Tag Archives: green lantern

Green Lantern: the Grumpy Fanboy review

27 Jun

Green Lantern, like many film disappointments of the past – Spider-Man 3, every Highlander sequel, every Alien sequel after the second and, most recently, Green Hornet – has left my fanboy psyche so scarred, I’m going to try to forget I ever saw it.

I really wanted to enjoy Green Lantern. I really did. Not only is Hal Jordan one of my favorite childhood heroes of all time, I also love the lore developed over the years behind the Green Lantern Corps itself. With today’s special effects and the success rate of recent comic book adaptations – Iron Man, the Dark Knight, Thor and X-Men: First Class in particular – this film had every reason to be great.

The film has since been universally reviled by critics. It’s not hard to sum up why: The film never takes itself seriously enough for you to relate to the lead character or feel any emotion at all. (Unless you count the gag reflex an emotion.) You never get a sense of the Green Lantern Corps’ importance or who exactly they guard the universe against. Hal Jordan (played by Ryan Reynolds) is passed on the most powerful weapon in the universe by the dying Green Lantern Abin Sur so that he can … well, we’re not sure exactly. Later we see him beat up three thugs and stop a helicopter crash. Could that be it?

For a super-hero film, too much of the story in conveyed through words rather than genuine story-telling. We hear other Green Lanterns saying over and over again what an honor and how rare it is for one to be chosen. But once on the Green Lantern home planet of Oa, his training lasts for all of 15 minutes, after which he says, “I quit” and the rest of the Lanterns appear to reply, “Okay”.

You never get a sense of dread about the looming danger. We hear that an entity called Parallax has destroyed two inhabited worlds and killed four Green Lanterns (including its “greatest warrior, Abin Sur”). Yet when he arrives on earth, Parallax appears little more than a black cloud that breaks windows and flips over a few cars. In the end he is all-too-easily beaten by the rookie Green Lantern. Why a bunch of more seasoned Lanterns were unable to accomplish the same feat is never made clear.

There is no credible transformation for Hal from failure to hero. Green Lanterns become great by overcoming fear, we understand. But since we know from the opening scene that Hal is a test pilot willing to risk stalling the jet engine on his own aircraft in order to achieve victory, conquering fear never appears to be his problem. In the end, what finally allows him to become the courageous hero is a pep talk from his girlfriend, who tells him, “You’re courageous.” Problem solved!

Green Lantern never quite takes off. Its characters are unlikable and its emotional dilemmas are contrived and superficial. The script seemed more preoccupied stringing together wise cracks and satisfying female audiences by showing Ryan Reynolds shirtless. Most unforgivable of all – at least for us grumpy fanboys – are the missed opportunities to provide nods to the source material. Of all the Lanterns in the Corps, only Sinestro, Tomar-Re and Kilowog appear. A few more familiar faces would have been welcome. It’s an adaptation that never gives its  loyal fans any respect nor provides enough opportunities to hook new ones.

Grumpy Fanboy rating: 2/5

Green Lantern is still one of my all-time favorite characters. Fortunately, if you’re looking for more satisfying on-screen incarnations of DC Comics’ emerald guardian, you can always turn to their animated features:

Green Lantern: First Flight (2009)

DC’s first full-length feature film for DVD provides a decent origin story for Hal Jordan. This is what the live-action film should have based its story on.

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (2011)

A collection of six stories about the Green Lantern Corps give you a better understanding of the legacy of the universe’s self-appointed police force.

 Justice League TV series (2001-2006)

Although featuring Jon Stewart and not Hal Jordan, this series best portrayed the Green Lantern Corps in all its glory. In particular, check out episodes “Blackest Night (Parts 1 & 2)”, “Hearts & Minds (Parts 1 &2)” and “The Once and Future Thing (Part 2)”, in which Hal makes a cameo appearance.

Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)

Apart from being an adaptation of Darwyn Cooke’s excellent comic book series, it also offers one of the most compelling Hal Jordan origin stories ever made.

Green Lantern: the Animated Series (scheduled for release in 2013)

Creatively led by Bruce Timm, best known for his work on Justice League, Batman and the Superman animated series), this upcoming series shows a lot of promise. Plus it’s the first among DC’s animated projects to go full CGI. Check out the trailer:

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Green Lantern: Emerald Knights trailer

27 Feb

Take a look at the trailer for the upcoming DC Universe animated film, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. The format appears to be similar to Batman: Gotham Knight, in the sense that it’s made up of inter-connected stories following six “legendary” Green Lanterns. Fans will finally get to see (or at least hearNathan Fillion — a fan favorite for the lead in the upcoming Green Lantern live-action movie before Ryan Reynolds was awarded the role — play the role of Hal Jordan. Also joining the cast are Kelly Hu (X2), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) and Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter series).

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights will be out on DVD & BluRay on 7 June 2011, 10 days before the theatrical release of the Green Lantern feature film.

Grumpy Fanboy’s Top Super-Heroines in Miniskirts

30 Oct

Recently I read about a town in Italy where the local government is trying to ban women from wearing miniskirts. That got me thinking about how miniskirts – once very fashionable – seem to be in decline in comic books. OK let’s face it, miniskirts may not be the most practical outfit when in a fist fight with a crazed costumed homicidal maniac. But they sure make a great fashion statement and symbolize a woman’s right to wear whatever she wants.

Here’s my list of top five super-heroines who fight for truth, justice and the right to show off their legs:

Arisia

Arisia of Graxos IV is the Green Lantern of Sector 2815. She breaks the rules by not only being the single non-adult Green Lantern I know of (she joined the Corps at the age of 13), she also deviates from the norm in her choice of uniform. Arisia’s suit is strikingly different from the usual green & black other Green Lanterns wear. Sassy and proud. Arisia is an original. You go, girl!

Elasti-Girl

Film actress Rita Farr gave up a glamorous acting career to become the Doom Patrol’s powerhouse. Able to grow to giant size (sometimes to over 100 feet tall), Elasti-Girl must have been an intimidating – and distracting – sight to her enemies as they looked up at her.

Mary Marvel

Mary Batson (adopted name Mary Bromfield), twin sister of Captain Marvel’s alter-ego Billy Batson, is the female member of the Shazam Family. As Mary Marvel, she shared the powers of the wizard Shazam, making her nearly as powerful as “Earth’s Mightiest Mortal”, Captain Marvel. Over the years, she has switched from a red to a white outfit but, thankfully, always kept the miniskirt.

Marvel Girl

When the members of the original X-Men switched from their original black & yellow uniforms to something that better fit their individual personalities, Jean chose this green & yellow number. The costume was dropped when Jean became Phoenix. Years later, she chose to wear it again during the X-Men’s desperate attempt to save her from execution at the hands of the Shi’Ar Empire in my favorite – and now classic – Dark Phoenix Saga story arc.

Supergirl

Kara Zor-El (aka Supergirl), in tribute to her more famous cousin, opted to wear his costume but with a decidedly female twist. During the 1970s, Supergirl dropped the miniskirt in favor of the more fashionable (at the time) hotpants. But somehow, she keeps coming back to the miniskirt, from the white & blue outfit of the 1990s to the miniskirt she wears today.

Grumpy Fanboy’s DC Comics Secret Identities Quiz

3 Sep

DC Comics recently revealed that, following Bruce Wayne’s return from the dead, Dick Grayson will hang on to the cape & cowl. That means that two characters will get to call themselves the Batman. (The last time this happened was during the aftermath of the Knightfall story arc, when Wayne forcibly reclaimed the Batman mantle from Jean-Paul Valley by beating him to a pulp. This time, it seems the sharing of the Batman name will be on decidedly friendlier terms.)

DC Comics has had a long career of characters sharing hero names. Over the years, names like Green Lantern, the Flash, Green Arrow, Doctor Mid-Nite, Doctor Fate, Wildcat and Starman have been passed down to a younger generation of heroes (usually family members or former sidekicks).

Think you know a lot about the secret identities of DC Comics characters? Take this quiz and find out.

Grumpy Fanboy’s Comic Book & SciFi TV Shows We’d Like To See

24 Aug

Over the years, we’ve seen old television shows remade into modern live action feature films. A small handful are excellent (Serenity) some are pretty good (JJ Abrams’ Star Trek) and most are just too awful for words (GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen). We’ve of course seen a lot of comic books made into movies, with their own share of the good (Iron Man, The Dark Knight), the bad (Spider-Man 3, Ghost Rider) and the festering piles of turd (Elektra, Catwoman).

Here are some movie- and comic book-inspired ideas that would make excellent live action television shows:

Robotech

BSG with robots and giant aliens

Am I the only one who notices the similarity between Battlestar Galactica and the Macross saga? A lone aircraft carrier, hotshot pilots, civilians to protect and aliens bent on humanity’s destruction? Unlike the Robotech anime series, which was written for kids, this one would convey adult themes and delve deeper into the motivations behind the Zentraedi invasion.

Why it would work: The kids who were hooked on the original Robotech are now in the highly lucrative 30s and 40s demographic. Live action, a compelling and complex storyline combined with fighter jets that transform into robots. Come on! Who wouldn’t want to see that?

Why it wouldn’t happen: Japanese anime has never been successfully adapted into live action in the West. Back-rolling this project would take guts and a whole lot of vision to get it right.

The Corps

Trials of a rookie Green Lantern

Unlike the upcoming movie, this series would focus on Kyle Rayner, a teenager spotted by the Guardians to have the one-in-a-billion natural ability to operate a Green Lantern power ring. Think Greatest American Hero, wherein most episodes we see Kyle clumsily but courageously  learning the art of ring-slinging from retired Green Lantern Alan Scott. Occasionally, Kyle gets drafted into a military operation of cosmic proportions to fight alongside Green Lantern Corps veterans like Tomar-Re, Katma Tui and Kilowog.

Why it would work: The concept of a rookie drafted into a Star Trek / Starfleet Command-like military organization would be fascinating and extremely entertaining. With Smallville wrapping up, DC needs a new show on TV. (“Blue Beetle” you say? Groan.)

Why it wouldn’t happen: Quite likely that they will decide the Green Lantern movie is the only live action GL they want. It could confuse audiences.

The Defenders

Friends meets The Tick

Loosely based on the treatment of the Defenders in The Ultimates, this series focuses not on Marvel’s icons but its very deep bench of second- and third-stringer heroes. The line-up would include lesser-known characters such as Doctor Strange, Nighthawk, Hellcat, Valkyrie, the Son of Satan and other struggling-to-be-respected super-heroes. Naturally, its treatment would be lighter, often humorous, spending as much time dealing with inter-personal relationships and their secret identities as battling super villains. But importantly, the dialogue would reveal (or hint, depending on rights issues) that the show takes place in the same Marvel universe as the movies, without necessarily having any of those major characters appear.

Why it would work: Hellooo …  Marvel is hot! There’s a lot of demand between the blockbuster films for more live action super-hero content. Here’s a clever – and less expensive – way to deliver.

Why it wouldn’t happen: Too many people in Hollywood believe big budgets and special effects are the only reason people want to see comic book characters on the screen.

Gotham

Film Noir-style Batman

Most depictions of the Batman focus on him as the gadget-ridden, hi-tech super-hero. Even Dark Knight, as good as it was, missed the important word in that phrase: Detective. Sadly, the Adam West Batman still sets the tone for the character in many ways. The “Kapows!” may be gone but it’s still all about Batmobiles, Bat Jets and Bat ultra-sonar devices. I’d like to see a low tech Batman — no fancy car or special weapons — relying on his wits, resourcefulness and detective skills to solve the impossible or bizarre cases the police can’t. This was how the Batman was portrayed in the 1970s, as told by the likes of Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams and Marshall Rogers. Or, for younger readers, think CSI with a little X-Files mixed in.

Why it would work: There’s a market for intelligent crime dramas. A number of Batman fan films have demonstrated how a low-budget Batman could work well. The novel treatment could win a whole new audience.

Why it wouldn’t happen: There’s too much riding on the Batman franchise. Any Hollywood project with Batman in it has to be a big production. And based on the last two films, the formula is paying off too well.

Falcon

The adventures of young Han & Chewie

Han Solo as a smuggler / pirate /scoundrel set it in the years between Episode III and Episode IV. There’s no shortage of material! How Han gets drummed out of the Imperial Academy and goes underground. How Chewbacca comes to owe Han a “life debt”. How Han wins the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in a game of cards. How Han drops his cargo and crosses Jabba the Hutt. Bring in a charismatic actor who can pull off a young Harrison Ford, a rotating cast of colorful characters and, of course, the Falcon herself.

Why it would work: Are you kidding me? Joss Whedon saw the potential and ended up doing Firefly instead! It would be an instant classic.

Why it wouldn’t happen: Creatively, George Lucas seems focused on the Skywalkers. The current Clone Wars animated series pretty much revolves around Anakin, as did the recent prequel trilogy. An expanded Star Wars universe revolving around Han just doesn’t seem to be on his radar.

New Trailer from DC Universe Online

18 Aug

The folks at DC Universe online unveiled today its latest trailer for DC Universe Online. Unlike the six-minute trailer shown at Comic Con 2010, which was a fully rendered cinematic, this latest trailer appears to consist entirely of in-game footage. And it looks great!