What’s that line from Macbeth? Something about a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, and computer-generated landscapes and Blake Lively in form-fitting business suits and Ryan Reynolds’ abs, signifying nothing? It’s almost as if Shakespeare knew this vacuous Green Lantern adaptation was coming down the pike. Calling director Martin Campbell an idiot is a bit harsh—he gets an extended pass for making Casino Royale—but his preoccupation with bright colors and loud noises and barely comprehensible action sucks this first big-screen appearance for the long-standing DC Comics superhero into a black hole of meaninglessness.
Actually, make that a beige hole. Because worse than being big, loud and stupid—things we expect from a summer blockbuster—Green Lantern is fucking boring. There isn’t a moment in this movie that should cause anyone to give a shit. It starts with a crew of aliens crash-landing on a foreign planet and awakening a subterranean menace, which, 30 seconds later, is on another planet attacking another extraterrestrial, forcing him to flee in a tiny spacecraft that winds up on Earth. Cut to Ryan Reynolds leaping out of bed in his underwear. Suddenly, he’s in a fighter jet, then he’s ejecting from the fighter jet, then he’s being taxied across the galaxy in a glowing green orb, then he’s in space-cop training with a hulking creature with the voice of Michael Clarke Duncan, then he’s saving Lively from a runaway helicopter, then he’s back in space trying to save the universe. That is how the entire film moves, from one whiz-bang scene to the next, the story stitched together by expository speeches accented with inspirational bullshit. None of it registers because it’s never given time to, the whole thing flying by in an emerald-colored blur of slick but soulless CGI.
Even if the film slowed down, it’s not like there’d be much to enjoy. There are hints Campbell is aware of how goofy much of his movie is, but then he has Reynolds psych himself up by earnestly repeating the Green Lantern oath: “In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight!” Maybe he’s just keeping true to the comic, but there’s a reason the series has been rebooted in print several times over the past 70 years. Expect the same to happen to the film franchise. PG-13.
29 SEE IT: Green Lantern opened last week, but did not screen in time for WW press deadlines. It continues this week at multiple locations. Check wweek.com for showtimes.