"It Girl" Blake Lively Lights Up Green Lantern
Like every supehero movie, Green Lantern gives the best bits to the guys. Ryan Reynolds flies through the air and hurls green beams of energy at a flame-breathing beast from outer space. Peter Saarsgard's Hector Hammond cackles fiendishly after he gets exposed to a virus and grows a forehead the size of a catcher's mitt. A battery of stage-trained British men act superior to dumb humans in their roles as aliens from the intergalactic city of Oa.
And The Girl? Let's just say Blake Lively does the best she can with what she's been given.
Lively portrays test pilot-cum-corporate executive Carol Ferris. It's an unlikely combination, but this is a comic book movie. Ferris challenges Reynold's Hal Jordan character to embrace his responsibilities as a defender of the universe. Per formula, Lively plays the damsel in distress card, but she radiates enough on-screen magnetism to prevent her numerous close-ups with Reynolds from descending into mawkish soap opera.
Lively joins a long line of talented actresses to undergo the Hollywood rite of passage required of any female performer interested in acquiring box office clout. Consider Lively's predecessors: Cannes 2011 Best Actress winner Kirsten Dunst? Spunky and pretty as Mary Jane opposite Toby Maguire in three Spider-Man movies. Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow? Spunky and pretty as Pepper Potts -- the name says it all -- in Iron Man. Earlier this month, Oscar-nominated Jennifer Lawrence put a tender spin on the Supporting Female Archetype as the blue-skinned mutant Mystique in X-Men: First Class.
I met Lively briefly when the Los Angeles native hyped The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants a few years ago. Her Pants co-star America Ferrera came across as the nice one. Castmate Amber Tamblyn, the acerbic one. Lively, loose and loquacious, distinguished herself with unstoppable energy, barely stopping for breath as she tackled a range of long-forgotten subjects.
Emerging a couple of years later to play the prep school bitch in Gossip Girl, Lively then shifted gears to appear, virtually unrecognizable, as the drug-addicted single mother in 2010's The Town.
Last month, the 23-year old actress wrapped production on Hick. The film casts Lively as the wild mentor to a 13-year-old runaway played by Chloe "Kick Ass" Moretz. Two firecrackers, one movie. Can't wait.
Green Lantern opens Friday.
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