Following on from the successes of numerous Supermen, Batmen and Spider-Men, another comic book hero gets his chance to save the world in a big budget, special effects-packed movie.
This time, the man in the very clingy lycra suit is Ryan Reynolds as cocky pilot Hal Jordan, a reckless guy with daddy issues who comes across a dying alien that has crash-landed on earth. Said creature is actually a Green Lantern, a keeper of intergalactic peace, and on his deathbed he bequeaths his special glowing jade ring to Hal, who pops it on his finger and discovers it gives him super-powers of the flying and kicking ass variety. Trouble is, nerdy science teacher Hector (Sarsgaard) has been infected with a different type of glowy energy (green, it seems, is good, orange is very, very bad) that gives him a swollen head (literally) and the ability to channel a mega alien baddie called Parallax. The other Green Lanterns throughout the universe (led by Mark Strong’s Sinestro, looking like a cross between Spock and Hellboy) don’t fancy helping, so it could be up to Hal to step up and save the planet.
With a prologue about the origins of battle between the Green Lanterns and Parallax that will petrify the under-10s (Parallax is like a big lumpy cloud of boulders, but it has a screaming face, a bit like the dust-cloud skull in The Mummy), this is aimed at older kids looking for a new, interesting superhero. Unfortunately, they will find it a bit hard to find him in this mess of CGI effects, too many minor characters and under-developed sub-plots (Hal’s galactic training takes about five seconds, while Hector’s problems are never properly explored).
Reynolds, who can do snarky humour and macho drama with equal ease, is well-cast in the lead role (and, mums, he looks very cute, too) but doesn’t get enough time to show what he can do, while Sarsgaard and the always-watchable Strong are wasted. Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively, as Hal’s ex/childhood friend/possible love interest, is forgettable (and who in real life wears heels that high to work?) but pretty – perfect window dressing for a movie that looks fabulous but leaves you wishing there had been a bit more to it.
Is Green Lantern suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
As mentioned above, the opening prologue, in which Parallax grows by sucking the souls and flesh of creatures, will be too scary for younger (under 10) children.
SPOILER – Under-10s may also be upset during a scene in which Hal remembers his father dying in an airplane explosion.
Younger children may find Hector’s transformation scary.