junkie. Along with a high IQ implant that leaves Jordan knowing things he had no idea how he came to know, or something along those lines. It seems there’s a menace out there in the universe called Parallax that is color coded yellow, and bent on destroying everything in sight for no particular reason. And as these color coordinated enemies repeatedly butt heads, over who knows what.

But Jordan, even when getting cocky, decked out in his new designer green duds, has his mind on other matters at the moment. This included impressing the aviation corporate suits and military contractors, along with hitting on when not competing with ex-girlfriend and fellow pilot Carol Ferris (Blake Lively). It’s okay, the aliens seem patient.

But this extra-terrestrial body snatching isn’t limited to Jordan. The yellow baddies appear to want to get in on the act too. And creepy brainiac hermit with daddy issues, Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard coming off as moody and Einstein-ish) as a result, is beginning to look a little jaundiced lately, while engaging in escalating get-even menace.

Okay, I get it. While the yellow peril wreaking havoc out there was no doubt a deplorable reference to the Japanese back in the day, that connotation lingers no matter how diminished in the movie. Meanwhile, designating the hero as a fighter pilot just doesn’t have the same meaning today as when those planes did battle against other armies, instead of bombing questionable targets today. And what’s with the 9/11-ish stampede replay when the aliens go wilding in midtown?

On the other hand, the Green Hornet glow in the dark gangbangers have been given decidedly more substance and quirky attitude than in most other comic book movies with superhero posturing, that come off instead as self-serious to the point of plain silly. And if much of the dialogue does not impress as a hokey training guide for manning up, Ryan Reynolds with his trippy green bling, sure knows how to accessorize.

Warner Bros

Rated PG-13

3 stars

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.