Familiarity breeds contempt. Perhaps that is the rationale behind the critical drubbing “The Green Lantern,” has received upon release. Since 2000, there have been 36 films based on comic books (about six more were created exclusively for the screen). And “Latern” is the fourth of five to be released this year alone (hell, it’s not even the first “Green” superhero in 2011. That distinction goes to January’s god-awful “Green Hornet.” ).
Comics are an easy template for filmmakers, as they already have a tale, a storyboard and a built-in audience. They have the potential for great summer diversions (“Iron Man”) or even overall excellence (“The Dark Knight”). But, as the saying goes in one particular comic-to-film translation, “with great power comes great responsibility.” The missteps have been too numerous to count (“Catwoman,” “Ghost Rider” and “Jonah Hex” immediately rush to mind), and the core audience can be particularly unforgiving, so filmmakers should approach the genre with caution.