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It Ain't Easy ... 

'Green Lantern' melds a lame premise with lazy special effects

After a brief appearance as Deadpool in Wolverine, and all of those rumors about him as a possible choice for The Flash, Ryan Reynolds finally gets his big superhero chance with Green Lantern.

Unfortunately, all of that waiting has netted him a role that is as interesting as dust bunnies behind your bathroom door.

Reynolds plays Hal Jordan, a hotshot test pilot with social issues who finds a purple alien in a crashed spaceship—as we all do sometimes. Hal is handed a fancy ring and is ultimately whisked off to another planet in a protective green orb of energy or something. On the mysterious yet wholly uninteresting planet, he learns that he is the first human Green Lantern, co-protector of the universe and all-around swell guy.

Jordan goes through a training regimen of getting punched in the face by bulky aliens before returning to Earth to begin his crime-fighting crusade. (Actually, Jordan is more of an accident-preventer than a crime-fighter in this film.)

One of the problems with Green Lantern is that his superpowers are kind of lame. Hal can use the ring (which transforms him into a green muscle guy with a useless mask) to create anything he wants with his mind. So, instead of just stopping a helicopter from crashing, he changes it into a racecar and has it come to a safe stop on a spiffy air road. That's stupid and a wasteful use of energy, and it's not like the film's special-effects team makes it anything worth looking at. It's just a bunch of fluorescent green stuff.

A lot of the movie looks trashy. The alien planet is a cartoon, and the malevolent alien-force cloud with teeth that threatens Earth looks poorly conceived and sloppy. As a visual experience, even in 3-D, Green Lantern is flat.

As for the romance between Hal and Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), the two have no spark on screen. While Lively is lovely, her part requires her to do little more than yell, pout and exhibit quiet yet bemused confusion.

Worst of all is Peter Sarsgaard, stuck in the unintentionally hilarious role of Hector Hammond, a nebbish scientist and son of a senator (Tim Robbins) who gets infected and becomes a monster. The makeup department gives Sarsgaard a freakishly large forehead and a strange hairline—and this is before he becomes infected. Afterward, those features get greatly exaggerated and slimy, to the point where he looks like Ron Jeremy after a long shoot. Sarsgaard is a good actor, and he gives it his best, but his character never makes a lick of sense. I got the feeling that there was much more to his backstory, but what is presented here is far too little to make Hammond a tragic villain. He's just an ugly guy who causes some problems before getting his ass smoked.

Reynolds should be a perfect choice for a superhero role. He's damned handsome; he's good with the one-liners; and—most importantly—he's got one of those superhero chins. But Reynolds' Jordan never truly emerges as a heroic force. He's just a cartoon character being manipulated by some special-effects dudes drinking a lot of coffee and feeding stuff into their computers at a rapid pace to meet their release date.

There are hints of a sequel (stay for the credits ... well, stay if you care at that point) involving another "good guy" Lantern named Sinestro (Mark Strong). There's not much mystery here ... somebody named Sinestro is eventually going to go bad, isn't he?

Where does Green Lantern rank in the superhero-movie world? It's not nearly as awful as Batman and Robin and The Phantom, but it's bad along the lines of Batman Forever and Spider-Man 3.

With less of a boring origin story, perhaps Green Lantern could become something sort of worth watching. Or maybe not ... for the big screen, he's an ill-conceived character, and his superpowers are super-dopey.

Green Lantern
Rated PG-13 · 114 minutes · 2011
Official Site: greenlanternmovie.warnerbros.com
Director: Martin Campbell
Producer: Donald De Line, Greg Berlanti, Herbert W. Gains and Andrew Haas
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Tim Robbins, Jay Sanders, Taika Waititi, Angela Bassett, Mike Doyle, Nick Jandl, Dylan James, Gattlin Griffith, Jon Tenney, Leanne Cochran, Temuera Morrison, Jeff Wolfe, Jenna Craig, Deke Anderson, Geoffrey Rush and Michael Duncan
Green Lantern 3D
Rated PG-13 · 114 minutes · 2011
Official Site: greenlanternmovie.warnerbros.com
Director: Martin Campbell
Producer: Donald De Line, Greg Berlanti, Herbert W. Gains and Andrew Haas
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Tim Robbins, Jay Sanders, Taika Waititi, Angela Bassett, Mike Doyle, Nick Jandl, Dylan James, Gattlin Griffith, Jon Tenney, Leanne Cochran, Temuera Morrison, Jeff Wolfe, Jenna Craig, Deke Anderson, Geoffrey Rush and Michael Duncan

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