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Review: Green Lantern

Being in the Green Lantern Corps. is a lot like being a U.S. Marshal. You are allocated a certain degree of autonomy and discretion. Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), however, does not have any of these advantages. A local who happened upon an alien with a dying wish, he finds himself introduced to a world vastly different from his own.
As Hal is the first human Green Lantern, he has to be mentored by a seven foot tall bird named Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush is on a roll isn't he?), he can’t figure out his rings oath, and the leader of the Corps., Sinestro (Mark Strong), is an ass.
Reynolds was a great choice for Hal. He exudes a natural charisma that invites you to share Hal’s unbridled optimism and it doesn't feel false. Green Lantern is much closer to Superman than Batman or Spider-Man. Hal has his own sense of right and wrong and he never crosses it. In a way, he is the luckiest of superheroes; his powers come at no cost, he doesn't lose a family member, and he suffers no hardship for the use of his powers. Hal may be lucky, but he is still in way over his head.
Batman and Spider-Man never have to face otherworldly beings in combat. Hal is not so fortunate. Parallax is such a villain, and a powerful foe. Hal cannot face him alone, even with his new found power. So he has a choice: fail Earth or enlist the aid of the Green Lantern Corp. If that isn't enough, he has to face off with genius, Hector Hammond, (Peter Sarsgaard) who has his mind manipulated by Parallax. Sarsgaard has a lot of fun with the role and works to make their showdown all the more entertaining.
Unfortunately, for Martin Campbell and company, Green Lantern is competing with far better comic book films this season. It is not the best the comic book genre has to offer this summer - X-Men: First Class and Thor are both superior. Green Lantern, like all origin stories, suffers from a lack of suspense. Nothing bad can really happen to Hal as he is the face of a franchise sure to launch several sequels. Additionally, the character arcs are not as developed as the bulk of the story is focused on the costume Hal puts on, rather than the man. Hal makes changes, but he never really finds any depth during the course of the film.

Green Lantern is at times fun, but between the flourishes of visual wonder, the script leaves one wanting more. The romance between Reynolds and Lively doesn't ring true and the cheesy dialogue can only be salvaged by the actors so many times before your eyes start to roll. Despite those two factors, the other-worldly elements of Green Lantern are sometimes spectacular and Reynolds has the charm to pull off a hero.

**1/2 out of ****

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