(Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Robbins, Angela Bassett, et al / NR / 104 mins)
Overview: Hal is a gifted and cocky test pilot, but the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before. But Hal is clearly the missing piece to the puzzle, and along with his determination and willpower, he has one thing no member of the Corps has ever had: humanity. With the encouragement of fellow pilot and childhood sweetheart Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), if Hal can quickly master his new powers and find the courage to overcome his fears, he may prove to be not only the key to defeating Parallax he will become the greatest Green Lantern of all.
Verdict: It’s shocking how little $150 million buys you in Hollywood these days. That galactic sum is the estimated production price tag swinging from “Green Lantern,” the chintzy-looking movie featuring the emerald-hued superhero who’s been riding high and low on and off the comic-book circuit since 1940. But there’s no keeping a masked avenger down, especially a contender in cross-marketing promotion. Do you want Green Lantern tie-in Doritos or Reese’s with your tie-in Lipton Brisk green-tea beverage? (After the sugar rush subsides, settle in with the newly published “Green Lantern and Philosophy: No Evil Shall Escape This Book.”)
The little weird creatures in the movie with the puckered heads certainly look as if they could use some hydration. Called the Guardians of the Universe, these are basically Yoda multiplied, wizened immortals who live on the planet Oa and were originally drawn to look like, no kidding, the first Israeli prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. In the movie, presumably select members perch on individual power towers and wear long robes that drape from their bodies like portable red carpets, regulation alien bobble heads who are part Mr. Burns, part Metamucil candidate. They dispense orders and gnomic wisdom to the Green Lantern Corps, an interplanetary transspecies force that patrols the universe like beat cops and soon includes the earthling Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a test pilot.
Hal joins the Lanterns after being tapped by a dying alien and voicing the oath that characterizes him as much as his duds. (“In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight.”)
It’s a gig that comes with the familiar superperks like a damsel to rescue and a world to save, and is served up with the customary drawbacks, like a shiny (digital) unitard and villainy. First, though, Hal has to fight the usual demons (notably dear old dead Dad) to become the champion he was chosen to be, a task impeded by lame jokes; evocations of better movies (the 1970s “Superman” included); an ugly-bruise palette of black, green and purple; and a formulaic script that mechanically switches among story threads as TV shows often do.