Green Lantern: Emerald Knights [2011]

This ill-conceived collection of unrelated flashbacks flew under our interest radar. Perhaps you were completely unaware of this production as we have seen little buzz about it. If not for our dedication to comprehensive coverage of such things we might have skipped a take on it altogether. But part of the purpose of the Fortress is to warn; to save others from wasting their precious time.

"Hi, I'm Hal Jordan; hero. Take a good look at my fabulously dimpled jaw, because you won't see much of it in this mixed up anthology."

Unless you are a die hard comic book Green Lantern aficionado, this random collection of material will be of little (or no) interest. How many disjointed, irrelevant acts were there? Three? Five? We do not know. We lost count after four -and interest after three.

Gotta collect 'em all!

Our patented synopsis in a sentence? Hard in this case as there was little plot, but we will give it a go for your entertainment:  Gathered to green lantern home base, Hal Jordan plays the most minor role as narrator in a lame attempt to tie together a bunch of uninteresting, alien filled flashbacks under the guise of putting a halter top, mini skirt wearing rookie lantern at ease.

If you thought First Flight had a weak ending where Hal Jordan fought a giant inanimate battery, wait til you see this gem where they sloooowly push a whole planet into this giant guy...

DC continues to make little sense in their mismatched, unrelated, at variance with one another video releases. Perhaps it is a reflection of the DC universe itself. Is this production related in any way to Green Lantern: First Flight [2009]? Except for the cast, no. Is the timeline also confusing? Yes. Last time Hal was a noob surrounded by this cast. Now he is a vet surrounded by the very same lanterns.

"Sinestro? Weren't you the bad guy last time? Now you're... good? (And a little brusque.) I'm a noob and I'm confused..."

This wandering production may bring to mind questions:

  • Who is this giant, weird (poorly explained) main antagonist guy coming out of the sun?

  • Why should we care about any of these bizarre aliens and their out-of-nowhere stories?

"You've got a lot of crazy appendages." "Oh yeah? Well, you're a mouth-less blob."

  • Why do all humanoid female lanterns have pointed ears?

Seriously? This is getting old...

A random story from the Green Lantern universe may make for a good single issue comic book. People who buy Green Lantern comics are dedicated to the franchise. However direct to video animated releases are far more mainstream… or should be. This one was not.

"Look at me mom! I'm a green lantern!"

Also, we think it is natural to just not care as much about alien blobs to which one cannot relate. That is the reason we have Hal Jordan. He is the likable human with an understandable origin we can get behind. He is our vehicle (by original design) for interaction with this alien corps.

DC would have been much better off making a dedicated adventure for this feature, and/or (gasp) a sequel to Green Lantern: First Flight [2009]. This forgettable and avoidable production should have been named:

Anthology of Stupid Green Lantern Stories!

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]

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse [2010]

Not sure what to think about Superman/Batman: Apocalypse?  Enjoy the characters but getting confused by all the varied releases, alternate timelines and ever changing voices?  Well you are not alone!  Let the Fortress help you out.

Batman outfit number 3000: The bat wetsuit.

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is what most casual fans would call “normal”.  It is not set in 1957 -or 1987 for that matter.  There are no strange costume variants; Superman is not a whiny kid in a hoodie.  In addition, the classic voices are back.  Kevin Conroy as Batman, Tim Daly as Superman, and Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman.  Just listening to them is like sipping hot chocolate next to a fireplace on a cold winter day.  (Never mind that it is always winter at the Fortress.)

We liked the art direction on Wonder Woman, but what is she doing there on the left? Starting a 1950's drag race?

New voice additions fit well including Summer Glau as Supergirl  and …Ed Asner as Granny Goodness?  Uhh, you just have to know the franchise for that one.  Andre Braugher weighs in as the deep gravelly voiced Darkseid.  It is pretty good, although we think it could have used a little audio manipulation to make it extra deep.  More like Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget.

Granny Goodness and her mysterious friend. She even looks a little like Ed Asner

The depiction of Darkseid was one of the better we have seen since the 1985 Saturday morning series “The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians”.  Darkseid has these awesome eyebeams, okay “Omega Beams”.  They do not travel in a straight line.  That old series handled them well and S/B:A followed suit there and with his voice.  Check out the original at 3:35 in this clip!

The plot in a sentence:  Superman’s cousin Kara Zor El crashes to Earth as a well constructed 19 year old with lots of super powers, little clothing and teen-aged attitude which gets beat out of her by concerned Amazons and caring (sort of) Darkseid culminating in an exploding, thunderous super-slugfest at the Kent farm …while along the way Batman does his usual cunning thing somehow hanging with the big boys.

Two questions: Are there any unfit Kryptonians? Why does this animator avoid drawing feet?

The animation quality is good and the battles are choreographed well.  It takes a lot to challenge Superman, Supergirl and Wonder Woman in hand to hand combat.  So some of the battles are a little contrived to do just that.  So what if Darkseid sends a couple hundred “Doomsdays” to keep Supes and company busy.  Its all in a days work.

He's a real "bad-axe".

Someone with an "S" on their costume should have thought of this earlier.

Perhaps that is the problem with the “super-heavyweight” class in which characters like Superman and Darkseid reside.  After you pass a certain invulnerability level, getting punched so hard that you actually achieve orbit is still not enough.  There is a massive slugfest at the end between Supes, Supergirl and Darkseid that pretty much tears up Smallville and creates ginormous craters.

However it loses satisfaction when you realize that these incredible hits and resulting explosive landings are really not accomplishing anything.  These combatants just seem to shake off the most impressive impacts in a few seconds and come back for more.

Blue eyes for everyone!

The one most satisfying part of this fight occurs when Supes goes a little buckwheat.  He creates this awesome tornado-like whirlwind around Darkseid pummeling him with blows faster than the eye can see.  Then he adds in heat vision!  Darkseid looks to be finally receiving real damage.  Then he shakes it off and grabs Supes face.  Huh?  The fact Bats was able to hang with these guys at all is a tribute to his brains.

This feature was good looking and fun.  It’s worth watching despite the occasional drawbacks, some stock plot elements and an ending that was a little saccharin. If you like these classic heroes check out this direct-release feature which treats them all with respect.

"And if you order today we'll also include eye-beams! Don't be the only person in this feature without them!"

Our Take on Superman/Batman: Public Enemies  [2009]

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

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths [2010]

~Psychos on Infinite Earths~

Both the Marvel and DC universes have their eccentricities. The Marvel camp likes to make alternate timelines, and they are especially fond of alternate futures. (97% of these alternate futures involve the X-Men getting hosed in some way.)

Superman on the other hand seems to survive all kinds of alternate scenarios, and even death. BTW, do not make Supes angry…

The DC camp prefers the more complicated “alternate Earth” method. This involves the creation of a new alternate Earth with every decision made (or when a comic team wants to bring in an edgy “evil” variant of a popular hero) .

Just thinking that through, you see how fast it gets kooky and soon meaningless. A zillion Earths and a zillion variants of every character. Feel special yet?

Nice face.   But -ahh, who are you supposed to be?

DC tried to trim back their out-of-control multi-verse back in the 80’s with the famous comic series, “Crisis on Infinite Earths”.  Well, do not let the title of this recent direct to video release fool you. It quickly moves past two earths to that mind-numbing infinite number again.

Okay, now its just getting ridiculous…

Many fans occasionally enjoy seeing alternate versions of their favorite heroes or villains, and we here in the Fortress are no different. We enjoyed seeing Owlman, a popular evil Batman variant, in the first season of Batman and the Brave and the Bold.

Crisis on Two Earths gives you evil versions of the usual Justice League suspects with an interesting art direction spin.

Eeevil Hawkgirl had little remorse, – and even less of a part in this feature.

We did not care for either version of Martian Manhunter. One was really ugly. The other was ..ah, strange?

How about our one sentence synopsis? A good Lex Luther from an alternate Earth travels to our Earth to enlist the Justice League to help him rid his alternate Earth of their bad versions of which Batman’s doppelgänger Owlman is a member and a little psychotic to the point where he develops a plan to destroy not only his Earth but every Earth and must be stopped by our heroes who along the way learn important lessons about heroic nobility, fabulous costume alternatives and trans-species love.

There is love between psychopath Supergirl and sociopath Owlman. Charming.

…and there is cross-species romance between a human and a martian…

It is hard to believe that the alternate Earth has lasted as long as it has with that bunch of psychotic loons running loose. Each one is more selfish, psychopathic or even sociopathic than the other. Superman’s alternate version kills anyone who gets in his way. Wonder Woman’s kills anyone she feels like for kicks.  Batman’s alternate wants to kill everything that ever lived.

So, on the alternate universe Krypton, Ultraman’s family crest happened to look like the human letter “U”?

Ultraman also used eye liner. Evil.

This is our Earth’s Ultraman.

The animation and fight choreography were above average. There was certainly no shortage of the latter, and the hour and 13 minutes goes by at a decent pace with little lag.

Hmm, which of these two Green Lanterns is eeeevile. (If you guess Mr. Funny Zipper with the pork chop sideburns, you are correct.)

What you find appealing says a lot about you. Do you prefer the pale goth crazy look or the angry buff spray tanned look?

Usually when mirrored supergroups face-off they start out fighting their respective doppelgängers. When that yields unsatisfactory results some wise guy usually suggests to switch it up, which saves the day.  Well…, they didn’t do that here, which is okay.  You will see power ring versus power ring, heavy hitters exchange heavy hits, and batarangs versus – er, owl-rangs.

Lex Luthor, good guy? We missed Clancy Brown’s voice work. Maybe it would not have worked with him on the side of the heroes.  (Against all odds, Lex has no hair in any universe.)

Lately, DC has made the decision to be inconsistent with their character’s voice actors. We do not care for that, and find that it causes an additional hurdle to be overcome in order to acclimate to each release.  And we’re not talking about the evil doppelgängers, were talking about the heroes.

Are you serious? It is like something out of the 1970’s Superfriends! Bell bottoms and collar included. They had to have designed this costume for fun.  (Oh, and nice belt buckle dude. Original.)

The black eyeliner and Brooklyn accent on Superman’s doppelgänger, Ultraman took some adjustment, but was fun.  The nihilism of Owlman was just hard to justify. Destroying this universe is something that’s hard enough to swallow coming from Darkseid. I mean come on, what is the upside to that? Owlman taking it a step farther to destroy every Earth ever was a little much.

“Go ahead punk, make- … hmm, actually that is something I would say in both universes.”

But none of that takes too much away from this fun romp. While we would not recommend it for younger children, its complexities are more than interesting enough for teenagers and adults.

Ultraman had his own unique way of lobbying the president.  Who says politics is boring?

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

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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]

Batman: The Brave and the Bold [2008-2009] Season 1. Episodes 1-13

Batman_alternate_costume_owlman

We liked where the art direction for Batman ended up by the end of the Bruce Timm era.  We are talking about the final season of Justice League Unlimited.  The long ears, dark cape-cloak, and the streamlined color scheme.  We especially liked Kevin Conroy’s voice work.  The Batman came out very soon afterward on Saturday mornings and we were not quite ready for a Batman reboot. Though that show self-admittedly evolved too over its five seasons to bring Batman more into his square-jawed dark knight mode.

Batman as his evil parallel universe doppleganger, Owlman. "I know Owlman. Owlman is a friend of mine. You're no Owlman."

Batman's evil parallel universe doppleganger, Owlman. "I know Owlman. Owlman is a friend of mine. You're no Owlman."

Batman: The Brave and the Bold seemed like a radical departure from both previous series.  At first it seemed more a homage to the 1960’s live action show than anything else.  (While we do like the 1960’s show, we probably do so in a whole different section of our brains.)  However B: TBATB quickly became a whole lot more.  If you get past the initial culture shock  you will be treated to episodes with ever increasing intensity.

Batman powered up in magical armor by Morgain le Fey.  (Also seen in World of Warcraft.)

Batman powered up in magical armor by Morgain le Fey. (Also seen in World of Warcraft.)

The season starts out with a third tier rogue’s gallery exemplified by the likes of Clock King and Gentleman Ghost!  Batman is also joined by B-list heroes like Blue Beetle and Red Tornado.   We are wondering what we are doing wandering the disused file cabinets in DC’s basement.  However we will also be the first to say that some of the lesser know villains and even heroes can be quite interesting.  (More so the crazy villains in our opinion, but we digress.)

batman_brave_bold_morgan_armor

While the intensity and pacing increases episode by episode the show is not afraid to poke fun at itself (sorry Plastic Man), take famous quotes from old political debates and allow Batman a good number of dry-humor witticisms.  It is solid entertainment from each episode’s Bond-like opening scene to end credits.  By mid-season we were won over, and by the last epic two-parter we were big fans.

Alternate universe Batman, Owlman impersonates Batman. Confused?

Alternate universe Batman, Owlman impersonates Batman. Confused?

That last arc involved the thorn in DC Comic’s side, parallel Earths.  (Remember how Crisis on Infinite Earths was supposed to end that?)  It was quite interesting to see bad versions of the seasons heroes and good versions of some villains.  There are some twists and turns.  The finale will not disappoint.  Also, you may have waited the whole season to see him, and by the end you indeed will.  We are talking about Batman’s arch enemy.  But the encounter will not be straightforward!

Batman even sports Green Lantern armor in episode 10. "In brightest day, in blackest night; No evil shall escape my sight; Let those who worship evil's might; Beware my power... Batman's light!?"

Batman even sports Green Lantern armor in episode 10. "In brightest day, in blackest night; No evil shall escape my sight; Let those who worship evil's might; Beware my power... the Dark Knight's light!?"

The art direction subtlety evolved over the course of the 13 episodes in our opinion.  It got a little darker.  The dutch angles and other dramatic camera work were great homage and effective.  You will see Batman wear more costumes this season than you could throw a bat-a-rang at.  You will smirk when you see the “evil” Batman turning good Batman’s costume into something very much like the last season of Justice League!  Ha.

batman_brave_bold_aquaman_black_manta

Some notable appearances:  Hal Jordan as Green Lantern; the classic returns.  Black Manta; we remember the ancient Aquaman show, and have always liked Manta’s creepy voice.  Well it is indeed back.  How about a pre-evil Sinestro?  Yes, before he became the ultimate Green Lantern villain.  And hey, a shout out to Doctor Polaris.  Who?  Nevermind.  But his costume is almost as cool as his name.

Menacing Black Manta with a sinister modulated voice brimming with attitude. Plus look at the dutch angle. He MUST be a bad guy!

Menacing Black Manta with a sinister modulated voice brimming with attitude. Plus look at the dutch angle. He MUST be a bad guy!

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 1 part 1

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 1 part 2

Batman: The Brave and the Bold  Season 2

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 3

Check out our other Batman takes:

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse [2010]

Batman: Under the Red Hood [2010]

Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman [2003]

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies [2009]