That doesn’t mean that I thought Green Lantern was the movie of the month, or even the week, but, judging by the opinions of more than a few people whose opinion I respect, I am in the minority. Possibly the reason being that I wasn’t expecting very much and it delivered more or less what I wanted. The trailers were bad. Laughable, even. But thanks to a good performance by Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond – as ever, losing himself within his role – and Mark Strong as Sinestro, I was able to pretend for a moment that the evil baddie Parallax didn’t look like a giant poo.
Green Lantern tells the tale of test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) who miraculously is picked by a dying warrior, one of the fearless Green Lanterns, to take up his ring and continue the fight against evil in the universe. It is a miraculous choice because Jordan is a pilot who would sacrifice his wing (here played by the mini-skirted but brainy Blake Lively) and has his flight feathers clipped by his feelings for his father. Which is a pity because portraits of his father adorn almost every building he enters. Meanwhile, Hector (son of senator Tim Robbins) conducts a postmorten on the dead Lantern. He is injected with alien DNA – the yellow (fear) that fights the green – and so begins his path to get even with just about everyone. And all the time, the giant poo gets bigger.
Once caught up in the world of wormholes and distant planets, Lanterns that look like fish (Geoffrey Rush) or ugly beasts (Michael Clarke Duncan), spaceships and warriors that defy fear at the very end, this is a movie for kids. Round that up with Jordan, who has walked straight out of Top Gun, and you have an enjoyable couple of hours at the movies.
X-Men: First Class and Thor are far superior but I would argue that Green Lantern doesn’t deserve the vilification it has received over the last week or so. I’m no expert on the tradition of DC comics, far from it, and so I’m not qualified to estimate whether or not Martin Campbell’s film lives up to the quality or spirit of its source. My expectations weren’t high and it pleasantly exceeded them. The 3D was also better than any I’d seen for an action movie in a while.
To place things in proportion – this evening I watched Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter, a film with a world of pretension wrapped up within it. That failed on almost every level. By comparison, Green Lantern delivers what it set out to do. It is, however, very green.