Green Lantern

Year: 2011
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Martin Campbell
Writer: Greg Berlanti/Michael Green/Marc Guggenheim/Michael Goldenberg
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Robbins, Mark Strong, Geoffrey Rush, Angela Bassett, Temuera Morrison, Jay O Sanders

This film was a good example of the subversion of expectations. After seeing the trailer with the cartoony alien planet and all the CGI characters I thought this was going to be one of the worst movies of the year.

All that CGI did indeed leave me cold, as did some some of the outright stupid sequences and plot holes (if you can make anything with the power of your will what possible enemies or threats can there be in your life?), and by and large it was no worse than Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and the other second rate superhero blockbusters from this year.

But I didn't count on one essential element – Ryan Reynolds, who I love in almost every movie he's in. True, half the time they had him do the staring-into-the-middle-distance-with-stoic-look-in-eyes hero thing complete with the origin story tropes, the hot girl and everything else, but to cast Reynolds and not give his natural comic talents some free reign would have been criminal, and thankfully director Martin Campbell (fresh off Bond) and Warner Bros were smart enough to give him the stage when it called for it.

As far as the plot goes, it's the same (yaaaaaaaawn) rubbish about someone finding something or being affected by something that gives them a superpower following the exposition about where they came from, what they can do, flexing their newfound muscles while training, etc etc.

I actually saw a very strong shade of one of my favourite films, The Last Starfighter. After traveling to the Green Lantern home planet of Oa when the ring chooses him and having the crap kicked out of him by some comic sidekick characters charged with training him in his abilities, Hal (Reynolds) gives up and returns to Earth, just like Alex Rogan did. But where Alex was forced back into the conflict when Xur sent the Xan-Do-Xan after him, Hal is bought back into the fight thanks to his human nemesis (Sarsgaard) and the huge cloud thingy I've heard described as being just like The Nothing from The Neverending Story.

Any time Reynolds is doing the action and adventure it's very lightweight, but put words in his mouth and put him in a room with other people and he'll show you the reason he's a star. And ignore the rubbish box office – Green Lantern is just a loss leader for Warner Bros' big DC Comics movie. After the success Marvel's enjoying, DC will be prepping its own superhero team film (Justice League) any day.

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