By Mike Richardson
This year has seen a barrage of superhero movies, Thor (2011), The Green Hornet (2011), X-Men: First Class (2011), but we’ve already had the also-ran in the superhuman race – the Green Lantern.
For those of you out there who aren’t familiar with Green Lantern’s backstory, he’s a member of an intergalactic band of green do-gooders who protect their sector from evil using a ring with the power to create anything imaginable out of green light. They look and act like a leotard-wearing Neighbourhood Watch (not the best of starts). The character is a mid-table DC hero, but who apparently has a loyal and numerous fanbase in the US, enough to warrant a $200 million summer blockbuster.
The story sees cocky test pilot Hal Jordan, (Ryan Reynolds – the world’s sexiest man, according to People Magazine) inherit the ring of green power from its last owner, a purple skinned alien mortally wounded by resident bad guy Parallax.
The first of myriad problems with Green Lantern is that the reluctant hero is played by Ryan Reynolds, who is actually more talented and likeable than his teeth and torso suggest. He is simply too heroic-looking before he even sees the ring (being a test pilot he’s already super cool and courageous). There was a short lived idea of making a comedy Green Lantern with Jack Black as the reluctant hero, sadly nixed immediately by Green Lantern’s fans. Which, considering how this film turned out, is a shame. It could hardly have been worse (or less profitable).
The story sees Jordan learn how to harness his new powers, learn about his great responsibilities and protect the world from evil dust cloud Parallax, who thrives on the yellow coloured light of fear. Although I could have sworn that the colour of fear was brown. This all comes across as a somewhat joyless, expensive, flabby, overly serious, rather pointless waste of a couple of hours (it felt longer).
The second problem is that the Green Lantern’s super powers come from a ring that can create anything and, consequently, the film constantly flunks for obvious green-tinged appendages; a sword, a gun, a small shield. The aforementioned Jack Black version, one imagines, would showcase more amusing devices for the ring to conjure up (remember the fun we had with The Mask (1994)).
The film rattles along in 3D (oh joy!) and the typical superhero nonsense is played out: enemies are fought, people are saved, girls are wooed and a hero learns the importance of something or other. The direction is flat and overly reliant on the fey and dull 3D effects that service the ring’s projections. Green Lantern fails to entertain the masses and fails to appease the fanbase – don’t expect a sequel and don’t expect Tony Stark, Captain America or Christopher Nolan to be losing any sleep over this film.