Darkest Night

Chris Orr didn't much like Green Lantern:


A few years ago, it seemed the superhero genre was utterly tapped out, that we'd be treated to a litany of Daredevils, Catwomans, and Ghost Riders before we again saw the likes of a good X-Men or Spider-Man. But since the surprise double-whammy of Iron Man and The Dark Knight in 2008, we've had better-than-to-be-expected luck with the inherently limited genre: an overwrought but intermittently compelling Iron Man 2, a mildly diverting Thor, a classy X-Men: First Class. 

But now the piper has come for payment, and the price is the manifold shortcomings of Green Lantern: a woefully underdeveloped script; dubious casting (I don't care how many billion galaxies are out there: in none of them is Tim Robbins the father of Peter Sarsgaard); slack, aimless direction by Martin Campbell; and a set of decidedly uneven performances. 

It's hard to judge Ryan Reynolds, who has shown signs of promise in the past, given the material he had to work with. Like Iron Man's Tony Stark, Hal is meant to be a charming wit; unlike him, he has been provided no witty lines by the long list of (unwisely) credited screenwriters. Blake Lively is a flat-out dud: the only way she could establish more distance from her surname would be to forego speech and locomotion altogether. And Mark Strong, who plays Lantern honcho Sinestro, does about as well as one could reasonably expect in a role that is essentially Spock with the pencil mustache of a 1940s cad.

Anyone else get to check it out?
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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