Green Lantern, opening this weekend, is the latest comic-book-superhero movie to invade multiplexes, though not the last. The film, which stars Ryan Reynolds as the power-ring-wielding superhero, is getting panned by most critics, rejected as "a strangely lifeless spectacle" and a "deadly disappointment." Is it time Hollywood stopped trying to milk random superhero franchises, and got back to the business of making good movies? (Watch the film's trailer.)
Yes. Not every comic book should be a movie: Green Lantern is "mind-numbing, misguided pandemonium," and "ranks as the biggest comic book misfire since Batman & Robin battled Poison Ivy," says Colin Covert in the Star Tribune. As the "self-indulgent" The Green Hornet painfully illustrated, not every superhero should go Hollywood. And the Green Lantern, with his "far-fetched" gimmick — he has the power to conjure anything he imagines — is yet another character who works on the comic book page, but not at the multiplex.
"Green Lantern: Bored of the ring"
Especially when they're so carelessly churned out: "There are movies willed to life by the passion of their creators, and there are movies like Green Lantern, which are willed to life strictly by market forces," says Scott Tobias in The Onion's A.V. Club. With superhero movies in vogue, this expedient film was apparently made just because this particular hero hadn't gotten the blockbuster treatment yet. The result is a "shrug" of a film "that only the mouse-clicking digital artisans behind the effects shots" care about.
It doesn't have to be this way: Yes, Green Lantern is a bad, "chintzy-looking" movie whose sole function is to create cross-marketing opportunities, says Manohla Dargis in The New York Times. But comic book movies don't have to be garbage. When Warner Bros. invests in quality blockbusters, we get Christopher Nolan's "excellent" Batman movies. If the studio "is going to shove a property like Green Lantern down consumer throats — drilling it into your child's consciousness... and anywhere else the company can place its brand — the least it can do is give us a good movie."
"It's not easy being... you know"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Mitt Romney is perfectly poised for a comeback in 2016
- 8 secrets to steal from power networkers
- Why is the West so afraid of Islam?
- How to make classic pulled pork
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The Nazi smart bomb that inspired China's most dangerous weapon
- How The Killing survived two cancellations and ended on its own terms
- Don't vote for Andrew Cuomo
- The best places to find love — and lust — according to science
Subscribe to the Week