Green Lantern: First Flight [2009]

green_lantern_first_flight_titles_2

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.

Becoming a Green Lantern is not for the average Joe... or is it?  One thing is for sure, it is not for the even slightly overweight.

Becoming a Green Lantern is not for the average Joe... or is it? One thing is for sure, it is not for the even slightly overweight.

Tricia Helfer did a good job voicing Boodikka.  (There are no unattractive female lanterns.)

Tricia Helfer did a good job voicing Boodikka. (There are no unattractive female lanterns.)

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.

GreenLanternRing

sdf

It was good to see a classic Hal Jordan Green Lantern standby return: The Giant Shield

sdf

Also seen here way back in 1985's Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians.

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.

Behold, the ultimate enemy!  ...A large yellow battery?

Behold, the ultimate enemy! ...A large yellow battery?

Is this pose indicative of someone looking to betray the Corps and seize power for himself?  Not to the Guardians I suppose.  Sharp those guys...

Is this pose indicative of someone looking to betray the Corps and seize power for himself? Not to the Guardians. Sharp those guys...

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?

It can be used as

We know Hal Jordan can use the ring's power as a spring to the amazement of other lanterns. There seems to be a serious lack of imagination on their part.

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.

Hal Jordan's Green Lantern, an Iron Man wanna-be?  The climatic slugfest was ended when Hal gathered a bunch of power together

Iron Man wanna-be? The climatic slugfest was ended when Hal gathered a bunch of power together and fired it like Iron Man's unibeam. It came out of nowhere and appeared too effective compared to what came before. Hey, Iron Man does not use rings, so...

green_lantern_first_flight_guardians_planet_oa

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?

This goofball plot may have been just as powerful...

This goofball plot may have been just as powerful...

Well, let it never be said that being a lantern kept Hal Jordan from flirting with the ladies.

Well, let it never be said that being a lantern kept Hal Jordan from flirtin' with the ladies.

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.

Guardians:  "Sinestro, you are not a megalomaniac bent on destoying us are you?"  Sinestro:  "No, of course not."  Guardians:  "Okay.  We're convinced."

Guardians: "Sinestro, you are not a megalomaniac bent on destroying us are you?" Sinestro: "No, of course not." Guardians: "Okay. We're convinced."

green_lantern_first_flight_nuts_sinestro

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.

"I told you Kirk.  First you make the buttons red, THEN you look intot he goofy ball."

Malachi Throne as Commodore Mendez: "I told you Kirk. First you make the buttons red, THEN you look into the goofy ball."

Hal Jordan gets judged by the Guardians.  That is different... or is it the most overused plot in Green Lantern history?

Hal Jordan gets judged by the Guardians. That is different... or is it the most overused plot in Green Lantern history?

green_lantern_comic_judgment_day

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.

See what happens when DC Comics and Warner Bros. are under the same roof?

See what happens when DC Comics and Warner Bros. are under the same roof?

Check out our Green Lantern takes:

Green Lantern: First Flight [2009]

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights [2011]

Check Out Our Takes on Other

DC Comics Superhero Related Media:

Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman [2003]

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths [2010]

Justice League: The New Frontier [2008]

Batman: Under the Red Hood [2010]

Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse [2010]

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies [2009]

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Green Lantern: First Flight [2009]

  1. Thanks for stopping by. I can’t argue you with your conclusions. Having a long time familiarity, I take a lot for granted that wasn’t spelled out to a new viewer. And it has been a number of years since I read the origin story.

    I certainly agree about Marvel’s animated efforts, at least the more recent ones I’ve seen.

    Nice analysis all around. I’ll be looking around your site.

  2. Thank you for visiting! Glad to return the favor.
    I enjoyed your review–the one sentence synopsis is hilarious. Good point that the movie didn’t focus on Jordan’s willpower, that definitely shallowed out the plot. I believe they didn’t focus on the origin story because it was already done in New Frontier; but today’s crowds seem to be more interested in the pretty effects than the story itself.
    Looking forward to browsing your site 🙂

  3. thanks for dropping by at my site.
    I am not a GL fan I am more on the Dark Knight. However, having recently read the Green Lantern : Reborn and the Sinestro Corps War, I could say that I enjoy reading the novels.

    I agree with you that at least they gave the Origin Story more focus….I am hoping they could do that in the upcoming live action.

    Great review…thanks.

  4. Great analysis! It really would have been nice to know a little more about why THE Green Lantern was so special and why his use of the ring was not only imaginative, but required skills/inborn talents other Lanterns didn’t necessarily possess.

    On the topic of non-superhuman-looking Lanterns: Kilowog, while not “overweight” per se, certainly had a different body type than the rest of the Lanterns… and in the larger group shot, there was a jellyfish-looking one and some non-human-formed Lanterns! Just the humanish ones were hot.

    • We agree with you. It was certainly entertaining, action packed and not terrible by any stretch. But who was Hal Jordan? Why was he special? Was he likable? (Not too much.) Why is his ultimate enemy a battery?

      You know, they could just as easily kept him on Earth for this one and taken him to the stars for judgment in a sequel.

  5. Since New Frontier covered Hal Jordan’s origin, I’m kind of glad they got him off into space for his first adventure. Spending almost the entire time in space made for a pretty unique movie. Also, they emphasized that it was Hal Jordan’s *humanity* that made him such a clever and stubborn fighter.
    I agree about the end though. A little explanation would have gone a looooong way.

    • Yeah, it was good to get him into space, the turf of the Green Lantern Corps. The council on Oa has always been well intentioned but stuffy, making Hal’s imaginative and intuitive approaches rub against them. This even though it is those very qualities as you say that make him one of the greatest lanterns of all time.

Say it to the FORTRESS, whether you agree or not!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s