Movie Review: The Green Lantern

By Stephen Rebello

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Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively star in this dud of a superhero flick.


Director: Martin Campbell Rating: PG-13 Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

Hollywood can sure break a movie lover’s heart. One week X-Men: First Class nicely spiffs up the superhero tentpole genre with its Bond-like 1960s cool, then along comes The Green Lantern and thud. Sure it’s competent, but so same old, same old, you almost forget you’re watching the thing while it’s still spilling CGI effects and 3-D all over you—some $300 million worth.

Directed by Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) and based on the long-favorite DC Comics series, the muddled, cheesy-looking flick stars a stranded Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, the hot-dogging test pilot and flyboy who gets picked to join an intergalactic force, the 3,600-strong Green Lanterns, to train like crazy, wear a green ring and matching unitard and fly all over the universe battling a monstrous, tentacled creature, Parallax, that feeds on fear. Good thing the beast doesn’t feed on a gripping storyline, great production design or endearing characters because ole’ Parallax would starve to death. As the cocky, ambivalent, Oedipally-wracked hero, Reynolds once again shows his ease at light, self-mocking comedy. When he’s doing that, the movie is at least tolerable. The rest of the time the heroic stuff is just plain silly and Reynolds lacks the effortless-seeming gravitas of, oh, say, Michael Fassbender in X-Men: First Class.

As his childhood sweetie and fellow pilot, Blake Lively brings the zest but doesn’t have much to do except look good and mumble her dialogue incomprehensibly through a clenched jaw. Together, they generate zero chemistry. To liven up a movie that works in fits and starts, also on hand are Peter Sarsgaard as a campy, hugely entertaining villain and Tim Robbins, who's also good as Reynolds’ oily politician dad. An obligatory hint of a sequel turns up in the credits but don't hold your breath. Hey, we’re all for going green but this is ridiculous.

About the Author

Playboy Contributing Editor Stephen Rebello has written many Playboy Interview and 20 Questions features. He is the author of such books as the notorious Bad Movies We Love (with Edward Margulies) and Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, the latter of which has inspired a dramatic feature film set for production in 2011. His most recent Playboy Interviews include Josh Brolin and Cameron Diaz.


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