"Green Lantern" emerges from obscurity; critics pounce

Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:03am EDT
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By Edwin Chan

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The universe has probably never been safer if the proliferation of comic book superheroes on the big screen is any indication.

Marvel adventures "Thor" and "X-Men: First Class" have sold nearly $800 million worth of tickets combined at the worldwide box office in recent weeks, and "Captain America" is getting ready for a July 22 release across North America.

Stepping into the breach Friday is "Green Lantern," starring Ryan Reynolds as the ring-wielding intergalactic space cop immortalized in D.C. comic books.

The $150 million Warner Bros. picture tells the story of Earth's first member of the Green Lantern Corps and his maiden task -- to beat back and defeat mega-villain Parallax, a planet-killing entity that thrives on fear.

Blake Lively co-stars as his love interest, while Peter Sarsgaard and Mark Strong are on board as villains.

The film's director, Martin Campbell, who rebooted the James Bond franchise with the gritty "Casino Royale," acknowledges that the "Green Lantern" is a lesser-known member of the D.C. comics pantheon, but so what?

"We had a little bit more work to do," Campbell told reporters recently. "It wasn't in as many people's consciousness as Superman or Batman may have been."

But "Iron Man was a second-tier (Marvel comics) character that turned out very well," he points out. "Whether a superhero is second-tier or first-tier is irrelevant ... The movie has to stand alone."   Continued...