I had low expectations. The trailers showed a story so loaded with cosmic folderol, ill-shaped creatures massed in unreal environments, that I doubted it could have any resonance with real life (the head-trip puzzlebox Inception had left me cool for this reason).
But they wisely get a lot of the galactic craziness over with in the opening voice-over -- much like the theme song to The Beverly Hillbillies brought you up to speed -- so we knew what Ryan Reynolds would soon be up against.
And a charming fellow he is. Reminds me of Steve Rude. Good comic timing, unafraid of looking uncool. Your wife or girlfriend will appreciate the fact that they get his shirt off more than once. If you heated him properly you could make a waffle on his abdominals.
Some surprises. Peter Sarsgaard's Hector Hammond is the subsidiary bad guy, a nicely tortured soul and mirror character to Ryan's Hal Jordan (daddy issues both!). Message: science nerds bad, jocks good, upending the usual comic-book order. He gets a disease that leaves him looking like Joseph Merrick, poor dude.
Main baddie Parallax is a huge entity, suggesting an octopus, lava, and feces all at once. I worried how a fight with a relatively tiny Green Lantern could be dramatized. But it works well. The projected green catapults and ak-ak guns and walls are quite entertaining (if illogical; why project a gun when you could just project bullets?) in the same way the magic duel was in The Sword and the Stone.
In fact, Green Lantern is particularly suited for CGI, in a way Superman, for instance, is not. All those projected green things are perfect for it, and there are countless opportunities for one last emerald whatzit to jazz up the proceedings.
Blake Lively is a gorgeous creature, worthy of her check-box on Leo DiCaprio's Life List. And she can barrel-roll a stealth fighter without smearing her lipstick.
Parallax must've lost some brain-cells in that prison cave, as he falls for the old follow-GL-right-toward-a-sun-until-it's-too-late-to-swerve trick. But at least it's nicely set up in the beginning, when Hal destroys a couple of billion dollars worth of fighter planes to prove his integrity.
There were other good set-ups (a three-second scene with a Hot Wheels set plays this role). And there was some symbolism going on in the art direction with the color red, early on: his Mustang, the birthday balloons, that signal light on the airport control tower. Maybe somebody can explain what it was.
Nice for DC to have a non-Batman hit. It's been a while.