It's not the best superhero movie of the year, but there's still some emerald-colored eye candy to be had.
Director: Martin Campbell MPAA Rating: PG-13 Studio: Warner Bros.
Expectations were high for Green Lantern in a year that gave us X-Men: First Class, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. Those three movies were all entertaining superhero adventures that were surprisingly better than most anticipated. Now that some time has passed and Green Lantern is flying home, it’s time to lower expectations and enjoy Green Lantern for what it is: a cheesy superhero special-effects showcase that occasionally crackles with green energy, especially on the Blu-ray 3D version.
We are told in the introduction that millions of years before the Earth was formed, the wise Guardians of the Universe harnessed the power of will to create an intergalactic police force known as the Green Lanterns Corps. Ryan Reynolds—who looks like he has been working out to play a superhero since birth—plays cocky test pilot Hal Jordan who is chosen by a dying Lantern’s ring to take the alien’s place as a protector of the one of the universe’s 3600 sectors, which includes Earth. The powerful ring allows Hal to fly, wraps him in a suit of green energy and enables him to create anything he wills from his mind.
Hal is transported by the ring to the Lanterns’ home planet of Oa where he learns that one of the Guardians has fallen from grace and succumbed to the power of fear. Now called Parallax, this giant cloud of evil yellow energy makes its way to Earth to destroy it. Hal doubts his power to commit—as evidenced by his shaky relationship with fellow test pilot Carol Ferris (Blake Lively)—but can he pull it together before our world perishes in a sulfur-colored cloud of doom? If there was ever a time to “go green,” Hal knows this it.
Reynolds is best when he is gently poking fun at himself, so he is built for the role of Hal Jordan. Unfortunately, too much time is wasted trying to establish some kind of deep romantic attachment between Reynolds and Lively, which just never comes together as we are subjected to Reynolds dropping whopper lines like, “You look pretty.” Thud! Also, superheroes are only as great as the villains they are up against. Although Peter Sarsgaard does his best as a doctor infected with Parallax’s evil energy, the real villain is Parallax itself—essentially a giant yellow CGI cloud with a mean face voiced by Clancy Brown. Parallax is not exactly Darth Vader, Dr. Octopus or the Joker, in other words. Still, there are other familiar faces that raise the bar slightly, including Tim Robbins as a U.S. senator, Angela Bassett as Dr. Amanda Waller and Mark Strong as Sinestro who, if you wait around until after the end credits, appears to be being set up as the next film’s villain—if it ever happens.
Green Lantern is a special Friday home video release that is available on DVD, a barebones Blu-ray, a Blu-ray/DVD combo with digital copy and a combo with a Blu-ray 3D version as well, which somehow looks more impressive at home than it did in the theaters. The Blu-ray contains an extended version of the movie that is nine minutes longer than the theatrical cut. Green Lantern is not the best superhero movie of the year by a long shot, but there is still some emerald-colored eye candy to be found on any of these editions.
Best extras: Both the standalone DVD and the Blu-ray contain deleted scenes and “Justice League #1 Digital Comic.” The Blu-ray includes the interactive Maximum Movie Mode, which includes picture-in-picture commentary, eight featurettes, character bios, galleries, storyboards and more. The BD also has “The Universe According to Green Lantern.”