To directly contradict Kermit the Frog’s proclamation, it’s quite easy being green, especially if you’re the Green Lantern. The DC Comics superhero is venerated among comics readers for his stupendous storylines, and since the Lantern usually plays no less than third banana to Batman and Superman in the Justice League, even Joe Schmo has a passing resemblance to his name.
At Quality 16 and Rave
When the character’s ticket to the silver screen was finally punched, it was put under the tender-loving care of talented comic writer Geoff Johns, arming director Martin Campbell (who rebooted the shit out of James Bond in (“Casino Royale”) with a reported $200 million budget and casting Ryan Reynolds (“The Proposal”) — the hubba-hubba hunk that women throw their drawers at and men respect, well, because he was once married to Scarlett Johansson — as Hal Jordan.
And after all that, “Green Lantern” is a conflagration of ridiculously amateurish storytelling and pathetically poor characters, thinking it can squirrel behind its façade of snazzy special effects and call it a wrap. Well, you can’t spoon a dollop of crème fraiche onto cow dung and deem it edible. As the Comic Book Guy would likely say, “Worst comic-book movie featuring a middle-tier DC superhero ever.”
“Green Lantern” is doomed from its first act, where wildly confusing exposition, delivered by Geoffrey Rush’s (“The King’s Speech”) monotone, rockets the audience off into the Land of Bewilderment before introducing us to our hero, Hal Jordan. That’s “hero” in the lightest sense of the term, since Hal is a cocky, reckless, womanizing blowhard we’re supposed to like anyways because — gasp — his father died when he was a kid. Hal will grow up by the end of the movie, but once he gets the ring he just becomes drab, and isn’t as excited and/or surprised that he was just chosen to join an intergalactic force as he probably should be.
Reynolds is clearly trying his darndest out there, but he’s dragged down by the insolvent screenplay and his anti-chemistry with Blake Lively (TV’s “Gossip Girl”). Then there’s the case of Peter Saarsgaard (“An Education”), gagging and squealing (read: obnoxiously overacting) as Dr. Hector Hammond, a villain so transcendently hideous he makes Jabba the Hut look like Clive Owen. Hammond isn’t remotely intimidating (unless fugliness counts as a superpower) and may just be the most ineffectual villain since LeBron James.
What’s most disappointing is Campbell’s sloppy direction. He handles the action well, particularly Hal’s training sequence, but everything else is slapdash. One of the film’s more egregious instances of Great Moments in Directorial Ineptitude occurs during Hal’s goosebumps-inducing first recital of the Green Lantern oath, in the middle of which Campbell inexplicably cuts to Hector Hammond sticking his hand into a dead alien’s open wound. Gross, in more ways than one.
$200 million can buy a lot (must … fight the urge to say clean drinking water … ), and it definitely buys “Green Lantern” good special effects. Unfortunately, these effects are splattered onto action sequences crippled by the fact that Green Lantern is first fighting Baldy McGrossFace, Hector Hammond and later a humongous, amorphous blob of evil. Not exactly The Joker. Hell, not even Mr. Freeze.
It’s a poor sign when the film’s most compelling scene occurs after the credits, an obscenely cool twist that could make “Green Lantern 2” legitimately great. Until then, in brightest day, in blackest night, “Green Lantern” will still suck with all its might.