Green Lantern lacks punch

Green Lantern is a pretty cool ride, and probably everything a comic book movie should be. So then, why does it feel like this feature is missing — oh, I dunno — something?

Ryan Reynolds as the Green Lantern in Warner Bros. Pictures’ action adventure Green Lantern

Green Lantern is a pretty cool ride, and probably everything a comic book movie should be.

So then, why does it feel like this feature is missing — oh, I dunno — something?

Could it be that the Lantern, very slick and very emerald, is a second- tier character from the DC Comics universe? That’s not to take away anything from the fans who sincerely love this dude, but let’s face it, gang: Batman, Superman, those guys are on the first line. Green Lantern is riding the bench with Aquaman.

Maybe. But more likely, Green Lantern suffers from origin overload. That is, in unravelling all the details on how the hero came to be, by the time it’s all said and done and he’s suited up and ready to roll, there just isn’t a whole lot of time to rock in Martin Campbell’s overly-pricey but not quite-as-peppy flick.

You can’t blame star Ryan Reynolds. Not exactly a rookie when it comes to comic book fare (he participated in one of the Blade sequels), Reynolds brings both his comical chops and his apparent bundle of hours spent with the Ab-flex to the proceedings. He’s not a vanilla personality, and that helps. Doesn’t elevate Green Lantern to instant classic territory, but it helps.

The tale educates us on the 3,600 (give or take a few) sectors guarded by the Green Lantern Corps, a massive peace-seeking organization woven together to battle evil threats to the galaxy. Threats like the Parallax (voiced by Clancy Brown), a giant half-mist, half-goo thing that has the face of a razor-toothed alien, but the body of week-old linguini that oozes its way towards Earth to challenge the first earthling ambassador of the Corps, Hal Jordan (Reynolds).

And — because this is a big ol’ origin yarn, remember? — we get to follow Hal on his journey, from when he screws up in his job as a hotshot pilot, to when he’s gifted a mystical ring and lantern, to when he finally hits the crossroads where he must abandon all fear (a pre-requisite for the gig) and rumble with the brown, cloudy pasta looking to destroy our planet.

Blake Lively (The Town) is decent as Jordan’s love interest, though not terribly genuine — not that fleshing out personality in such an emotionally flimsy story is an easy task. Ditto for the film’s CGI; the pretty lime backdrop is quite dazzling, but doesn’t quite make that leap from the comic book pages.

So why do I still have a smidge of a fondness for Green Lantern? Simple. It’s fun. Not as fun as last month’s summer popcorn offering, Thor, and we’ll see how Captain America fares next month. But for all its faults — and there are many — Green Lantern isn’t dull. Flawed, but not dull.

Out of a possible five stars, I’ll give Green Lantern a two and a half. The feature is currently playing at the Pen-Mar Cinema Centre in Penticton.

Jason Armstrong is a movie reviewer living in the Okanagan.