WARNING: SPOILERS FOR GREEN LANTERN: BEWARE MY POWER! READ AT YOUR OWN WILL!
The Green Lantern Corps finally comes back into the light into Green Lantern: Beware My Power, though not in the way you might have expected. Instead, this movie follows former Marine John Stewart (Aldis Hodge) in his journey to becoming a Green Lantern through uncovering a conspiracy that puts the universe at the brink of chaos. With the help of Green Arrow (Jimmi Simpson) and Shayera Hol (Jamie Gray Hyder), Stewart must find out what happened to the Green Lantern Corps while also coming to terms with his military past.
Directed by Jeff Wamester and written by Ernie Altbacker and John Semper, Jr., Green Lantern: Beware My Power tries to handle multiple storylines from past Green Lantern comics, more specifically the Silver Age era. However, the way that this movie handles these storylines doesn’t allow much for needed character development as the plot forces a straightforward, almost bland experience.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are still some good aspects of this movie that keep it elevated enough to be decent. The animation and visual style still follows that of Justice Society: World War II and Batman: The Long Halloween duo films while also improving on the action and thrill pieces of this movie. Seeing John actually use the Lantern Ring to create constructs was satisfying, though this unfortunately isn’t the case for the members of the Sinestro Corps. All that there is to say about actual Lantern versus Lantern action is to not expect anything larger than a small amount of constructs being thrown around during the battles. The music in this film is also good for what it’s worth, but during some scenes, the slow ambience makes these parts feel flat and dull (which feels weirdly paired up with some of the conversations.)
Speaking about the Sinestro Corps, the iconic rivals of the Green Lanterns are sadly limited to only a couple of members of the Corps with the most iconic of them being Lyssa Drak. The itch about the Sinestro Corps is that there is no actual development or personality within these characters; they serve more as the usual henchmen than being uniquely diverse as they are in the comics. This appears even more so by the finale of the movie when the group, with a newly released Hal Jordan (Nolan North), attack the Rannian facility and eventually kill the other Sinestro Corps members. If this movie didn’t have the time to make the Sinestro Corps as good as it is in the comics, then it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the film.
Taking a look at John Stewart’s place and role in this movie, it doesn’t seem to do justice to the acclaimed second Green Lantern from Earth. In this movie, John’s story progresses similarly to Kyle Rayner’s origins from the comics: the Green Lanterns are extinguished from the universe, the Guardian Ganthet comes to Earth to find a new Green Lantern, and eventually, the Green Lanterns are restored. However, taking the overall militaristic personality of John Stewart without adding substance and more depth to his character made him feel like a caricature of the already (and I know) somewhat boring version he is in the comics.
Even more so, the character of John Stewart feels completely lost when he’s thrown into the intergalactic storylines of this movie from dealing with the Rann-Thanagarian War, which (to be honest) is only there to introduce Adam Strange (Brian Bloom) and Shayera. We first see from flashbacks that John is still struggling from PTSD during his time in the military and having that detail in his character should have been expanded on throughout the movie as he tries to understand the power he’s been given. Sadly, all of this is sidelined for the plot, which feels like it has a need to get through its story as quick as possible without acknowledging his weakness.
As for the other characters like Green Arrow, Shayera Hol, and Adam Strange, they serve more as a “conveyor belt” for the story. We do get a bit of that charm, but the dialogue throughout this film plays it straight to the point without any depth and the tone in these conversation pieces makes it feel a bit soulless. Obviously, Green Arrow would be a standout character to have after seeing the many, many team-ups between him and Hal Jordan throughout the years. In this film, however, it doesn’t feel like he fits with the story seeing as this movie takes its issues on a larger scale with the combination of the Rann-Thanagarian War and Zero Hour storylines. It would have been great to see a Green Arrow and Green Lantern team-up possibly before this film, but that opportunity is long gone here.
Then, there were the villains: Hal Jordan and Sinestro. Or, should I say, Parallax in the shell of a human that was Hal Jordan and Sinestro.
To be completely honest, the reveal of Parallax to be the one controlling Hal Jordan was okay with me and the twist felt fine, though a bit tired to say the least. The one thing I can say was that the movie did well with setting up Parallax through the movie, but killing him off in the end completely wastes what future writers can make of him in future movies. Though he only appears in the final third of the movie, Hal’s role felt okay with me.
As for Sinestro, however, his motivation and role as a character is completely diminished from what he’s supposed to be in the comics. Instead of being a terrifying mastermind with a purpose behind each and every step, Sinestro is only played out as a maniacal, somewhat impulsive servant to Parallax as he was back in older Green Lantern eras. The movie makes it very clear that Sinestro is the big bad, but with Parallax’s involvement in all of this, he’s thrown out of the picture quite literally. Without any actual purpose and passion for something, Sinestro’s character is ultimately bogged down to being an item on this movie’s checklist.
Overall, Green Lantern: Beware My Power needed more profundity to live up to what it was supposed to be and somewhat fails to conjure up the energy, drive, and well, light, of the Green Lantern mythos. Hopefully, with a live-action Green Lantern TV show in development, Warner Bros. can bring Green Lantern out of its blackest night and into its brightest day.