It’s not easy be­ing green

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews -

114 min IT’S COME to this. It took two decades of flops – The Phan­tom, any­one? – for the su­per­hero movie to come good at the box of­fice. But once Bryan Singer’s X-Men un­leashed a fran­chise, there was no turn­ing back. The suc­cess of Christo­pher Nolan’s The Dark Knight has only ex­ac­er­bated the dilemma for long-stand­ing comic book fans; no­body who ever pined for more su­per­hero flicks could have re­alised that by 2011 that was all they were go­ing to get.

But as Hol­ly­wood rushes in to res­ur­rect ev­ery soul who ever donned a cape or dis­patched a vil­lain mid-mono­logue, Su­per­hero Fa­tigue Syn­drome has set in. X-Men: First Class, de­spite ex­cel­lent no­tices, has per­formed well be­low ex­pec­ta­tions, Thor failed to make a thun­der­ous boom and pre­dicted tal­lies for the rest of this sum­mer’s slate – Cap­tain Amer­ica: The First Avenger, etc – are hastily be­ing re­vised down­wards.

If the rapidly de­clin­ing genre is start­ing to look aw­fully like the disas­ter flick at the end of the 1970s, then Green Lan­tern is the Air­port ’79 of su­per­hero pic­tures. A mud­dled CGI ex­trav­a­ganza stud­ded with such re­li­able ac­tors as Ryan Reynolds, Peter Sars­gaard and Tim Rob­bins and botched at ev­ery plot turn, the new film does lit­tle to dis­pel the no­tion that the DC cre­ation is an al­most-ran in the caped cru­sader race.

As ever, the movie un­folds as an ori­gins myth. Hal Jor­dan (Reynolds) is a US Air Force dare­devil when he is cho­sen for the elite Green Lan­tern Corps, an in­ter­galac­tic peace­keep­ing agency with an undy­ing de­vo­tion to the snot end of the colour spec­trum. Will his men­tor Thaal Sine­stro (Strong) be able to turn the first hu­man lan­tern into a war­rior in time to de­feat ne­far­i­ous en­ergy cloud Par­al­lax or his earth-bound min­ion, Dr Hec­tor Hammond (Sars­gaard)?

Four ac­cred­ited screen­writ­ers work hard to turn this rea­son­ably straight­for­ward ge­n­e­sis tale into an un­fath­omable mess. It does not help that for most of the run time, we’re look­ing at ugly, un­con­vinc­ing dig­i­tal ef­fects and lit­tle else.

The over­re­liance on blue­screen is un­en­gag­ing and the in­sis­tent re­turn to the tropes of the orig­i­nal 1940 comic book is down­right silly. Last time we checked there were ex­cit­ing new in­no­va­tions in the Green Lan­tern uni­verse; Girl Lan­tern Jade was bat­tling Alexan­der Luthor jnr and John Ste­wart was strik­ing a blow for African Amer­i­cans. Don’t the pro­duc­ers know that once you go black there’s no go­ing back?

Emer­ald jus­tice: Ryan Reynolds lights the way

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