The Green Lantern   (Rated PG-13)  Three Stars07-06-11-green-lantern.jpg

Green Lantern (105 minutes) is a film for the adolescent boy in us all. What’s more, the characters and the actors portray-ing them are very much aware of this fact. The acting is wooden, the dialogue exposi-tory and forced, the plot overly complicated. All in all, it’s not the worst comic-book movie of the last 10 years (I assume no list is necessary, but if you want perspective compare it to X-Men: Last Stand. There. Now don’t you feel much better about The Green Lantern?), but it is far from the best.

The film respects the comic book my-thology, even if I don’t. There were rumors that the filmmakers were experimenting with a comic twist on the story and were in talks with Jack Black (!) to star as Hal Jordan, and it’s a good thing they went with a more straightforward version. Director Martin Campbell didn’t do a terrible job, it is more that he didn’t do an amazing job, so the film comes off as very middle of the road forgettable. This is exactly the kind of generic super-hero film that makes just enough money so everyone involved can tell themselves they did a good job, and then move on to their next project.

Millions of years ago, the Guardians of the Universe used the green essence of will power to create power rings that could manifest anything the wearer thought of, in a sort of intergalactic version of The Secret. Wow. Now I am thinking of one of my ex-boyfriends who told me he was a guardian of the Universe right before he broke up with me. Seriously. He was not joking. I thought he had a creative mind and a rebellious streak, but no. He was crazypants.

Anyway, these guardians created a UN-type security force called the Green Lantern Corps. Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) is a senior member of the Corps charged with containing Parallax (Clancy Brown), who escapes and mortally wounds Abin Sur. Abin Sur, clearly wounded so badly he forgets that his magic ring gives him the power of intergalactic flight, manages to get into a spaceship and fly to earth. Meanwhile, test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) shows up so late for his big test flight that he doesn’t even undergo any of the flight prep one assumes experimental pilots need before they’re allowed to take the throttle. Oh well, at least he managed to find time for hate flirting with Carol Ferris (Blake Lively). Fun game! Take a shot every time she accuses him of acting like a child! Right around the last third of the movie, everything will seem much more entertaining.

Hal and Abin finally manage to get in the same scene, and naturally Hal buries the alien and flees the scene with magic ring and magic lantern in tow just before the government shows up. Although it seems like, since Hal isn’t a doctor, much less a specialist in alien physiology, he maybe should have considered the possibil-ity that Abin Sur was in some kind of regenerative alien coma and not risked bury-ing him alive? That’s not a spoiler … it just seems like taking the time to build a burial cairn when the military was bound to show up any moment when you have no way of verifying the alien is dead-dead was possibly a tad misguided.

Well, it seems to work out. And Hal is whisked away to the planet Oa where he meets Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush), Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan) and Sinestro (Mark Strong). Meanwhile, exo-biologist Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) has been tasked with creating some alien autopsy footage for use on the SyFy network. You might think the government would spring for some kind of biohazard suit and thick plastic gloves, but you would be wrong. These cost sa-ing measures result in Hector Hammon absorbing the yellow power wielded by Parallax, setting up the action in the second half of the film.

The mythology continues to develop, the story gets infinitely more complicated, and the finale fails to deliver a satisfying conclusion. However, there is an after credits scene.

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