It must be a difficult task to assemble an action-adventure fantasy, especially for this summer of superhero-origin movies, with Thor and X-Men already in theaters and Captain America following in July. Difficult, that is, unless the writers abandon originality and build their script with elements from other movies all other movies. Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg, the concocters of Green Lantern, had 70 years of the DC comic-book character to use as inspiration, yet they borrowed enough tropes from old film fantasies to make an Identi-Kit of blockbuster clichés. Check off the punch list of items in this Green Lantern manifest:
1. A world governed by wise elders perched on high columns, with their desiccated faces in fishbowls; cf. Clash of the Titans
2. A backstory of interplanetary battle between the Green Lantern Corps and a malignant force called Parallax that destroys its foes through soul sucking; cf. Raiders of the Lost Ark
3. A magical ring that imparts great power to the wearer; cf. The Lord of the Rings
4. A bold, reckless hero, Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), who is traumatized by father issues; cf. Star Wars, Iron Man, etc.
5. A heroine, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), who is meant to assume control of her father's aircraft company; cf. Iron Man's Tony Stark
6. A nerdy scientist, Hector (Peter Sarsgaard) also with pretty severe father issues whose thirst for interplanetary knowledge makes him drunk with power, and whose exposure to a strange element turns him into a villain; cf. The Thing from Another World, The Incredible Hulk, etc.
7. An alien aristocrat, Sinestro (Mark Strong), with a mysterious agenda and pointy ears; cf. Spock in Star Trek
8. The catchphrase "With great power comes great responsibility"; cf. Spider-Man
... plus dozens of other examples we either didn't notice or don't care about, in a movie that abandons creative storytelling for manifest destiny. Apart from some spiffy visual effects, which create coherent, scary textures and architecture for outer space, Green Lantern is the most generic of summer time wasters. The tone chosen by director Martin Campbell is an uneasy mix of solemnity and jock joking, as the film hopscotches from deepest space to shallowest Earth.