As much as everyone loves Batman and Superman, their origin stories are so deeply rooted in American pop culture that they feel a bit tiresome. That’s why it’s refreshing to see a character like Green Lantern introduced on screen. As a fan of the comic, I really enjoy the origin of Hal Jordan and the vastness of the galaxy which is fundamental in his narrative. Green Lantern: First Flight is a serviceable attempt at his origin (which is miles ahead of Ryan Reynold‘s movie) but it doesn’t quite reach the scale of its potential.
Since most of these DC Animated movies clock in around seventy-five minutes, the story moves very quickly. In a matter of minutes, we see our protagonist Hal Jordan stumbling upon a crashed ship. Here he finds an alien named Abin Sur, part of the Green Lantern Corps. As he’s dying, he tells Hal that the ring has chosen him and he must carry on his role as a Green Lantern. After briefly testing out his powers, Hal meets some of the other Green Lanterns including Sinestro. The film has a pretty solid cast including Christopher Meloni, Victor Garber, and Michael Madsen. Hal journeys with them to the planet Oa where he meets the Guardians and learns more about the Green Lantern Corps. and their placement in the universe.
While this is intending to be Hal Jordan’s story, unfortunately he’s completely in Sinestro’s shadow. Sinestro is exceedingly more interesting than Hal with stronger character progression. His arc feels a lot more earned whereas Hal’s doesn’t. Which is probably the biggest flaw of the film. As any Green Lantern fan knows, what makes someone deserving of the ring is their willpower. This little detail is completely brushed over for Hal Jordan. Yes, we get some of his cockiness, but the film never makes me believe that the ring would choose him over anyone in the galaxy. For most of the film, he’s just watching what other people do or taking orders from Sinestro. We never see his driving determination which makes him an inspiration in the Corps. and a worthy challenge to Sinestro.
The climax is pretty standard stuff for these movies. The fight between Hal Jordan and Sinestro has some nice visuals due to their powers, but it lacks the weight it needs. It is satisfying when we finally hear Hal Jordan recite the oath with the entire Corps. joining in. Anyone unfamiliar with the character are given a nice glimpse into the world and what makes the Green Lanterns so cool. Most of the film does not take place on Earth which I was actually really happy for (I’m looking at you again, Ryan Reynolds). The writing of Sinestro is very good and gives a real argument as to Sinestro being one of the best villains in the DC universe. His transformation is really impressive and I would absolutely watch another Green Lantern movie with him in it. So while this may not be essential viewing of the DCAU, it’s certainly worth a watch.
What do you think of Green Lantern: First Flight? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!