Director Martin Campbell (The Mask of Zorro, Casino Royale) forgoes the urban realism of Christopher Nolan’s Batman reboots and the romantic/heroic ideal of Superman for the CG rendering of the otherworldly power of the Lantern and the Ring in his introduction to the origin story behind how a recklessly daring pilot named Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) became the first human member of the Green Lantern Corp.
Like every red-blooded superhero, Jordan has issues living up to the ideal of his father and, after his latest flying mishap (complete with flashbacks to dear old dad’s death), Jordan gets summoned by a dying member of the Corp who has crash-landed on Earth in order to pass on his legacy to a worthy successor. Jordan struggles both on Earth and on the planet Oa (home to the Green Lantern Corp and its immortal guardians) to earn the right to bear the Ring as the Parallex, a rogue guardian who thrives on the power of fear manifested through the color yellow rather than the purer green might of will, aims to suck the life force from Earth with help from a mutating scientist (Peter Sarsgaard) eager to step out of the shadow cast by his own father (Tim Robbins).
Instead of boldly going where no comic-book movie has gone before, Green Lantern treads the same well-worn therapeutic path of good over evil, coming across as a paint-by-numbers mash-up of Ghostbusters, one of the Joel Schumacher Batman installments and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Grade: D-plus
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