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Green Lantern (3D in some cinemas)


Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Tim Robbins, Jay O Sanders, Temuera Morrison, Angela Bassett. Voices: Geoffrey Rush, Clancy Brown, Michael Clarke Duncan

Director: Martin Campbell

Here's another superhero to cheer for; but be careful your 3D glasses don't take a tumble as you doze off in the yawny romantic interludes; the film is exceedingly dull in between its bursts of sometimes amazing action. Its alien worlds, however, are formidably well realised, and something a painter like Dali might well have relished.

The story isn't really anything special: feckless young test pilot Hal Jordan (Reynolds), haunted by the memory of the death of his father, also a pilot, in an accident, is the latest choice - and first human - to join the Green Lanterns, an elite intergalactic force sworn to keeping law and order and eradicating evil. Most of them, being the makers' ideas of aliens, look like fish, reptiles, or the creature from the Black Lagoon.

Right now, though, the Lanterns, who are ruled by the Guardians, emaciated, Yoda-like creatures who live atop stone pillars - don't ask how they eat or go to the loo - are under threat from the Parallax, a gigantic and powerful monster that has developed from a Guardian who sought to find the answer to conquering fear. And the Parallax currently has his beady yellow eyes on little old Planet Earth.

Hal and his fellow Lanterns, however, are possessors of green rings that can work marvels. 'Anything I can see in my mind, I can create,' Reynolds tells his co-pilot and former squeeze (Lively, failing to live up to her name), proving it by conjuring up anything from a runway for a crashing helicopter to a pair of jet fighters (all green, of course).

The easy-going Reynolds is a touch lightweight as the hero, while Sarsgaard enjoys himself as his nutty scientist pal who adores Lively from afar (which is about as near as he's going to get) but falls victim to Parallax and turns into an evil version of the Elephant Man. Oscar-winner Bassett has a virtual walk-on as one of the earthly scientists.

James Newton Howard's music seems to owe something to the original Superman theme, although less basic and stirring. Dialogue is strictly from rote, including one line - 'Your words are compelling, young human' - that seems to come from an earlier, more innocent era.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
114 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 15 Jun 2011