Hope springs eternal for the modern Hollywood superhero movie; someday, somehow, someone is going to make a real stunner. (Law of averages, right?) You feel a twinge of that let's-do-better ambition at the start of Green Lantern, as the camera soars over a clearly digital, yet still beautifully designed, moonscape where three alien life forms stumble on something unholy. (The scene could have been transplanted directly from a '50s space adventure like Forbidden Planet.) But no sooner are we introduced to giant-floating-head supervillain Parallax---who's out to destroy the Lanterns, the universe's cadre of protectors---than the film takes a ruinous detour to Earth.
Enter square-jawed daredevil Hal Jordan (Reynolds), he of the Ken doll physique and perfunctorily addressed daddy issues. The guy needs a calling, dammit! And boy, does he get one after being summoned to the side of a fallen Lantern, who gifts him his laser-light-show ring and cosmos-protecting powers. Time to kick it into high gear, right? Uh, sure, just after we attend to Hal's nonstarter romance with plastic girl Carol Ferris (Lively, who isn't). Oh, and there's this other supervillain we gotta deal with---Hector Hammond (Sarsgaard, made up with a hilarious John Carpenter--esque bald pate). And hey, you ever wonder what happened to Angela Bassett? Oh, brother.
Hal does eventually travel to the mystical corps-HQ planet of Oa for some sequel-ready one-upmanship with baddie-in-training Sinestro (Strong), and the film's very talented director, Martin Campbell (Casino Royale), handles these otherworld scenes, as well as the finale's tentacle-tastic Parallax fight, with expected aplomb. But whenever this Lantern returns to terra firma (too often), its imaginative flights are ground down under the Warners overlords' demographic-pandering heels.
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