Green Lantern (2011)

Greg Says: As far as super-hero movies go, it’s perfect.

Title: Green Lantern (2011)
Rating: 8/10
Date: 22 June 2011
Recommendation: See it in the Theater
Helpful: 4 out of 8 found this helpful.

I was really surprised. I’ve seen Ryan Reynolds in a handful of movies and he keeps getting better. He is, sadly for me, one of those actors I want to hate. He’s always the smart-alecky boy-who-never grew up (see “Van Wilder”). But he keeps putting in the good performances (like “The Proposal”) and I have to grudgingly accept him as a fine and diverse player.

“Green Lantern” starts out looking suspiciously like “Top Gun” with Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) upstaging his ex-girlfriend-pilot and two drone fighter planes. Some of the same tactics were even used. Smart-alecky Hal Jordan gets chewed out (because he was supposed to show how great the drones were) and then is fired.

Then he meets an alien who gives him a ring … and we’re off. The rest of the film is a pretty standard super hero journey: Hal Jordan becomes super hero Green Lantern: he plays with the ring, rejects its super powers and the responsibilities it requires, and ultimately makes peace with the power and his role in the universe. That’s all pretty straightforward fare.

But where the film really works is how Hal’s human nature is unique in the universe and is key to saving Earth and the universe. This is what I really liked about the old Star Trek series. Exposing humanity’s greatest weaknesses and 1) overcoming them or 2) turning them to our greatest advantage. I was so pleasantly surprised that I forgave minor errors in continuity and unclear plot turns.

The movie pits “will” against “fear”. It is rare that Summer movies have a moral or spiritual focus – a message you can take home. Hal Jordan exposes his fear (a weakness we all share) and shows how he combats it to save his woman, his planet, and the universe. And so, we can all go home feeling like Hal Jordan, because we all feel fear – and overcoming that fear is the super hero in each of us.