It's not easy being 'Green Lantern,' but it sure is fun 

With the notable exception of Batman, the larger-than-life crime fighters of longtime Marvel rival DC Comics haven’t hit it off with moviegoers in recent years. “Green Lantern,” resting securely on the charisma of its leading man, the typically cocksure Ryan Reynolds, may fare better.

Reynolds, the perfect choice to play a daredevil pilot in the Han Solo mold — self-centered, casually irresponsible and reluctant to play hero if it requires even the slightest modicum of commitment — isn’t asked simply to dispose of the bad guys with his powerful ring and a sharp one-liner.

Here, as Hal Jordan, the first human to join the ranks of the Green Lanterns, fearless interplanetary warriors charged with maintaining order in the universe, he is asked to display the humility of a man who recognizes his flaws and struggles to overcome them.

It’s key to the character’s humanity, and the biggest reason why his journey remains compelling enough to warrant attention.

This is not a spectacle for the ages. The CGI-created world that Hal, our hesitant hero, calls home is gaudy but unconvincing. As a 3-D production, the movie takes little advantage of the suddenly trendy format, and its narrative logic has holes big enough for Hal and his fellow Lanterns to soar through with ease.

So why, then, would I recommend “Green Lantern”? Because, warts and all, the characters give us reason to care about them, whether it’s Hal, who initially shrinks from the task of protecting the universe because, well, he’s just not cut out for it, or Peter Sarsgaard’s misfit scientist, whose own brush with omnipotence proves his undoing.

About himself, Hal has a point. He’s a far cry from DC’s Superman, whose strength and nobility are virtually his entire personality.

Reynolds has the dashing good looks and sinewy physique to play the all-American superhero (although he’s Canadian), but where the Man of Steel is cartoonishly pure of heart, Hal knows his shortcomings all too well to masquerade as the world’s exemplar of righteousness.

“Lantern” is fun, a thrilling adventure that’s as much the story of Hal’s first foray into battle, against a planet-devouring parasite known as Parallax, as his crash course in achieving maturity.

Once he hits his stride, so does the action, which is fast, smartly paced and filled with good humor, breezily unfolding over an hour and 45 minutes that passes in a painless flash of emerald light.


Green Lantern


Starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Tim Robbins
Written by Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg
Directed by Martin Campbell
Rated PG-13
Running time 1 hour 45 minutes

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