Green Lantern Lights Up to Entertain
- Friday, June 17, 2011
The human interaction is part of the fun of Green Lantern. Whenever the story ventures to the distant planet of Oa, where the Lantern Corps and a group known as the Guardians of the Universe prepare to battle the shape-shifting Parallax, the film slows considerably, with speeches and lessons about the negative power of fear. “Fear is what stops you and makes you weak,” we’re told. “You reek of fear” says Sinestro (Mark Strong, The Way Back) to Hal. No problem with that. It’s a simple idea. But Strong can’t make Sinestro’s long-winded rallying cries, loaded with back story and explanation, connect with the audience. The movie has to return to earth, and to Hal and Carol, for characters that are relatable, or who are, at least, not laughable.
Laughs are infrequent in Green Lantern, and not always intentional, but the movie does have a lightness of spirit throughout much of it that makes it less somber and more fun than it might have been otherwise. That’s in no small part due to a performance by Peter Skarsgaard (Knight and Day), who looks like he’s having a blast as Hal’s human foe, Hector. Less interesting is how Hal uses his power as the Green Lantern (“I materialized a racetrack, saving hundreds of people”), which is more confusing than impressive, and a climactic showdown that ends with one of our heroes madly typing on a computer. Still, Green Lantern is easy to enjoy, even though some of its dialogue might have benefited from another draft. (The screenplay is credited to four writers.)
At root, Green Lantern is a story about a man who must fulfill what he’s called to do to save the human race, and his realization that he’s been chosen to fulfill that purpose. It’s not a landmark film, nor the best of the summer, but it’s lively often enough to make thoughts of an inevitable sequel almost painless.
- Language/Profanity: “Jesus”; “Oh my God”; “a-shole”; “go-dammit”; “son of a b-tch”; “what the hell”; middle finger extended.
- Alcohol/Smoking/Drugs: A few scenes of drinking, including at a bar.
- Sex/Nudity: Hal wakes up next to a woman in bed and runs off to work; Hal says, “Let’s get these pants off” and removes his belt in preparation for suiting up for work; Hal shown in underwear, bare-chested; Carol reminds Hal that she’s seen him naked, and implies that Hal’s been around the block with many other women; kissing.
- Violence/Crime: Reckless driving; flashback to the fiery death of Hal’s father; Hal is assaulted by three men; sword fight and fist fights; Hector forces a student onto the floor; later, he injects himself with a substance; a helicopter crash; fireballs and special-effects battles; a villain consumes his victims, draining them of their life force.
- Religion/Morals: Fear is said to be a great enemy; Hal offers himself as a sacrifice to spare humanity.
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