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  Green Lantern The Ring Cycle
Year: 2011
Director: Martin Campbell
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Tim Robbins, Jay O. Sanders, Taika Waititi, Angela Bassett, Temuera Morrison, John Tenney, Geoffrey Rush, Michael Clarke Duncan, Warren Burton, Clancy Brown, Salome Jens, Mike Doyle, Nick Jandl
Genre: Action, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: To be a Green Lantern is to be a defender of the universe, and knowing no fear is part of that dedication, very important when their main enemies feed on terror as part of their arsenal. Take Parallax (voiced by Clancy Brown), for example, who was once one of the Guardians who give the Lanterns their power, but he got too close to a cosmic source of fear in an attempt to overcome it and turned to evil. He was eventually banished to a remote world, but when a ship crashlands there he gains the upper hand and begins his comeback as a force of destruction...

It's safe to say that in a market saturated with superhero movies, Green Lantern was not one of those welcomed without any reservations, in fact it may have made its money back worldwide (and that was a two hundred million dollar budget) but even that was considered underperforming in the views of the money men. More crucially, for those who did see it there were grumblings about the quality of the material, and this recreation turned update of a sixties space opera did not chime with what audiences were happy to see in their multiplexes as far as those superfolks went, that in spite of the extensive effects work.

You could certainly see where the money had been spent, as it seemed not a minute went by before yet another CGI creation appeared on the screen, so if you were the type of moviegoer easily distracted by bright, shiny things then you would be in your element. This was another try at creating a franchise by DC, who were seeing their rivals Marvel clean up at the box office even with their less lauded characters, yet didn't quite catch the popular imagination in the way that more famous creations did, possibly because Green Lantern was more associated with his comic source and had made few forays into other media.

But if anyone needed a superhero movie to look good on his C.V. it was Ryan Reynolds, and he jumped in with both feet, embodying the brash nature of his character while just about hinting that his Hal Jordan was enough of a misfit to make us cheer him on. Hal is a test pilot who is the best in the business, or he would be if he didn't tend to crash aircraft to prove a point, but it is he who is summoned to a spaceship crash site by the pilot, who gives him the magic ring thus bestowing him with the title of Green Lantern. It suited the gung ho attitude of Hal that he uses that ring for big, splashy effects sequences, yet also that he should learn humility as Parallax infects his scientist friend Hector (Peter Sarsgaard) with the opposite effect.

Of course, if the film was more dedicated to such themes then the real hero would be Hector, being the outsider and more in the persona of the little chap made into a major player by his newfound abilities, but the script preferred to play around lightly with such expectations and have the more obvious Jordan overcome his inherent fabulousness and use that for good. For all the mild hypocrisy, there was always something going on here and if the romantic parts, with Blake Lively as the love interest, were the very definition of perfunctory, as was the tragedy in Hal's past which made him the man he was before becoming the Lantern, this was more about the extravaganza than moody conversations, with a forward motion and glee about the possibilities the lead could explore that made for reasonable diversions. If this was more akin to nineties superhero movies such as The Phantom, Rocketeer and The Shadow, well, some people enjoyed those. Music by James Newton Howard.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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