Tonight I was treated to an advance screening of the new DCAU (That’s DC Animated Universe) film Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. This film serves as a bridge between the comic books and the upcoming live action film for new fans giving as a look at the corps and some of the characters who make it up.
The film is a series of short stories told to new Green Lantern Corps recruit Arisia while a much larger threat is looming. Tales of The first lantern, Kilowog, Laira, Mogo, and Abin-sur, are told in turn interspaced with scenes connected to the “present day” threat of the return of Krona.
As soon as the film started I was sceptical. It begins with the death of a female Green Lantern corps member, which serves to set up the initial conflict. I must admit I scoffed when the Guardians talked about how she was a celebrated member of the corps who would be remembered, when truth was she was simply a plot device, and this apparent fridging right off the bat put me in a bad mindset, but the story did surprise me with the direction it took and the stories that they told.
The most compelling of the stories, which for the most part were taken straight from comic book stories, was that of Laira who on her first solo mission had to return to her home planet which had become hostile on her fathers rule. It’s by far the most personal tale as Laira has to confront a brother who is a sadist and who used to bully her, and worse she has to confront her father who was her idol and whose approval she obviously cared for above all else. During their fight dozens of holographic photos are activated showing them in touching family scenes.
The other stories are interesting in their own way: Mogo’s is just hilarious, especially if you know what’s coming ahead of time, Abin-sur’s is a mix of hopeful and tragic, all decent stories but Laira’s is the one that connected with me.
It’s also interesting that Hal Jordan isn’t the POV character, he’s telling the stories, but it’s Arisia for whom those stories are told, Arisia who is learning what it means to be a Lantern along with the audience, and in the end it’s Arisia who proves to be the hero of the hour. She comes up with the plan that defeats Krona by taking lessons from each story to heart.
The movie is a Bechdel past thanks to Laira’s story, and while some of the female members of the Green Lantern corps are sexualized to lesser or greater degrees it also has some interesting female aliens who are not designed as sex objects, like this one in the story of the first Green Lantern who is basically a jelly wafer with limbs.
Not a perfect film but one I was pleasantly surprised with.
Bechdel Test: Pass
Out of the Fridge Score 3/5