Can a movie take the mythology of a character and hit the right notes but still make a bad movie? Yes. Witness "Green Lantern."
Based on the D.C. comic book, "Green Lantern" features Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), hotshot test pilot and all-around jerk. Jordan is cocky, tells bad jokes and just seems to alienate everyone in his life. His motivation is always the same: win.
Things change when Jordan meets an alien called Abin Sur (Temeura Morrison), who has been injured by a force in the universe called Parallax.
Long story short, Jordan is granted a power ring that transforms him into a superhero. He becomes the Green Lantern to protect this sector of the universe.
The movie tries hard to capture some of the Marvel movies' magic. We get a flawed character who tries to quip his way out of bad circumstances. Reynolds tries hard to make us like him, but he is done in by the one thing no actor can combat: a bad script.
Yet, the script does present some of the interesting aspects of the Green Lantern mythos. Jordan is but one of thousands of Lanterns that guard the universe.
Sinestro (Mark Strong) is the most outspoken of the Green Lantern Corps. He's the leader of the group and the strongest. He's really the most interesting character here but gets little time to show it. In the larger and unfolding story of the Green Lantern, however, he is an important character.
Then there are Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan) and Tomar-Re (Geoffery Rush) – Jordan's mentors. They, too, fall victim to the movie's real problem for the script gives us no real character development.
The movie's earthly villain is still another example of a missed opportunity. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) is a biologist infected by Parallax, and he grows into a being with telekinetic powers. He, like Jordan, has "daddy issues."
Enter Senator Hammond (Tim Robbins), who feels like not much of a threat and simply a foil for Jordan.
All and all, "Green Lantern" is not a good movie. There's no fun here – only the set-up for a sequel. And there will be one.
If you stay for the end credits, the producers steal another Marvel signature movie move: a scene that sets up the next movie.
Sadly, the set-up for the sequel is more interesting than this movie. Oh, that those responsible for this movie would stop trying to be someone else and find their own voice.
MikeParnell is pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, Va.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action.
Director: Martin Campbell
Writers: Greg Berlanti and Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg
Cast: Ryan Reynolds: Hal Jordan/Green Lantern; Blake Lively: Carol Ferris; Mark Strong: Sinestro; Peter Sarsgaard: Hector Hammond; Tim Robbins: Sen. Hammond; Michael Clarke Duncan: Kilowog (voice); Geoffery Rush: Tomar-Re (voice); Temuera Morrison: Abin Sur.