Fatigue. That’s the general emotion that any relatively sane fanboy will be feeling come the end of the summer in regards to comic book adaptations – so imagine the mindset of the general public. Regardless, and somewhat miraculously, Hollywood keeps churning them out because, almost without fail, they make money and, more importantly, hold the promise of sequels.
With X-Men: First Class, Thor, and Priest behind us and Captain America: The First Avenger and Cowboys and Aliens still looming, DC Comics plays its main card in a Marvel-heavy year with one of its most treasured yet odd staple characters. The story is simple – an old intergalactic threat (called Parallax) is accidentally set free (or breaks free, it’s hard to tell) and is on the loose once more with a hidden history and an insatiable urge to eat entire planets Unicorn style, feeding off
As with all origin tales, there’s a lot to fit into this first installment, as you have to introduce the mythology of the world (or Universe in this case), set up the main bad guy(s), a love interest, showcase the central protagonist as they morph from everyday mortal to baffled mortal to reluctant superhero to determined superhero, and then quickly tie everything up neatly with a satisfying conclusion, while still leaving enough strands open for inevitable sequels. It’s a tough thing to pull off, particularly in a decade so rife with comic book origin tales and an audience that has undoubtedly seen it all before, but Green Lantern manages to entertain sufficiently during its opening act thanks mostly to the effortless charm of Reynolds and the slightly more off-kilter (read; sci-fi with surreal elements) set up.
The cast do their best, but there’s little meat to work with as none of these are the most interesting of characters. Mark Strong is overwhelmingly sincere as the leader (?) of the Green Lanterns but comes across as ridiculous with his porn star moustache and heavily CGI’d face and body. Blake Lively makes all the right noises but can’t seem to find a satisfying core as love interest Carol Ferris, and Peter Sarsgaard, one of my all time favourite actors, seems completely lost in a role that’s so indignant that it’s actually embarrassing.
Ultimately, Green Lantern is an enjoyable enough film that manages to stand out ever-so-slightly amidst the never-ending adaptations thanks to
2011 belongs to Marvel, it would seem, and with Avengers knocking at the door, it’s lucky DC are returning yet again to their reliable duo, Superman and Batman, for 2012.