Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Green Lantern: First Flight

Directed by Lauren Montgomery.
2009. Rated PG-13, 77 minutes.
Christopher Meloni
Victor Garber
Tricia Helfer
Michael Madsen
John Laroquette
Kurtwood Smith
Larry Drake
Olivia d’Abo
Richard McGonagle

An alien crash-lands on Earth. Speaking to the very special ring he’s wearing, he tells it to go forth and find his successor. The ring picks pilot Hal Jordan (Meloni) and brings him to the fallen visitor. Just before the visitor passes away, he informs Hal that he is now a “Green Lantern,” one of the defenders of the universe. He also tells Hall that The Guardians will send for him. By the way, the rings gives him all sorts of powers and allows him to do pretty much whatever he can think of, including flying. The next day, four other Green Lanterns show up and whisk Hal off to another planet so The Guardians can evaluate him.

Hal is thrust into the middle of the investigation of the murder of Abin Sur (McGonagle), the guy that flew all the way to Earth to die. High ranking Lantern Sinestro (Garber) offers to take the earthling under his wing to “see what he’s made of.” Hal discovers Sinestro is a bit aggressive in his interrogations and feels handcuffed by The Guardians, limiting his abilities in cleaning up the universe. Hal is also informed that someone has stolen the precious Yellow Element which is the only thing that can overpower the Green Element that powers the Lanterns.

From there, we get a police procedural trying to ascertain the identity and whereabouts of the thief who’s taken the Yellow Element. It is made abundantly clear that whoever is responsible can, and certainly will try to gain control of the entire universe. With all of that on their collective plate, you can imagine the Lanterns get testy with one another from time to time. In particular, new guy Hal draws the most ire, basically because he’s the new guy.

Green Lantern: First Flight is solidly written and has some entertaining action scenes. Of course, the action really cranks up near the end as our villain and his cause become known. The problem is the movie goes against its own logic in order to achieve the prerequisite happy ending. It’s not a deal-breaker, but questions are easily raised.

Overall, this is a solid entry into the DC canon. It gives us an origin story without dragging us through all the years of Hal Jordan’s life prior to getting the ring. The twist in the investigation is spotted a bit too easily, but still leads us to a fun finale. The lingering question is, will the live-action version starring Ryan Reynolds as our hero be better or worse?

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