Green Lantern’s light doesn’t shine nearly as bright in his new origin story: Green Lantern: First Flight.
It’s bad enough that they cut out the death of Hal’s father but they barely touch on his fearlessness, which is kinda important considering it’s the whole reason he’s chosen to become a Green Lantern!
While fearlessly hot-dogging in an Air Force flight simulator, Hal is abducted by strange green light. He meets a dying alien named Abin Sur, who explains that his ring has chosen Jordan as his replacement with no mention of Hal having the ability to “overcome great fear.”
What happens next is nothing short of a magical girl transformation sequence! It’s so over the top that I had no choice but to parody it with a trailer called Sailor Moon Corps (video below). But the feminization of Green Lantern doesn’t end there. In an attempt to show more emotion the animators have made his eyes visible through his domino during close-ups. Why they’re suddenly blue is beyond me.
And while this makeover may endear him to female viewers, it sure doesn’t do much for Hal’s love life. His longtime on-again, off-again girlfriend Carol Ferris makes only a brief appearance and this seems to be one of those off-again moments. The same is true for Hal’s other love interest, Arisia. In fact, the only one who does take a shine to Hal is Sinestro, who admires Hal’s “contempt for authority” except of course when it’s for him. As Hal & Sinestro hunt down Abin Sur’s killer that contempt only grows. He questions Sinestro’s use excessive force, but ultimately it’s Hal who gets punished after Sinestro frames him in order to cover up his own betrayal.
In his quest to impose order on the universe, Sinestro builds a Yellow Lantern and thankfully dons his Sinestro Corps uniform rather than the comical jester looking costume he originally wore in the comics & Super Friends cartoon. Although yellow’s immunity to green is mentioned, it’s never adequately demonstrated so that when Hal overcomes it in the their climatic battle the moment loses all significance.
Producer Bruce Timm had stated it was his intention to move the story along quickly in order explore the larger setting of outer space, but that never happens! We see: a bar for outlaws, a space station, and a desolate planet. That’s it!
The voice acting also fell flat. Larry Drake, who voices Ganthet, sounds more like Kermit the frog than an immortal Guardian. And Kurtwood Smith, who voices an insectoid warlord, still sounds like Red Forman. I kept expecting him to ask Sinestro, “how’d you like a foot in your ass?” But instead it was Sinestro who had no problem letting lose some profanity, specifically “ass” & “bastard.” It felt like I was watching a bad anime fansub where cute, innocent Naruto tells granny, “go eff urself!” Not that Sinestro is cute or innocent, but he is an elitist and just doesn’t speak that way. Not only was his profanity unnecessary & contrary to the character, it was a missed opportunity for some humor. Why not stay true to the comic books and have Sinestro’s ring broadcast: “Unable to translate.”
It just doesn’t stand up to other recent DCU movies. It feels like it’s made for the small screen and I wouldn’t be surprised if it pops up on Cartoon Network in a few months.