It’s not easy being green
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