On Saturday, 18 June 2011, Janice and I went into Cambridge, Massachusetts, for Free RPG Day (which I’ll blog more about soon) and lunch at Four Burgers. We then picked up my comic book subscription at New England Comics in Norwood and went to Legacy Place in Dedham, where we screened Green Lantern. Despite mixed reviews and middling box-office receipts, we enjoyed the movie almost as much as the similarly cosmic The Mighty Thor a few weeks earlier.
The latest live-action adaptation of a comic book superhero shows how hotshot test pilot Hal Jordan (played by Ryan Reynolds) overcomes his fears to join the intergalactic Green Lantern corps. Fans of space opera literature will recognize the similarities to E.E. “Doc” Smith’s “Lensman” series, and Janice and I once met GL creator Martin Nodell at a convention.
I thought that Reynolds and Blake Lively (as Jordan’s boss/love interest Carol Ferris) delivered better-than-expected performances, if not quite on the level of Thor‘s Oscar-winning cast or script. Jordan and Ferris are not only both attractive but also bring a human dimension to the star-spanning tale.
Other notable actors in Green Lantern include Geoffrey Rush voicing bird/fish-like Tomar Re, Michael Clarke Duncan as drill sergeant Kilowog (who pleases fans by using the epithet “poozer”), and Mark Strong is spot on as Jordan’s superior and potential rival Sinestro. If you liked all the aliens in Star Trek and Star Wars, there are some cool crowd scenes on Oa, headquarters planet of the Green Lantern corps.
On the Earthling side, Peter Sarsgaard plays mad scientist Hector Hammond; Tim Robbins is his smarmy father, Sen. Hammond; and Angela Basset portrays government agent Amanda Waller. As with Thor, the hero and villain both struggle with daddy issues. The younger Hammond is infected or corrupted by Parallax, a soul-sucking entity mistakenly created by the blue-headed Guardians. The tentacled horror isn’t the best villain in movies, but then, it’s not the most compelling one in the comics, either.
As in Superman Returns, Thor, and the Incredible Hulk, the action scenes were well choreographed and took place in daylight. Only now are the visual effects of the ring-slinger’s will-powered constructs even possible. Green Lantern may not be considered to be as good as Batman: the Dark Knight or Iron Man, but it was entertaining nonetheless, and Disney/Marvel and Warner Bros./DC are to be commended for trying to tackle cosmic and second-string heroes again after many were disappointed by Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
I’d give Green Lantern, which is rated PG-13 for violence and language, a solid B, three out of five stars, or a 7.5 out of 10, only slightly less than Thor. While I haven’t yet seen X-Men: First Class, I’m looking forward to more movies based on comic books this summer, including Captain America: the First Avenger and Cowboys & Aliens. I also recently picked up Green Lantern: First Flight on DVD.
Coming soon: Animation reviews and space opera games!