Imagine it if you will, gentle readers. Hundreds of years ago, a giant, glowing green meteor crashes to Earth. You’d probably avoid it, right?
Well, unless you’re a Chinese mystic named Chang. Chang found the meteor and, being a mystic, hears a voice prophesying that the meteor would act three times: once to bring death, once to bring life, and once to bring power. Buffy fans out there are probably groaning because, as we all know by now, prophesies are usually “of the bad;” but this guy totally embraced it and decided to carve the meteor into a lamp. The other men in his village where of the whole, “falling-talking-prophesysing-space-rocks-bad” school of thought however and tried to murder Chang. Just as the mob was about to end this guy, green flames shot out of the lamp and killed them. Lucky for Chang that he didn’t “follow the light,” huh?
Prophesy 1: Check.
Years upon years later, the lamp was taken to the U.S. and given to Billings. Billings was an insane patient of Arkham Asylum and pretty handy with metalworking, so he manages to take this weird little Chinese style lamp and rework it into this really awesome, ornate railroad lantern. I guess whatever power’s in that thing was grateful it was no longer a relic and decided to thank Billings by making him sane.
Prophesy 2: Check.
So far, so good. No badness as of yet.
This cool, newly reworked railroad lantern sat around for a couple years until it was picked up by railroad engineer, Alan Scott. Literally. Scott’s on a train, Scott sees the lantern, Scott picks the lantern up–which was lucky for him because, once again, Prophesy Time!
Turns out, a business rival named Dekker had rigged the train with explosives and the thing blew up as they were crossing a bridge. Everyone except Scott died. Since Scott was holding the lantern, it decided to give its next set of orders to him.
Scott’s mission, should he choose to accept it, was to carve a ring from the base of the metal of the lantern and allow it to touch the lantern light. When he did, the ring was filled with the mystical power of the Starheart.
What is the Starheart? The animate part of the inanimate meteorite that’s making all the prophesies and giving orders (because that totally makes sense…)
Turns out, the green light with the mystical power is actually the Starheart. The Starheart is the collection of magical forces of the Earth-1 universe (more on that later) which was bound together by the Guardians Of The Universe (more on them later) because they decided to rid the stars of magic in order to let science prevail over all. This collection of magical stardust was hidden in the heart of a star for safekeeping, and it’s in that star that the Starheart became sentient.
Pretty cool, huh?
So, the power of the Starheart is now in the ring, which is possessed by Alan Scott, who was told that the ring is powered by his will and belief (oh the powers of imagination!). Hearing this, Scott leaves the crash site, punishes Dekker in a total bad-ass superhero way, and becomes–drum roll please–Green Lantern.
Prophesy 3: Check.
I guess they were the prophesies that weren’t a bit dodgy and mutable (another Buffy reference, I’ve got “Prophesy Girl” on the brain right now). And thus, Alan Scott became the first Green Lantern (the “Golden Age” Green Lantern) and the Starheart’s prophesies were fulfilled with minimal damage.
Well then, where the hell does Hal Jordan come in?
Time for a little DC franchise history. Upon consulting my comic sources (namely John and Comicvine), I have discovered that DC created a multiverse during their Silver Age (the age of Hal Jordan) as a way of explaining the existence of the First Gen. heroes like Scott as Green Lantern without mucking up the “new” continuity with the older generation passing on their Legacies to the Next Gen. So, Jordan was on what would be “our” Earth while Scott would be on a parallel Earth-2.
Confusing? I think so.
And DC came to the (sort of) same conclusion in the mid-eighties when they decided that multiple continuities on multiple Earths was messier than they liked. So, they folded all the Earths and their characters into one Earth in, “Crisis on Infinite Earths” (which I’ll be looking into shortly after this post…). This pretty much made the whole “Scott’s Earth-2′s Green Lantern” and “Jordan’s Earth’s Green Lantern” a moot point because they exist on Earth in the same continuity now, along with the other Earth Lanterns Jon Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Rayner.
Hal Jordan was chose to be Green Lantern 2814 by the dying alien, Abin Sur, who was on the verge of death. Abin Sur used the power of his ring to find the most worthy successor on Earth. The ring found Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner, but Jordan was closer to the crash site of Abin Sur’s ship than Gardner was (don’t worry Gardner, every dog has his day). Jordan journeyed to the planet Oa, which is the home planet of the Green Lantern Corps (three guesses as to who they are) and trained with Sinestro who, in a fun little ironic twist, would later become one of Hal’s deadliest enemies (although, with a name like Sinestro, what other choice did he have?).
Edit: I didn’t like where that ended, but the library was closing, so I had to do something. Continue reading for a review of the film.
In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. A brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers. But when a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds). Hal is a gifted and cocky test pilot, but the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before.
So, going back to the comic books, you’ve got a dying Abin Sur (who was ‘shot’ by Parallax) who’s Green Lantern ring ‘finds’ Hal Jordan, who was the closest Potential Green Lantern in the sector. Jordan then takes the oath and becomes Green Lantern 2814.
That was probably one of the best scenes in the movie (spoiler alert). Ryan Reynolds did a fantastic job in this scene, in my opinion. He sets the lantern Abin Sur gave him on the table, puts the ring on and comes up with his own oath: “I pledge allegiance, to a lantern, given to me by a dying purple alien…” Nothing happens, obviously, because that’s the wrong oath. The ring comes in contact with the lantern and then BAM! as if in a trance (which he kind of is): “In brightest day, in blackest night / No evil shall escape my sight / Let all who worship evil’s might / Beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!”
A friend of mine went to the midnight premiere in New York, and she said that the guys sitting in front of her said the oath in time with the film and then held up their own Green Lantern rings at the end.
I kinda wish I thought of that. Actually, I kinda wish I had a ring, not gonna lie.
The movie was actually pretty decent. From a screenwriting point-of-view, I like the way they set some things up. For example, Tomar-Re’s narration in the beginning:
Billions of years ago, a group of immortals harnessed the most powerful force in existence: the emerald energy of willpower. These immortals, the guardians of the universe, built a world from where they could watch over all of existence: the planet Oa. A ring powered by the energy of will was sent to every sector of the universe to select or recruit. In order to be chosen by the ring, one had to be without fear. Together these recruits formed the intergalactic peacekeepers known as the Green Lantern Corps…
This sets up what the Green Lantern Corps is without taking up too much time in the rest of the movie. So, right off the bat, people who have no idea what the Corps is or who the Green Lanterns are won’t be lost through the rest of the movie.
The same could be said for the way that Jordan was given a sort of infinite knowledge about everything he needs to know to be a Green Lantern through the Initiation Process. I’ve read a couple reviews where the authors said it was a copout and they would have liked to see more of Jordan training on Oa with the other Green Lanterns, but think about it. It was a 2 hour movie as it was. Anything added would probably have turned it into a three hour epic.
There were also complaints about the way that Jordan was pulled out to Abin Sur’s ship (by the power of the ring). I could be wrong, someone correct me if I am, but I believe what happened in the comics was that Jordan was pulled out of his plane during a simulation. In the movie, Jordan is pulled by the ring when he’s leaving his nephew’s birthday party. I don’t see a problem with this because during the simulation in the movie, an important bit of backstory was given through flashbacks: Jordan’s dad was a pilot who died in a plane crash.
This is important because Jordan chokes at the end of the simulation, which means he’s afraid. It’s important in the overall plot that he overcomes this fear because the movie’s Big Bad–Parallax, which is not an apparent displacement in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight (I’m writing this in Astronomy class, Parallax is a real thing, apparently) but a Guardian Gone Wrong because they tried to harness the power of fear, which can’t be done because fear consumes you and turns you evil (just ask Hector Hammond, the film’s Little Bad). Parallax feeds of fear and basically sucks your skeleton from your body (really, really gross, but really, really cool special effects). So, if Jordan’s fear wasn’t established early on in the film, his struggle with overcoming fear wouldn’t have been as apparent and the movie would have been worse than critics already think it is. That’s my opinion, anyway.
The movie had a few good parts but, overall, was what Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan described as, “more science-fiction soap opera than superhero epic” but, it was a comic book movie that was very watchable if you went in with that expectation.
Personally, I loved it. And I can’t wait for the sequel I’m pretty sure will be coming out if the awkwardly placed clip in the credits was anything to go by.
For those of you who left during the credits, instead of staying and watching, Sinestro is shown putting on the Yellow Ring (powered by fear) that the Guardians forged in hopes of defeating Parallax before Jordan convinced them not to.
Again, with a name like Sinestro, what do you expect?