Green Lantern

Don't let that brat Judy Moody tell you this is a not bummer summer. Has the kid seen Hangover II or Pirates 4? And wait till she gets a load of Green Lantern, a new primer on how not to make a comicbook movie unless you want to screw shit up. Flat FX, smirky acting, clunky writing and clueless direction. WTF?

Ryan Reynolds is all surface as Hal Jordan, the reckless test pilot recruited by the intergalactic Green Lantern Corps to protect the world from evil, in this case the many-tentacled Parallax, a former Lantern who went power-mad. Adapting the DC Comics franchise are four credited screenwriters who, besides deserving no credit, falsely indicate that Hal is the first human Lantern. Huh? Back in 1940, artist Martin Nodell and writer Bill Finger created the first one as railway engineer Alan Scott. Hal didn't show up on the page till 1959.

Peter Travers reviews The Green Lantern in his weekly video series, "At the Movies With Peter Travers"

Pesky details. Listen, I wouldn't give a damn if this screen Lantern had its own energy source. But not even director Martin Campbell, who worked wonders intro-ing James Bond in 2006's Casino Royale, can get this cinematic corpse on its feet. Here's what's shaking. Hal gets off on playing with his green ring, which gives him powers limited only by his imagination. He goes galaxy-flying, meeting up with 3,600 peacemaking Lanterns, including fishlike Tomar-Re, voiced with welcome sass by Geoffrey Rush, and Sinestro (Mark Strong), a honcho from the guardian planet Oa, who threatens to fire Hal's ass if he doesn't start shaping up.

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So Reynolds replaces his patented grin with square-jawed purpose, stops playing cutesy with his pilot sweetie, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively is decorative — no more), and realizes that his romantic rival, nerdy scientist Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), has been co-opted by Parallax, causing Hector's eyes to turn yellow, his head to expand and his rage to explode. It's an impossible role, but Sarsgaard plays it for real and gives the movie a touch of gravity. Nothing else sticks to the mind and heart. Hal claims that a Lantern's only enemy is fear itself. The thought of a sequel to this shamelessly soulless Hollywood product scares me plenty.

From The Archives Issue 1134: July 7, 2011