This summer we've already had mutants battling the Cuban Missile Crisis and Norse gods realizing that Natalie Portman is hot, but up next is Green Lantern, based on the DC Comics series that originated in the 1940s. It's a space adventure where the costumes are made out of willpower and computer-generated people fly around shooting stuff out of their rings. I'm not mocking, I've been collecting the comics for 15 years. And now you're mocking me. Real cool, guys.The Green Lantern Corp. is an intergalactic police force created by the Guardians of the Universe, a group of short, blue senior citizens who are tasked to be... guardians of the universe. Then they created power rings that use the wielder's willpower to create anything they can imagine. The rings are the primary defense the Corp. has against any threats, domestic or interstellar. I have one, but it only changes color and makes my finger smell funny.
The story goes that millions of years before Earth was even a twinkle in her daddy's eye, the Guardians split the universe into 3,600 sectors and dispatched one Green Lantern for every sector. When Abin Sur (the Lantern for Sector 2814, which includes our planet) gets injured, he crashes to Earth and sends his ring energy out to find a suitable replacement for his rapidly dying self. Sur finds Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a smartass test pilot who just wants to freebase adrenaline and make sexy time with as many ladies as possible.
More than anything else, Hal Jordan is what this film gets right. Reynolds is perfectly cast as Jordan, mixing in the cocky superiority of Tom Cruise in Top Gun, but with more soul and less homoeroticism. He hits all the right character beats and brings his excellent comic timing, all the while being charming and, yes, dreamy. I feel like America is afraid to let Reynolds become a leading man, maybe because he started his career with Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, or because his eyes are really, really close together. Either way, the man has put in his time, so let's get him a franchise he can sink his perfectly colored and shaped teeth into. Not that I care. We're just friends.
Aside from Reynolds and a few other minor accomplishments, Green Lantern is an instantly forgettable slog through a terminally brain-damaged script by Greg Berlanti (creator of the abysmal No Ordinary Family) and direction so uninspired it reminded me at times of the worst episodes of Stargate SG:1. Director Martin Campbell's work has been incredibly hit or miss for years, having made only one great movie (No Escape) and only one good movie (Casino Royale) in his entire career. The rest have been things like those sweaty Zorro movies and that one where Angelina Jolie stepped on a landmine. He's a journeyman director with no discernible style or experience with films that are primarily made up of computer-generated imagery. They gave us a Brett Ratner when we needed a Terry Gilliam.
Basically, if you like Green Lantern, you're going to go see it anyway, but if all you have to go on are the trailers and you think those look stupid, then go with your gut. If you do decide to go, save your money and see it in 2D. The 3D looks cool when the Lanterns are flying through space or on their base world of Oa, but otherwise it made my head hurt. It's just really hollow and boring. I mean, it's only an hour and 45 minutes long and it felt like at least two and a half hours of green things flying at my face. I even started getting sleepy in the last half and almost nodded off a few times. That's not what you want from a summer movie, is it?