Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: It's Not Easy Being Green Lantern

Plus, Mr. Popper's Penguins never takes flight.

by | June 17, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a hero with a power ring (Green Lantern, starring Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively) and some wacky waddlers (Mr. Popper’s Penguins, starring Jim Carrey and Carla Gugino). What do the critics have to say?

Green Lantern


With the towering exceptions of Batman and Superman, DC’s stable of superheroes haven’t fared as well on the big screen as Marvel’s. And critics say the publisher’s latest adaptation, Green Lantern won’t reverse the trend – it’s a generic, special effects-heavy effort that lacks interesting characters and a compelling script. Ryan Reynolds plays Hal Jordan, a brash test pilot who’s recruited by the Green Lantern Corps to join their crusade against evil in the universe. With the help of a power ring, Jordan is granted a number of superpowers – but can he overcome his fears in time to defeat a marauding army of evil? The pundits say Green Lantern has a few decent set pieces and moments of loony humor, but mostly, it gets bogged down in a too-complicated backstory and never exhibits enough of a singular personality to be truly compelling.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins


It’s summer, so spending time in an air-conditioned theater in the company of some Antarctic residents seems like a decent idea, right? Unfortunately, critics say Mr. Popper’s Penguins is mostly lukewarm stuff; it’s got a committed performance from Jim Carrey that’s undone by a lot of mediocre physical comedy. Based upon the Newbury Award-winning children’s classic, Mr Popper’s Penguins stars Carrey as a divorced businessman who inherits six penguins; soon after turning his apartment into a polar playground, he comes to learn a thing or two about responsibility and family. The pundits say Carrey gives it his all, and the birds are cute, but Mr. Popper’s Penguins is mostly a formulaic family comedy with some so-so slapstick and an overdone message.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Buck, a documentary portrait of real-life horse whisperer Buck Brannaman, is a 90 percent.
  • My Afternoons with Marguerite, starring Gérard Depardieu in a drama about a friendship between a simple man and a frail old lady, is at 85 percent.
  • R, a drama about a man serving time in Denmark’s toughest prison, is at 80 percent.
  • Page One: Inside the New York Times, a doc about a year in the life of the nation’s paper of record, is at 78 percent.
  • Jig, a doc that follows many of the participants in the Irish Dancing World Championships, is at 65 percent.
  • Angel of Evil, a biopic of one of Italy’s most notorious criminals, is at 61 percent.
  • Kidnapped, a drama about a family held captive by a trio of robbers, is at 36 percent.
  • The Art of Getting By, starring Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts as a pair of troubled teens who find common ground, is at 20 percent.