Is not Hal Jordan supposed to be likable? We assume that is the intent of the makers of this direct-to-video film. However, his opening scene antics do nothing to aid in this point. We know nothing of this guy’s natural strengths, and all we see is him giving hard working people a lot of attitude and trouble.
Is not Hal Jordan supposed to be some sort of special guy with an amazing ability to use the Green Lantern ring? A ring that takes mental strength, imagination and will power. Well, we know it takes that. However watching this film as a total Green Lantern neophyte one might think the ring was pretty much akin to magic and more or less did whatever the user wanted. This movie never explained to the viewer why Jordan’s mastery with the ring was special.
Here is the patented one sentence synopsis: After a dying member of the elite Green Lantern corps of space guardians crashes on Earth he asks his mighty power ring to find someone worthy to take it up which it does in finding wise cracking slightly bitter Hal Jordan who in no time is wielding the supposedly difficult ring in moments and soon after travels to the Green Lantern headquarters in deep space where he amazingly outperforms experienced lanterns, uncovers a nefarious plot to destroy the corps, and has a huge contrived one-man battle against a large inanimate battery.
We give props to DC. Their direct-to-video movies have on the whole been better than Marvel’s similar outings. That said, Green Lantern: First Flight may be one of the weakest of the DC lot. It lacks definition. How does a power ring work? What are its weaknesses and strengths. Can it be overpowered through force? How does the state of the user affect the ring’s power?
Jordan did a lot of battling during the film, but it was hard to tell why he was winning or losing. Many of the fights turned into plain old slug-fests with a green glow. This was especially true in the climatic battle versus his future arch enemy, Green Lantern gone bad Sinestro and his pet… yellow battery.
Are not origin stories supposed to be some of the most powerful? How about the first Harry Potter movie, or the first Spiderman movie. There is only one shot at an origin story, and in this movie it lasted about 17 seconds. “Put on this ring.” “Wow, look I am transformed into a spandex wearing super hero!” It was a waste. Where was the wonderment of a whole new world opening up?
On the good side, DC once again assembled a top notch group of voice talent including a number of celebs you would likely recognize. We will shout out to Victor Garber voicing Sinestro “coolly diabolical” -er, well not exactly. It was more like “determinedly misguided”. It is not Garber’s fault, that is how Sinestro was written.
Our other shout out goes to veteran actor Malachi Throne. That guy was acting in the 1950’s! He was False Face in the 60’s Batman and Commodore Mendez in the original Star Trek for you whose memories go back that far. Here he voiced one of the snobby, elitist out-of-touch council members who invented the Green Lantern corps, Ranakar.
The universe depicted in this movie was a strange cold one. The Lantern Corps seemed little more than background props and its members either a megalomaniac, turncoat, insular brute, snob or weakling fodder for a variety of deaths. Green Lantern: First Flight is sometimes fun, but also flawed and disappointing.