At long last, the Green Lantern live-action movie has arrived. DC and Warner Brothers is banking on this to be another money-making franchise to go along with Batman and Superman. Is the bad buzz it’s generated these last few months justified or is it not the “poozer” that I think it is? Hit the play to find out.
Music provided by Green Lizard – Gone Away
It’s Green Lantern week, kids! All week long, we’re going to give you lots of Green Lantern content in preparation for this Friday’s premiere of the live-action flick starring Ryan Reynolds. Give us your thoughts and let us know if you have anything you want to talk about regarding the popular DC character.
There’s obviously been a great concern for Green Lantern as of late. The books are at a climax in the War of the Green Lanterns arc that is not registering well with a lot of fans. They’ve called for a back-to-basics approach, taking the legendary corps back to their space cop roots. And then there was the First Flight animated flick from a couple of years ago, which, while having some high points with Victor Garber as Sinestro and some cool visuals, wasn’t the sales or critical smash DC and Warner Brothers was hoping for. Lastly, we’ve got a live-action showing of the character coming out this weekend that fans are being cautiously optimistic about. There’s no telling what Ryan Reynolds and team will bring to the table and the early trailers Warner Bros. released late last year brought concern, especially when the company admitted that the special effects weren’t fully ready at the time.
That all said and done, we can understand the skepticism going into DC’s 11th animated movie offering in Green Lantern Emerald Knights and whether or not it would do its material justice. Give credit to Bruce Timm and team though for giving the character another shot – and not so much in the sense that they did this because DC and Warner Bros. wanted something to tie into the live-action flick. They took the focus off Hal Jordan this time and centered it on the Corps itself – how it came to be, the personalities behind it, and what makes them a force to be reckoned with. It’s because of that mentality that this anthology ranks this as one of DC’s best animated offerings.
The story overall is the Green Lantern Corps preparing themselves for a battle with Krona, who is making his way out of the Anti-Matter Universe after the Guardians had banished him there billions of years ago. This gets touched upon in brief moments for the majority of the film – the bulk of it is the Corps sharing their tales of the group to a new recruit, Arisia. We get everything leading into their big, cosmic battle with Krona – the first Lanterns being chosen, Kilowog’s rise to the Corps trainer, Laira confronting her past, why Mogo doesn’t socialize, and Abin Sur’s confrontation with Atrocitus about the Blackest Night prophecy (not the one you’re thinking of though). Some humorous, some serious – but all eventually leading to what makes this group of extraterrestial beings the most powerful around, especially when Krona makes his way out of the sun to begin his conquest. It’s an effective anthology tale that tells us why we should care about them before giving us a special effects tour de force.
This could have fallen flat on its face like the last anthology series DC did in Batman Gotham Knight. And it thankfully did the exact opposite.
The majority of the shorts is what defines this movie. You really get a sense of the spectacular when you watch these brave beings slip on their rings and put their lives on the line for the sake of the galaxies. The First Lantern short is proof of that in the beginning – the minute you see the first Corps come to realize what they could do with constructs, you get a great sense of how powerful this group can be. It’s thrilling to see their realization and it sucks you in from the get-go.
Laira’s short was the highlight for me. The most serious of the bunch and written by Eddie Berganza, it takes us into a war that results in a family squabble as a result of Laira’s choice to become a Green Lantern. We’ve seen this Shakespearian plot done many times before, but it’s refreshing to see in a galactic setting. And the DC animators are getting better with fight scenes with each DVD offering – this was probably one of the most well-choreographed animated fights I’ve seen in a while. And Kelly Hu’s Laira definitely has a gung-ho vibe that works well with the character.
And Dave Gibbons of Watchmen fame gives us what wrestling fans want – Rowdy Roddy Piper as the warlord Bolphunga searching for the greatest warriors to defeat in the galaxy. It takes him to Mogo and the rest is history. Long-time GL fans will know already who Mogo is, but it doesn’t take away the satisfaction of seeing Bolphunga not realizing what he got himself into.
With all the shorts and the spectacular showdown with Krona at the end, this is the cosmic space conflict we wanted to see realized in First Flight that never happened.
Despite how visually attractive the Krona battle was, there was never much to get attached to with that conflict. Krona is mad and he wants to smash. If you can get past that as it hovers over the entire anthology, you’ll enjoy it more. And despite my praise for the shorts, I was disappointed in how much I didn’t care for Kilowog’s. Much as the story of him rising to the rank of drill sergeant was decent, Henry Rollins’ voice-over didn’t make him a convincing character. Didn’t seem rugged enough from my perspective.
Not much to scream at here. We get a good look into their next animated offering in Batman : Year One. The animation style seems like they’re going to mimic the book to the tee. You get your standard trailers for some past DC animated movies and the upcoming GL video game, but that’s it.
An impressive collection of stories that would make the Corps proud. Visually stunning with a lot of emotional resonance that could relate to a whole range of people. It’s definitely 3rd on my list of favorite DC animated DVDs behind Wonder Woman and Batman Under the Red Hood, but that doesn’t take away from what it accomplished that First Flight couldn’t. The live-action movie has a lot to live up to here.
Grade : A
Green Lantern #60 heads towards the end of the New Guardians storyline and gives us another great battle with Hal Jordan trying to match wits and strength with a Parallax-infested Flash. We then get the big reveal of who’s been stealing all of the Lantern Corps’ entities – those who know their DC history will be glad about this one.
Meanwhile, Uncanny X-Force #3 continues to be one of the few Marvel books I’ll enjoy nowadays. Owe that to the quirky characters that make up this new X-Force story, the new take on Apocalypse, the slick writing of Rick Remender, and the sharp pencils of Jerome Opena. I thoroughly enjoyed the violent take on the previous X-Force series, but this one’s starting to look like it will one-up that.
Off the heels of the lame Entertainment Tonight teaser that hit the web last week, we finally get our first full trailer of the Green Lantern movie hitting the screen in summer 2011:
We’re still a good 7 months away from the release, so I can’t pass too much blame upon the somewhat lackluster CGI being used in some spots. All in all, I love where this is going and I think Ryan Reynolds is hitting the right tone as the cocky fighter pilot in Hal Jordan.
Sign off on your thoughts about the trailer, furious fanatics, and know your Spanish!
Oh, those clever web developers and their cryptic ways…
If you go to the Green Lantern movie site, right-click on the page, and view the source code, look out for this hidden message:
“GREEN LANTERN – In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. A brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers. But when a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan.”
This is as good as any info we’ve received on the movie since San Diego, so enjoy it while you can.